If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, you’ve probably been doing everything you can to increase your chances of conception. A few frantic online searches might lead you to consider fertility massage therapy as a potential solution or, at the very least, a companion treatment to boost your success rate.

While there’s limited scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of fertility massage therapy, some couples have reported positive results and found it to be a beneficial addition to their fertility treatment plan.

This article covers the potential benefits and limitations of fertility massage therapy and provides an overview of the available research on its effectiveness.

Understanding the Basics of Fertility Massage

Fertility massage therapy is a specialized form of massage that focuses on the body’s reproductive organs and qi, the “vital energy” that flows through it.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, imbalances or blockages in this energy can affect fertility. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support these claims.

Fertility massage is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) approach that has gained popularity in recent years. It uses specific techniques and movements to promote relaxation, improve blood circulation to the reproductive organs, reduce stress, and balance hormone levels.

Other examples of CAM fertility therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and yoga or meditation.

Fertility Massage Techniques

Fertility massage therapy incorporates various techniques to target different areas of the body, including the abdominal area, lower back, hips, groin (inguinal region), and thighs (femoral region).

Here’s a breakdown of the most common fertility massage techniques:

  • Swedish massage uses long strokes and kneading motions to promote relaxation and increase blood flow.
  • Deep tissue massage focuses on deeper muscle and connective tissue layers to address chronic tension and adhesions.
  • Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that applies pressure to specific points on the body to restore energy flow and promote overall well-being.
  • Myofascial release reduces tension in the fascia by applying gentle and sustained pressure.
  • Reflexology focuses on applying pressure to points on the feet or hands that correspond to different organs and systems in the body, including the reproductive system.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage helps stimulate the lymphatic system to improve circulation and eliminate toxins from the body.

Some practitioners teach self-massage techniques that couples can practice at home, while others offer hands-on sessions where the therapist performs the massage.

What is self-fertility massage?

A self-fertility massage is a massage that can be done by oneself at home.

Although there’s limited research supporting the idea that self-fertility massage can help a person conceive, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may have other benefits, including:

  • improving one’s self-care routine and overall well-being
  • promoting relaxation and reducing stress
  • increasing awareness and connection with one’s body and reproductive organs
  • improving circulation to the reproductive organs
  • becoming more in tune with one’s menstrual cycle and fertility signs

Is fertility massage therapy effective?

Fertility massage therapy isn’t a guaranteed path to pregnancy or overcoming infertility challenges. Still, some studies suggest that massage therapy, in general, may have health benefits, such as reducing stress and promoting relaxation — both of which are important when trying to conceive.

Stress plays a critical role in fertility and conception

People struggling with infertility are at an increased risk of experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety. This extends to both men and women, as men may have lower serum total testosterone levels while women may experience increased cortisol levels.

Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” controls everything from the body’s metabolism to inflammatory processes and immune function. Too much or too little of this hormone can have a catastrophic domino effect on the body’s overall health, including fertility.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) regulates the body’s stress response and cortisol production. It works with the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadotropic axis (HPG), which controls the production of reproductive hormones.

Chronic stress (or high cortisol levels) can disrupt the HPA and HPG axes, leading to hormonal imbalances, specifically the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This change in plans can result in irregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, and difficulty conceiving. High cortisol levels can also reduce estradiol levels and deteriorate egg quality.

Stress is likely to decrease a person’s libido as well.

Stress isn’t the only emotional hurdle to overcome when dealing with infertility

While stress plays a role in fertility, it’s not the only emotional hurdle that couples dealing with infertility face.

Infertility can be a complex emotional journey that can lead to feelings of:

  • Anxiety: The pressure to conceive, financial concerns about treatment, and the fear of never having a child can all contribute to heightened anxiety. This constant worry can be debilitating and take a toll on daily life.
  • Depression: The sense of loss and disappointment associated with failed cycles can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of sadness, isolation, and worthlessness — all common symptoms of depression.
  • Guilt and relationship strain: Infertility can also cause feelings of guilt and create tension in the relationship. Open communication and emotional support are crucial during this challenging time.

It’s important to understand the two-way street between emotions and hormones.

Anxiety and depression can negatively affect hormone levels, which in turn can impact fertility. For example, high cortisol levels associated with chronic stress can disrupt ovulation and egg quality. This creates a stressful cycle where emotional distress can worsen fertility struggles and vice versa.

