Reflexology is a drug-free, holistic and non-surgical approach to healing and wellness that dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China. It uses finger pressure on the feet or hands to assess reflexes, create balance and encourage deep relaxation. It treats the body and mind as a whole, but at the same time, treatments are tailored to a client’s specific needs.
Put simply, Reflexology is a deep, healing foot treatment that is really so much more than just a massage. A review of 168 research studies found that Reflexology can increase blood flow to organs, enhance organ function, lower high blood pressure, reduce anxiety, cause positive changes in brain wave patterns, and reduce pain linked to arthritis, kidney stones, and diabetic neuropathy. It can alleviate the pain of migraines and tension headaches and other forms of chronic and acute pain.
When stressed our bodies become more susceptible to illness and disease. Stress has been shown to be a big factor in as much as 75% of all illnesses diagnosed today, so relieving this could naturally encourage your body to heal. Reflexology reduces stress and provides total relaxation – once the treatment starts, the relaxation begins – it could slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, slow your breathing rate, encourage deep breathing, reduce stress and relieve depression. It can also relieve anxiety and tension and of course, improve sleep quality.
One of Reflexology’s main aims is to promote physical and mental relaxation. This in turn, encourages muscles to relax. This could really help if you suffer from stiff shoulders or a sore neck, which can often be the causes of headaches.
This helps you in several different ways – boosting energy, strengthening the immune system, anti-ageing and improving the sense of wellbeing. It improves bowel movements and helps problems such as constipation, IBS, Crohns, indigestion and heartburn.
Whatever health issues you are having, Reflexology could help to balance or at least help you manage it effectively. This is especially important at times such as menopause, when hormones need to be balanced in order to alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and fatigue. It can also help balance mood and help with problems such as depression.
Reflexology stimulates over 7,000 nerves in the feet and encourages the opening and clearing of neural pathways. It interrupts pain pathways and reduces pain, such as migraine, back pain, sciatica and sore joints. Reflexology also helps to stimulate endorphins, which promote our sense of wellbeing and decrease our perception of pain
Free flow of blood to the entire body is required to transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells as well as removing metabolic wastes and toxins. Many studies show Reflexology increases blood flow and relaxes the overall body. This improved circulation stimulates physical healing too.
Reflexology stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps us fight infections. It helps remove toxins and increases our immune system’s effectiveness. This can also be of great benefit to those who suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever.
Health isn’t merely the absence of disease or symptoms; it is a state of optimal wellbeing, vitality and wholeness. Reflexology’s holistic approach helps to balance our mind, body and spirit so that healing can happen. This could be especially important during difficult times in life such as bereavement.
There are 7,000 nerve endings on each foot and specific areas on the feet and hands, called the reflexes, correspond to different parts of the body. See diagram below:
A Reflexologist cannot diagnose or claim to cure any medical conditions, but by applying pressure to all these reflexes in a sequence, the body’s natural flow of energy is balanced, restored and maintained. This increase in energy clears any congestion, removes toxins and encourages the body’s own healing ability.
Author: Jo Coombs BSc (Hons) MAR MGHT