Reflexology – Does it REALLY work??

Hell Yes….and not just because I am a reflexologist either but the only reason I became one was because it helped me with horrific Migraines every month.  Hormonal Migraines from my teens just debilitated me for a day or two each month and the pills doctors prescribed put me off taking medication again as the side effects out weighed the pain.

So I turned to Reflexology and the rest is as they say History.

What exactly is it??

There are reflex points in the feet, hands and ears link to the body’s organs, glands and  systems. When these reflex points are massaged, the body’s own self-healing begins. For example, massage of the big toe, which is linked through the energy channels to the head, can activate the body’s own healing processes to help alleviate or prevent headache. WOOHOO

foot reflexology map

 

The holistic definition of a ‘disease’ is an imbalance or a blockage in the body. So if a therapist finds sensitivity or tension in one spot of the feet or hands, it indicates an imbalance within the part of the body related to that area. Once we remove this blockage and allow the energy to flow freely, the symptoms may disappear and the body will return to a healthy and balanced state. I would not call it a medical treatment and it is not a cure in itself  – healing is something only the body can do. Rather, reflexology facilitates, helps and supports the body to heal itself. It should always be considered as a supplementary to formal medical advice and treatment for serious conditions.

 

Reflexology in the foot is the most popular treatment. I think this is because feet are normally more responsive than the palms of the hands and being larger, they make the reflex points easier to identify and the skin is more sensitive there because it’s usually covered by shoes.

BENEFITS OF REFLEXOLOGY

While there are many people who believe in the potential benefits of reflexology, there are also controversial opinions about it. Some scientists say it doesn’t work at all, while others think the opposite. It’s still neither well-documented nor researched. However, there have been several recent studies which have reported benefits and you can find links to them at the end of this article.

 

Some of the potential benefits of reflexology are:

 

Stimulation of the nervous system:

Reflexology can stimulate over 7,000 different nervous endings within a single session. As we get older and our bodies age, our nerve endings become less sensitive and reflexology can improve their function and reaction. It also opens and clears out neural pathways around the body. These pathways are like muscles and keeping them toned and active improves the connections between nerve endings and the brain.

 

Internal organ stimulation:

When you press specific pressure points, the internal organs to which they are connected through the nerve endings and meridians/energy channels are stimulated.  This means they can work more effectively.

 

Immune system improving: 

By pressing on specific pressure points, specific glands such as the tonsils, thyroid, thymus, spleen and liver are stimulated. This helps improve and balance the immune and lymphatic systems.

 

Decreasing Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure can be reduced by massaging the main hypertension reflex points relating to the  kidney/adrenal gland, lungs, head, liver, solar plex(us)  and heart.

Kidneys can’t excrete EXCESS sodium and this can cause fluid retention (edema) and raised blood pressure. The adrenal gland is known as a fight-or-flight (stress) producer. So by massaging the adrenal reflex point, it can help bring down stress levels and lower the blood pressure.

The renin-angiotensin system is a hormone system which regulates blood pressure and fluid balance. When it is overactive, it can cause a vasoconstriction and retention which can lead to hypertension. Massaging the liver reflex leads to vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) and a lowering of blood pressure.

The solar plexus is often called the abdominal brain, or the second brain. It is closely related to the digestive system.  In massaging the reflex point for the solar plexus, the digestive system is stimulated and helped to work better.

Lungs are responsible for the renin-angiotensin system and oxygenation of the blood. A massage of the lungs reflex points helps to lower the blood pressure.

An overactive nervous system leads to an increase in the stress responses and elevated adrenalin. Using pressure on the head/brain reflex point can help to decrease stress levels.

Proper functioning of the heart valves is very important for it to do its work of pumping blood through the body.   To keep the cardiovascular system toned and balanced, it’s really important to stimulate the heart reflex point.

 

Stimulating Digestive System:

Our body gets all the enzymes, vitamins, minerals it needs through good food and the proper working of our digestive system. By pressing and stimulating reflex points related to bowel and the digestive system, including the teeth, jaw, esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and  small and big intestines,  the overall system is helped to work properly and in its turn, keeps us healthy.