Can fertility massage help? Here’s what the research says

While there’s limited research on fertility massage, we did find some evidence of its potential benefits:

  • A 2023 anecdotal source suggests daily self-fertility massage based on Mayan abdominal massage techniques (which have been shown to help alleviate endometriosis pain) may improve blood flow to the reproductive organs. However, this study was based on self-reports and lacked scientific rigor.
  • One 2015 study found that 30 minutes of a deep relaxation massage on an oscillating device (andullation therapy) helped improve the chances of embryo implantation in in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients undergoing a frozen embryo transfer. The researchers hypothesized that the massage promoted relaxation and improved blood circulation, creating a more favorable environment for embryo implantation.
  • A 2016 study also indicated that abdominal massage could potentially reduce pain resulting from the injection of recombinant gonadotropin hormones during IVF treatment for women. The experimental group showed a notable decrease in pain scores by 0.7 points compared to their pre-tested scores.

Potential Benefits of Massage Therapy

Fertility massage may not have a ton of research to back it up, but massage therapy has been proven to offer several potential benefits for overall well-being, including, but not limited to:

  • Improved sleep: Studies show that massage therapy can improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia, especially for individuals with menopause or congestive heart failure.
  • Reduced stress: As discussed earlier, infertility can trigger significant stress and anxiety. Massage therapy is well-established in reducing stress by promoting relaxation through increased parasympathetic activity and lowering cortisol levels.
  • Constipation relief: Abdominal massage may be helpful in relieving constipation and improving bowel function. However, most studies on this topic are small, and more research is needed to establish a strong connection.
  • Improved immune function: Massage therapy has been shown to boost immune system function by increasing the activity of the body’s natural killer cells (white blood cells), which help fight off viruses and other pathogens.
  • Pain management: Massage therapy can help manage pain by reducing muscle tension, promoting relaxation, and stimulating the release of the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins).
  • Increased blood flow: Some massage techniques may improve circulation throughout the body, including to the reproductive organs, potentially enhancing fertility and supporting reproductive health.
  • Potential hormone regulation: Massage may improve communication between the nervous and endocrine systems (which regulate hormones), leading to a better hormonal balance and more regular menstrual cycles.

Things to Consider Before Trying Fertility Massage Therapy

While fertility massage offers potential benefits, it’s important to approach it with realistic expectations.

Here are some things to consider:

  • There’s limited research on the subject. The research on fertility massage and its impact on conception rates is limited and inconclusive. While some studies show promise in related areas, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness in improving fertility outcomes.
  • The goal should be to prioritize your overall well-being. Fertility massage is best viewed as a complementary therapy to support relaxation, reduce stress, and improve circulation. It shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for conventional fertility treatments.
  • Beware of unrealistic promises. Unfortunately, some clinics might oversell the benefits of fertility massage or present it as a miracle cure. Be wary of any claims that sound too good to be true.

Who might benefit from fertility massage?

While fertility massage can be a relaxing and potentially helpful holistic treatment for many couples trying to conceive, it may be particularly beneficial for:

  • Stress management: People experiencing infertility-related stress may find fertility massage helpful in reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.
  • Pain Relief: Massage therapy may help manage pain associated with certain medical conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Improved sleep: Massage therapy can promote better sleep quality for those with sleep problems, indirectly benefiting overall health and, potentially, fertility.


Fertility massage therapy may reduce stress levels and help aspiring parents relax and feel more supported during their fertility journey. That said, it’s not a standalone solution for fertility issues.

Infertility is a complex issue with multiple factors at play, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or fertility specialist to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

A Word From RMA

At RMA, we’re dedicated to providing our clients with the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding fertility treatments and complementary therapies.

While fertility massage therapy has shown the potential to promote relaxation and reduce stress, its effectiveness in improving fertility outcomes is still inconclusive.

If you’re interested in adding holistic therapies to your fertility plan, it’s essential to approach them as complementary treatments rather than replacements for conventional fertility treatments.

Contact our clinic or speak with one of our fertility specialists to learn more about fertility massage therapy and other complementary therapies. We’re here to support you and help you make informed decisions about your treatment options.

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