When Hormones are mentioned, visions of raging pubescent, Pre Menstrual or Menopausal women often spring to mind, but they affect everyone.

Hormones are chemical messages secreted into the blood to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. They are secreted from glands, which are collectively called the Endocrine System. These messengers control most body systems e.g. growth, food metabolism, sexual function, reproductive health and cognitive function amongst others.

Both men and women produce hormones in the same area and function, with one exception. The sex or reproductive hormones produced in the ovary or testes differ.

A Hormonal imbalance is when there is too little or too much of a particular hormone in the body. This imbalance can cause a variety of symptoms and occur at different times of life. We may remember the major hormonal changes at puberty in both men and women, or have witnessed them in our own children, and the menopause in women at the end of child bearing years. But, other hormonal imbalances occur, for example in the thyroid, pancreas (diabetes), those affecting fertility and in the Adrenals.

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance are:
• Sleep disturbances
• Skin problems
• Brain fog
• Digestive issues
• Fatigue
• Mood swing and depression
• Weight gain
• Headaches
• Loss of Libido
• Fertility issues
• Menstrual issues, irregular periods, PMS, painful periods, heavy periods

As a reflexologist I work to provide a systemic balance in the body. By working the reflexes representing the endocrine glands, many clients have reported an improvement in symptoms, particularly menstrual issues, fertility, menopause and stress effects.

For now, I want to talk about stress. I really feel for cortisol, the “stress hormone”. It’s produced by the Adrenal Glands and the poor thing is just trying to do its job, but its job changes and it just doesn’t know when to stop. It helps to regulate blood pressure and the immune system in a sudden crisis. Now, in its original design, such a crisis was being chased by a predator, it helped the body survive in a fight or flight moment. Once the danger was over the body recovered and cortisol levels dropped.

However nowadays, with relentless stress, such crisis are worrying about paying bills, having work related stress issues or just not having enough hours in the day. Often cortisol levels remain consistently high.

Consistent chronically high cortisol levels can cause
• Sleep problems
• A depressed immune response
• Blood sugar abnormalities, especially insulin resistance
• Abdominal weight gain

Luckily for us, an antidote to the body’s fight or flight mechanism has evolved, the relaxation response.

Many reflexology clients experience a sense of calm following treatments and most report an excellent nights sleep. Working with the Endocrine system, a reflexologist applies pressure to sedate, stimulate or balance reflexes that represent body structures.
So, you may not be being chased by a predator, but at times it feels like it. Let me help you switch on that relaxation response.