Meet Barbara Scott, a remarkable woman whose passion for helping couples achieve their dreams of parenthood has made her a prominent figure in the field of reproductive health. As the Chair of The Association of Reproductive Reflexologists and the founder of Seren Natural Fertility, Barbara has dedicated her life to unlocking the potential of reflexology as a powerful tool for fertility enhancement. With her wealth of knowledge and experience, she has become a beacon of hope for individuals struggling with fertility issues. As Chair of The Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, Barbara plays a pivotal role in advancing the field and fostering collaboration among practitioners. Through her leadership, she promotes the highest standards of professional practice, encourages ongoing research, and advocates for greater recognition of reflexology’s role in fertility care within the medical community. In this Mystic Mag interview, we delve deeper into Barbara Scott’s remarkable career, exploring the transformative power of reflexology and its impact on fertility. Join us as we uncover the wisdom and compassion behind Barbara’s pioneering approach, and discover the remarkable stories of hope and success that have emerged under her guidance.
How does reflexology contribute to supporting women and men when trying to conceive? Can you share specific examples of how it has benefited your clients?
My specialism is in reproductive health and therefore most of the work that I do is in supporting clients with reproductive health conditions or those trying to conceive. The techniques that I use with my own clients and teach to practitioners uses an integrative patient-centered approach to their health and well-being. They provide an evidence-based approach using structured reflexology techniques that have been designed using the results of medical or science-based tests. The techniques are used to mimic the natural reproductive health of a patient or to support any drug protocols they may be undertaking as part of an assisted conception program.
What this means is that we use the results of relevant medical tests to help us to not only understand where there may be issues but to measure progress. Successful treatment can mean an improvement in symptoms to improved test results all the way through to pregnancy and the birth of a much-wanted baby.
Reflexology can be used to improve menstrual cycle function, including regulating or restoring ovulation, improving sperm quality and function in men, improving the symptoms of conditions like endometriosis, PCOS and other conditions that may be impacting upon a couples’ ability to conceive.
We also provide clients with an understanding of and education about how their bodies work and an individualized approach to when is the most likely time for them to be at optimum fertility.
Even in complicated cases our approach is to go back to the very basics to ensure that clients are in the best possible place to conceive.
One couple that presented for treatment had been trying to conceive for over 11 years with a long history of failed IUI/IVF/ICSI. We discovered that the male had poor sperm parameters and erectile dysfunction which was untreated. It appeared that this had been caused by elevated Prolactin levels brought on by stress. We worked to improve these by using reflexology techniques to reduce stress and improve sperm function. Six months later they were pregnant naturally with their own child and now have a little boy.
What led you to specialize in reflexology as a complementary therapy for fertility?
I trained as a reflexologist over 30 years ago and my very first patient was someone with a history of both fertility issues and repeated miscarriage. Little did I know that my career path had already been set, all that I did know was that I needed to know more to be able to support this patient and the others that followed. At that time we did not have CPD courses for the various specialisms that we do now. I very quickly realized that to support these clients I would need to do my own research. One of the benefits of working with clients who are having difficulties conceiving is that they have lots of medical testing and that allowed me to understand how different medical conditions may be represented in the reflex points in the feet. It has been an interesting journey of discovery and has enabled me to combine science and reflexology in a way that I had not realized was possible.
What type of services do you offer?
All of my work is either patient-based or involves teaching or lecturing. I do have a clinical practice and provide online video consultations for patients followed by treatment in-person or referral to a Seren-trained practitioner in their geographical location, with ongoing support to both patient and practitioner.
We also have referral pathways in place for patients who need further testing and medical support, this means that we provide a unique holistic approach. We have developed collaborations with Fertility Clinics, Andrologists, Embryologists and Counselors which means that we are able to provide an individual approach for each patient.
In addition, I also train practitioners to work with clients using these specialist and evidence-based techniques. The training is available both online and in-person and includes ongoing support and education. I am passionate about ensuring that practitioners are able to access ongoing CPD and keep their skills up-to-date.
What feedback have you received from women who have received reflexology during their journey to parenthood?
I have included some feedback from clients below but it may be helpful to share some of our data as this may be more relevant to readers.
In 2013 we undertook our first data collection, collecting data from 183 patients. In medical research this may be small in number but in complementary medical terms this is a large sample. Of these, 68% of clients conceived whilst receiving reflexology compared with the accepted norm of 25-30% with IVF. In addition, those receiving reflexology increased their success rate to 52%.
In a further study undertaken in 2021, we interviewed 117 patients from four countries on their views and experiences of using Reflexology whilst trying to get pregnant. 84.7% sought reflexology to assist fertility and reduce stress. 89.6% felt reflexology was having a positive effect on their fertility.
Finally, as part of my Doctorate, I undertook a phenomenological study earlier this year. I interviewed four patients (3 female and one male) on their views and experiences of using reflexology whilst trying to conceive or to support a reproductive health issue.
Below is some of their feedback and comments of the impact that reflexology has had upon their reproductive health conditions/emotional well-being and ability to conceive.
“We had been trying for 10 years with a couple of miscarriages. I hadn’t had a period for 18 months. The next thing I noticed I wasn’t getting the monthly migraines anymore. My PMS symptoms have lessened and then in the last 4/5 months my cycle has regulated to every 30-34 days.”
“I have endometriosis and adenomyosis and I have chronic pain. There was nothing I could do to alleviate the pain. I had surgery to remove the scars, but the pain was the same. I couldn’t urinate. I couldn’t open my bowels; I was bleeding heavy. I had weekly treatments (of reflexology) and the biggest change was pain relief and being able to go to the toilet.”
“I have only taken painkillers twice, paracetamol and Ibuprofen, before I was taking morphine.”
“I had reached the point of almost taking my life because it (pain) was so unbearable. When you have endometriosis or chronic period cramps there is only so much painkillers they will give you, then you are left to your own devices.”
“I immediately realized that my stress levels had reduced. My panic attacks and anxiety levels were much lower and I was dealing with things a lot easier. I am a lot calmer, I don’t get that PMS temper. I feel more positive, even though I am 37, that there’s a chance of still conceiving. The first bit of hope really.”
“I had a sperm test which came back pretty fine but the reflexologist spotted raised white blood cells, I think, and suggested I go for some further tests and I did have bacteria present which was treated with antibiotics. The GP and hospital didn’t notice it.”
“I really felt like I wanted to shout about it to anybody who was trying to conceive.”
How do you customize your reflexology sessions to meet the specific needs and preferences of each reproductive health client?
Each patient is assessed based on their individual results and background, journey so far and specific needs. Protocols may be used to support each stage of a menstrual cycle or drug protocol if undertaking assisted conception. Referrals are put in place if there is relevant testing that may be appropriate and the results provide further guidance to the practitioner in terms of which reflexology protocols would provide the best outcome.
How do you stay updated on the latest developments and research in reflexology for reproductive health? How does this ongoing education influence your practice and the techniques you use?
I attend ongoing medical conferences to keep my knowledge and skills as up to date as possible. The key conferences this year are Fertility 2023, The Fertility Show and ESHRE, these provide the opportunity to listen to the latest research and publications on reproductive health globally.
I also research and write lectures on a wide variety of reproductive health issues for our practitioners as this allows me to disseminate this information to them.
I am currently undertaking a Doctorate at the University of Wales Trinity St David and this guides and develops my research skills and allows me to undertake further research.