For a free print out of the Reflexology Sheet – Click Here
For a free print out of the Reflexology Sheet – Click Here
Impact of Reflexology on the Workplace Danish Study 1 A reflexologist was hired by a Scandinavian airline’s cargo department to improve staff morale and reduce sick leave for its 60 employees, resulting in monthly savings of US$3,300. This is what their employees said:
“Our work is done through computers and people spending many hours in a chair doing their work, resulting in aching shoulders and back. Since we employed our reflexologist we have experienced a substantial decrease of people being ill and away from work. It has had a physical and psychological effect. There is a much better atmosphere in the department, because the employees feel there is something being done about their problems. Before staff used to stay at home, now we see them go to work anyway because they know they can get a treatment and feel better.” (Research has been published and undertaken by the FDZ – the Danish Reflexology Association)
Danish Study 2 The Odense Postal District employed a reflexologist for 3 years to deal with employee stress. Two hundred and thirty five employees participated resulting in a 25% fall in sick leave, saving £110,000 and 170 employees reported a good impact on their health. (Research has been published and undertaken by the FDZ – the Danish Reflexology Association)
Danish Study 3 A reflexologist was employed for 6 months. 52 employees (all women) were treated for various ailments. Sick leave fell by 65.9% 97.5% had a positive effect on their primary problem 77.5% had a positive effect on their secondary problem They had a 27.5% reduction in medication. (Research has been published and undertaken by the FDZ – the Danish Reflexology Association)
Headaches and Migraines
The National Board of Health Study, Denmark This widescale study was commissioned in Denmark since there were 729,000 lost workdays in 1994 from migraines. The results showed that 19% of headache sufferers stopped taking medication following reflexology work. They found that reflexology treatments had a beneficial effect on patients suffering from migraine and tension headaches.
The study was conducted at the Department of Social Pharmacy, The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy in co-operation with 5 reflexology associations. 220 patients participated. The majority had moderate to severe symptoms: 90% had taken prescribed medication for their headaches one month prior to the study (81% was acetvlsalicyclic acid and paracetamol taken twice a week, with 72% of stronger medication taken fortnightly); with 36% experiencing side effects from the medicines. 34% had taken medication for other non-headache ailments.
3 months after completing the reflexology treatments, the results were:
16% had been cured 65% had reduced symptoms 19% reported that they had been able to stop all medication taken before the study. Those participants who continued with reflexology sessions after the six-month period reported the greatest probability for cure. Those who had headaches for the shortest period prior to the study reported the greatest relief after the study. One thing the researchers noticed that may have affected the study was that once receiving reflexology, many of the participants seemed to make lifestyle changes that reflected how they looked at their headaches. Prior to receiving reflexology, patients looked at their headaches as something separate from themselves over which they had no control. After working with a reflexologist, they seemed to understand the mind-body connection to their headache and how it could be controlled through the integration of the mind and body. It appeared that the reflexology practitioner became a catalyst for initiating the learning process and inspiring personal development in the patient. (Brendstrup, Eva and Launs‾, Laila, “Headache and Reflexological Treatment,” The Council Concerning Alternative Treatment, The National Board of Health, Denmark, 1997)
Reflexology was found to be as effective in the treatment of headaches as medication (flunarizine), without its side-effects. It was concluded that the reflexology treatment may be classified as an alternative non-pharmacological therapeutic treatment that would be particularly appropriate to those patients that were unable to follow pharmacological treatment. (Lafuente A et al (1990). Effekt der Reflex zonenbehandlung am FuB bezuglich der prophylaktischen Behandlung mit Flunarizin bei an Cephalea-Kopfschmerzen leidenden Patieten.Erfahrungsheilkunde. 39, 713-715.)
Chinese Study A Chinese study of 26 patients, 9 men and 17 women, from 19 to 43 years of age showed that after one session of foot reflexology, 13 of the participants considered themselves symptom free, and 1 reported symptoms relieved. After two sessions, 6 considered themselves to be cured and 1 reported to be symptom free. After three sessions, 2 participants said they were cured and 3 stated their symptoms were unchanged. The conclusion of this study was that reflexology is a safe, economic therapy.
