Pregnancy Reflexology – the Wonderful Keah Lan

 

keah

I’d never really considered Reflexology until I met the wonderful Keah Lan, a highly qualified wellbeing therapist and reflexologist. She was at The Mermaid Maternity Retreat press opening day way back in June, when I was just 15 weeks pregnant. There she gave me a 20 minute taster reflexology session, which just simply wasn’t long enough! I wanted longer – she was fab! The things she could tell from my feet were amazing and the treatment itself was really relaxing.

Since meeting her, we have kept in touch on Twitter and she told me to come and see her when I was in the later stage of my pregnancy and ready to help prepare my body for labor. At 37 weeks, I’m more than ready, so I went and saw her, again at the Mermaid Maternity Retreat, which is based on the Kings Road. 

Before our hour-long session, Keah explained that she would massage certain areas on my feet to help stimulate pregnancy and labor organs and help boost my energy flow. Some of these points that she would be working on can help stimulate contractions, ease any aches and pains as well as release oxytocin, a natural hormone that is responsible for again stimulating contractions and labor. Keah specialises in reflexology for fertility, labor and the postnatal period, so I knew I was in good hands. 

The whole treatment was really relaxing. Yes, there was so sore points on my feet, especially the areas that related back to my lower back (I’ve been having lower back pain – the weight in my front feels like it’s pulling my back out of balance), my digestive system (I’ve been feeling quite sick recently – almost like I’m in the first trimester again!) and also the uterus zone, which is located near your ankle bone, and needs to be loosened slightly to help relax and of course stimulate labor. But although these were slightly tender I just practised my deep breathing (thank you Pregnancy yoga classes!) and went with the flow. 

After a good hour of TLC, Keah finished with a neck and shoulder massage and told me to get on with my day as normal but take it easy. She also mentioned that another session later on in the week would be beneficial. I did relax and met my mum for a herbal tea who was really worried and kept asking me if I was going into labor. Of course I  explained that if the baby is not ready to come, the it won’t – however, there ARE certain pressure points that can be worked on to encourage or ‘prime’ your body ready for labour. Reflexology is unlikely to start labour there and then, but Keah has found that a few of her clients have naturally gone into labour within a next few days after her treatment – pretty impressive eh!? 

I’m excited to see what happens over the next few days – will I get some Braxton Hicks? Will my back pain continue to behave itself? I hope so! 

Keah also gave me some exercises to do to help my back and open my hips like the;

* Cat Stretch – which helps stretch the lower back
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 17.51.45

* Pigeon Pose – which helps stretch the hips and thighs
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 17.53.51

and
* The Sitting Squat pose – which again helps open up the hips and relaxes the lower back.  
Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 17.57.12

I’m going to do these everyday as well as continue to do lots of walking and my daily gym workout. You may not feel like exercising when pregnant BUT it does help open up the hips and relax the pelvic muscles. It also gets those endorphins flowing, the calming and pain-relieving hormones that can be vital during labor. 

I’ll let you know how Thursday goes at my next session 🙂 

reflexology-foot-massage

Advertisements

Babymoon Time

This month Health & Fitness Magazine have featured one of my travel write ups on Babymoons – like honeymoons – but for couples who are expecting.

It’s a great time to get some last-minute pampering before the midnight feeds and sleep deprivation kicks in, so please find a PDF of the feature. I’ll be going to Mermaid Maternity Retreat in September and also Turkey in October (I’ll be around 25 weeks and no doubt in some serious need of some R&R), so I’ll let you know my thoughts…

Image

…Pegnancy is an exciting time, but it can be slightly daunting too, especially if it’s your first. Now, thanks to a new breed of holidays designed for busy, expectant parents, you and your partner can squeeze in one last therapeutic break before your little bundle of joy makes an appearance.

Also known as babymoons, these holidays are designed to give mums-to- be and couples a final bit of indulgence before baby is born. Think massages, pre-natal yoga, birth preparation classes, manicures and pedicures. Whether you want to stay in the UK or travel further afield, the babymoon is designed to pamper you and prepare you for parenthood. Here’s our pick of the best.

Kempinski Hotel, Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey
Enjoy romantic date nights on the Kempinski Babymoon Package, where you and your partner can spend time soaking up the Turkish sunshine. The seven-night stay includes six different treatments for the expectant mum, including a soothing facial and nurturing pregnancy massage, an olive oil and salt body polish and a 25-minute foot recovery treatment, plus there’s a holistic massage for dad-to-be. You can also immerse yourselves in private yoga sessions, breathing exercise sessions and water aerobics classes.

Perched on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful Barbaros Bay, you can also indulge in romantic meals in one of four restaurants before retiring to your stunning, sea-view room. Gorgeous!

Price: From €1,340 for seven nights for double occupancy.
Contact: kempinski.com

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily
If want to continue your fitness regime with your bump, this three-night holiday at the luxury Verdura Golf & Spa Resort won’t disappoint.

