Women's health in the 21st Century
The way people are living their lives has changed dramatically over the last century, According to the Office of National Statistics, more women are now working than ever before. Alongside work, women frequently hold responsibility for running the home, family life, budgeting and much more, meaning that many women now have incredibly busy and stressful lives.
It is therefore no surprise that often women have times when pressures may feel excessive. If stress levels remain high for extended periods of time, wellbeing can be affected and there can be detrimental effects on the body, including changes in some hormone levels.
Women's health and hormones
Hormones are essential for women's health but they can also affect the mind and emotions. It can be easy for women to find themselves in a vicious circle; stress can lead to abnormal levels of hormones and changes in these hormones can then leave you more susceptible to stress, so it is particularly important for women to recognise and address stress levels to prevent any detrimental effects.
The way we choose to live our lives can also impact on stress levels and hormone balance in the body. There are, however, changes that can be made which might make life a little easier for you:
Dealing with challenging times
We all have our ways of dealing with the challenges of everyday life, but there may be times when you feel you could do with a little extra help, Times that can be particularly challenging include puberty and adolescence, the week before your period if you have Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), or leading up to and beyond the menopause. Add these times of fluctuating hormones to high stress levels, and it is not surprising that women may need to do something extra to help promote their wellbeing.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive, relaxing complementary therapy which is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body, Reflexologists believe that working these points or areas aids relaxation and helps improve wellbeing.
Reflexology could be one way to reduce stress and achieve wellbeing!
The only real way to know if reflexology will help you is to try it!
How may reflexology help women’s health?
Reflexologists are there to support the whole person not just symptoms, acknowledging that every woman is unique and that everyone will react differently to a treatment. However, there has been some positive research carried out on issues particularly relevant to women, such as:
- Reducing intensity and duration of menstrual pain. 
- Improving sleep and psychological ratings associated with PMS. 
- reducing anxiety 
- Improving mood and sense of wellbeing. 
- Relieving constipation. 
If you are at a stage where you think your wellbeing could be improved or it feels like
hormones and/or stresses are beginning to rule
your life, it may be time to consider reflexology.
 Comparing the effects of reflexology methods and Ibuprofen administration on dysmenorrhea in female students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Mahboubeh Valiani, Elaheh Babaei, Reza Heshmat, and Zahra Zare. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research 2010 Dec; 15 (Suppl 1): 371-8
 Randomised Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms Treated With Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY - NEW YORK Oleson, T. Flocco, W 1993 VOL 82; NUMBER 6, page(s) 906
 Evaluation of anxiety, salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion following ref lexology treatment: A pilot study in healthy individuals A.J. Mc Vicar, C.R. Greenwood, F, Fewell, V. D'Arcy, S. Chandrasekharan and L.C. Alldridge Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2007 VOL 13; NUMBER 3, page(s) 137-14S
 A pilot study of the effectiveness of reflexology in treating idiopathic constipation in women, Sue Woodward, Christine Norton, K. Louise Barriball Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2010 Feb; VOL 16 NUMBER 1, pages 41-6