 

Boosted Energy Levels:

By stimulating the working of different organs and systems, reflexology can increase metabolism, blood circulation and detoxification. It can help bring the body back into balance and boost energy levels.

 

Increased Circulation:

Massaging of the reflex points opens blocked areas of the body, which can improve circulation so the blood, bringing nutrients and oxygen, can circulate more effectively. This means more oxygen reaches vital organs, optimizing their functioning and further increasing metabolism.

 

Relaxation and Better Sleep:

Reflexology can open neural pathways which can lead to a more relaxed body. Because reflexology reduces stress level, it induces a state of calmness throughout your body and mind. Because of this, reflexology is commonly used to cure insomnia. It can be a very troubling condition to suffer, but with reflexology, body and mind can relax and return to their normal rhythms.

 

Stress, Depression and Anxiety Reduction:

A hormone called serotonin is released by neurons in the brain and promotes the state of happiness. Low levels of the hormone may result in stress and depression. A simple massage of your toes may enhance the production of the hormone. Other glands like the adrenal, hypothalamic, pineal and pituitary can be stimulated at their reflex points in the feet and may bring relief to some conditions. Reflexology can also be very effective in alleviating anxiety.

 

Detoxification:

Toxins can accumulate within our body because of our rushed modern life style, combined with bad quality food and a stressful environment. Reflexology can help improve the urinary system and bladder function to more effectively eliminate toxins and other foreign substances and may help protect the body from various diseases and health conditions.

 

Pains and Aches Relieving and Reduction:

Reflexology is commonly used as a method of a pain reduction for migraines, headaches, neck pain or backaches by relieving the tension in muscles that often lead to these conditions. Headaches caused by stress can also be relieved through reflexology by helping reduce the psychological causes which often manifest themselves in physical symptoms.

 

Speed Healing:

The combination of increased nerve stimulation, improved circulation and a more balanced metabolism leads to faster cells re-growth, quicker wound healing and a much faster recovery.

 

Cancer Side Effects Cure:

There is no scientific confirmation that reflexology may directly cure cancer. However, it has been known to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It improves patients’ sleep, reduces digestive problems and vomiting and anxiety. It stimulates antioxidant productivity because it improves blood circulation and clears neural pathways. So it can help to destroy cancer cells and slow down the cancer spreading.

 

Pregnancy state, labour and postpartum easing:

Scientific studies have shown that reflexology can help balance the hormonal and emotional states during pregnancy and can help ease anxiety. Additionally it can help with other pregnancy conditions, such as general aches and pains, anaemia, haemorrhoids, sleeplessness, morning sickness, digestive problems and heartburn. Reflexology is also very popular to help shorten the period of labour and as a natural analgesic. However, it should only be used when the baby is ready to arrive and not before! And after the birth, reflexology can help the body recover faster and reduce postpartum depression.

 

Reduction of PMS and Menopause Symptoms:

Some Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as irritability, dysmenorrhoea, bloating, headaches, cramping, skin blemishes, breast tenderness, fluid retention, fatigue, insomnia and mood swings may be reduced by daily reflexology massage. It is also very useful for reducing menopausal symptoms like stress, depression, anxiety and hot flushes. 

In both cases, it focuses particularly on reflex points that influence the endocrine and reproductive systems. The glands and organs within these systems are responsible for hormone production and distribution. We concentrate on the pituitary, thyroid, hypothalamus, adrenal, ovaries and additionally on the kidneys and ureters areas.

This is to help eliminate toxins or excess fluids and to regulate and balance the hormone production and glandular functions of the body. As reflexology additionally calms the central nervous system, sleep disturbances can also be alleviated and emotional problems like anxiety, stress and depression can be reduced.

 

Good for your Feet:

Reflexology keeps your feet healthier. It stimulates the muscles, reduces inflammation, stiffness and pain in the ankles and heels, releases tension and eases tiredness. It helps to keep your feet free from problems such as achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and toenail fungus. It keeps your ankles and feet flexible and strong.

 

For research article click here

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