April 30, 2010

Fertility Rites

It strikes me that May 1st -- May Day -- with its ancient associations with summer and fertility, is a good time to write about... fertility.

When I was a child, I loved to go to the Little Rock Zoo. We lived so close that my mother strolled me over almost everyday to see the "eek-eek-longnoses" (my baby name for the elephants). My OBGYN father liked to call such trips "participation in the great fertility rite" since it seemed every other woman was either pregnant, holding a toddler, pushing an infant, or all three at once. The number of swelling bellies and chubby little fists was almost unreal.

Growing up, such brushes with the fertility rite were more often the norm. After all, fertility is what my father did for a living, in a sense, and all our lives were steeped in labor pains. Fertility was either happy or tedious or both, but never rare. As a grown up and as a massage therapist, though, I've encountered quite a few women who struggled with their fertility. Many times, stress seems to be a barrier to conception. I've seen several cases--as we all have--of women who were so stressed out about getting pregnant that they couldn't get pregnant. Many of these women either stopped trying or stopped trying and adopted, and almost immediately conceived. Once the stress was removed, the fertility energy flowed.

Telling a client not to be stressed, though, is often as effective as ordering her to relax--which is, to say, not effective at all. It's much better to suggest uncomplicated, doable tasks such as thinking positively, taking simple herbs that encourage blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, and perhaps receiving fertility massage. In order to try to help some of my clients who are hungering for fertility, I ordered a DVD entitled Fertility Massage: Nurturing the Spirit into the Womb by Claire Marie Miller. I have to say, I was impressed with what I learned. After watching it three times, and making notes, I was able to incorporate a lot of it into my sessions. Millar combines visualization therapy with some cranial-sacral work, abdominal and pelvic work, and specific reflexology work into a very nurturing massage routine. Although the routine can be performed by a therapist, it is simple enough to be performed by a woman's partner as well. My only complaint about the DVD is technical: whoever did the taping/production might have considered that putting loud music over the voices, etc., might be problematic. But the information is so good that it outweighs such problems.

After using the routine on my clients, I lent them the DVD to take home and view with their partners. They seemed thrilled by the simple but powerful sense of control and purpose that the information gave them. The last time the DVD came back to me, it had a note attached: "Lynna: Thank you for being you!!!" It made me feel like I'd done something that mattered. You might say, it made me feel . . . fertile.


Anonymous said...

Lynna, thanks for sharing your experience and about the DVD. I've often seen claims about massage boosting fertility and wondered how those claims could be founded. This gives me some hope that someone has done some decent research about the link between what massage can offer and increased fertility. Trying to get pregnant can be such a roller coaster!

Lynna Dunn said...

Thanks, Susan. A lot of what was SAID about intention in the massage impressed me as much as what moves were DONE. Something about this philosophy/routine really rang true for me even though fertiity massage had never been in my "main area." It's also how something like fertility massage can suddenly become important to you when you find yourself with clients that have this particular driving need and you want to support them in the best way that you can.