Set on the south coast of Sicily, Verdura boasts two, 18-hole championship golf courses and one nine-hole course; six tennis courts; a full- size football pitch; a 60m infinity swimming pool; a fully-equipped gym, plus running trails that meander through olive and lemon
groves. The package includes a spa treatment of your choice, and a candle-lit three-course meal at the à la carte restaurant, so you
can wind-down after an active day in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Price: Rooms start at £1,023 for three nights. Contact: Visit luxefamilytravel.com or call
020 8144 3939.

Armathwaite Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, Keswick
If work and baby preparation is beginning to take its toll, and you’re in need of a bit of ‘you’ time, chill out in the Lake District with the de-stressing Armathwaite Hall Precious Moments Babymoon Spa Break, and let the stunning location and tranquil lake views work their magic.

A two-night stay at this traditional country house hotel will restore your energy and inner calm, thanks to the 60-minute New Life massage and relaxing spa facilities, including an infinity pool, outdoor hot tub, hush tranquility room and stretch classes. And if the weather turns chilly, snuggle up by a cosy log fire. Bliss! Price: £600 per room for two nights. Contact: Visit armathwaite-hall.com or call 01768 776551.

Essential Escapes, Almyra, Cyprus
When you’re pregnant, it is easy to forget about yourself; you’re so busy getting ready for motherhood, you neglect the all-important task of looking after number one. If you need to

get away from it all, and find some time to rejuvenate, take a short trip Cyprus and let this tranquil hotel help you find some balance and a deep sense of inner peace.

The three-night Nurturing Mum-To-Be Package includes a 90-minute massage designed to ease aches and pains, alleviate fluid retention and increase blood circulation;
a Mandarin Vanilla Manicure and Deep Sea Oxygen Facial, plus a soothing foot treatment. Outdoor yoga sessions and as many strolls on

the white sands of Paphos beach as you can possibly manage, are also thrown in. Price: From £1,670 or £1,060 for sole occupancy. Contact: essentialescapes. com or call 020 7284 3344

Mermaid Maternity Retreat, London
Based in London’s Chelsea, this non-medical maternity retreat provides all-round support to pregnant women and their families.

Nutritionists can offer advice on supplements so your growing bump gets off to a healthy start,
mid-wives are on hand to answer any concerns you may have about getting the hang of nappy changing or the potential complications of breast feeding, while holistic therapists including acupuncturists, osteopaths and reflexologists ensure you’re in optimal health throughout your pregnancy.

And if it’s the period after the birth that concerns you, you can stay after you’ve had the baby, too, to support your recovery post-delivery, and provide guidance and advice on settling and bonding with your new baby. Price: From £595 per night.
Contact: mermaid.co.uk or call 020 7199 3220.

Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Cotswolds
If your pregnancy’s too advanced for plane travel, or you’d rather stay closer to home, head to Whatley Manor. This luxury hotel tucked away in the rolling Cotswolds offers a Half-Day Mother-To-Be Spa Experience, where you can enjoy extensive spa facilities along with a 60-minute Ila pregnancy treatment. There’s a hydrotherapy pool, tepidarium, relaxing wave sensory room and salt scrub showers.

If you have a bit more time, make a weekend of it and stay a few nights to make the most
of the cinema, beautifully manicured gardens and two-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Dining Room. A real treat!

Price: £105 for Mother-To-Be Half Day Spa Experience and from £305 per room B&B. Contact: whatleymanor.com or call 01666 822888.

 

ImageImage

Image

Pregnancy Yoga

Tonight I’m off to my first pregnancy yoga class as recommended by the lovely Tegan Haining at Bodyism. She suggested it would be a good way to connect with my body and baby and help stretch out any kinks caused by my growing bump, so I listened and I’m all signed up and ready to go.

The class is especially aimed for pregnant women, which can help correct any posture problems as well as help to boost circulation and help with fluid retention. I’m also hoping it will help me to relax a little and concentrate on my breathing.

Here are a few key pieces of kit that I will be taking and wearing to my first yoga class. I’ve been to a few in the past so I’m hoping that I will make these a regular thing and meet some other expecting mums in the area too.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 17.24.41

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 17.29.30

My TLC Sport Figure Firming Leggings 

These leggings are super supportive and not see through in any way – which is great for the person doing yoga behind me! They also have a flattering fold down waist band which supports and moves with my ickle bump and isn’t restrictive in any way. (www.tlcsport.co.uk)

My Liforme Yoga Mat
This well cushioned, ultra grippy yoga mat is a few inches wider and longer than regular yoga mats making it handy for us women carrying a few extra pounds. It’s also PVC-free so it doesn’t contain any nasty ‘heavy metals’ and has markings on it so you can check your alignment during your poses.

I will of course also be armed with a big water bottle to keep me hydrated throughout the session, a towel and a piece of fruit incase I need to raise my blood sugar levels during or after the class.

I’ll give you a full verdict of the class soon – has anyone else tried yoga when pregnant?