Gynaecological Problems • Pre-menstrual syndrome • Various gynaecological disorders • Menopausal Symptoms • Amenorrhea • Male Impotence • Dymenstruation/(painful periods) • Hypermenorrhea/(excessive uterine bleeding)
Chinese Study 1 32 cases of type II diabetes mellitus were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group was treated with conventional Western Medicine hypoglycemic agent and reflexology, the other group with the same medicine only (WM).
After daily treatments over 30 days, fasting blood glucose levels, platelet aggregation, length and wet weight of the thrombus, senility symptom scores and serum lipid peroxide (LPO) were greatly reduced in the reflexology group (P,0.05-0.01), while no significant change was observed in the WM group.
The study suggested that reflexology was an effective treatment for type II diabetes mellitis. (Wang, X. M., “Type II diabetes mellitus with foot reflexotherapy,” Chuang Koh Chuang Hsi I Chief Ho Teas Chi, Beijing , Vol. 13, Sept. 1993, pp 536-538)
Chinese Study 2 22 cases with non-insulin dependent diabetes were split into 2 groups. The patients of both groups had taken hypoglycemic agents for a long time. Reflexology was provided daily for 30 days. Results: The indexes of the scores of senility, thrombocyte aggregation rates (TAR), the length and wet weights of thrombosis in vitro, and the serum oxidative lipids were measured to judge curative effect.
The results were so positive that the researchers recommend that further research using larger numbers of patients in controlled clinical trials into the effectiveness of reflexology in alleviating pain, nausea and anxiety in the management of these symptoms by the family at home is warranted. (Foot Massage: A nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer,” Grealish, L. Lomasney, A., Whiteman, B., Cancer Nurse 2000, June;23(3):237-43 (On-line review: “Reflexology Used for Cancer Patients,” Internet Health Library, October 11, 2000)
Cancer (Quality of life) Results: 100% of the reflexology group benefited from an improvement in quality of life: appearance, appetite, breathing, communication (doctors), communication (family), communication (nurses), concentration, constipation, diarrhoea, fear of future, isolation, micturition, mobility, mood, nausea, pain, sleep and tiredness. An improvement in all components of the quality of life scale was reported in the reflexology group compared to 67. 5 in the placebo group. This study suggests that the provision of reflexology for palliative patients within the general setting could be beneficial. Not only did the patients in this study enjoy the intervention, they were also ‘relaxed,’ comforted’ and achieved relief from some of their symptoms. (Hodgson, H. “Does reflexology impact on cancer patients’ quality of life?,” Nursing Standard, 14, 31, p. 33-38)
Cancer (Anxiety and pain) Results: Foot reflexology alleviated anxiety and pain for 23 patients with breast and lung cancer. Researchers noted a significant decrease in anxiety for patients diagnosed with breast or lung cancer and a significant decrease in pain for patients with breast cancer. “This has important implications for nursing practice as both professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology. Reflexology is a simple technique for human touch which can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is non-invasive and does not interfere with patients’ privacy.” (Stephenson, N. L., Weinrich, S. P. and Tavakoli, A. S., “The effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and pain in patients with breast and lung cancer,” OncolNursForum 2000, Jan.-Feb.;27(1):67-72)
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reflexology applies pressure to a range of particular points on your hands and feet that correspond with all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles in your body. This helps improve circulation of blood, oxygen and ‘qi’ around the body, relieving stress and healing pain in other parts of the body.
What is reflexology?
We are all familiar with the classic ‘knee-jerk’ response – the doctor taps the patient below the knee, and his lower leg bounces up into the air – if you do something to one part of the body you can cause a reaction in another part.
Reflexology applies this response to the whole body. By applying pressure to points on your feet and hands, you can treat and heal problems elsewhere in the body.
Reflexology is based on similar principles to acupuncture and some types of massage – that our bodies are mapped by channels of energy, or “qi” (pronounced “chee’); we feel pain, or generally unwell, when the flow of that energy is blocked in some way. By putting pressure on one part of these channels, the reflexologist sends an impulse or message all the way along it, which unblocks it and encourages the energy to flow freely again.
This in turn brings us back into good health and a sense of balance and well-being, and stimulates our body’s own healing responses.
What is reflexology good for?
Many people go to see a reflexologist as they might go for a massage: to help with their general health, and to make them feel relaxed and calm. But because it is such a comprehensive treatment, reflexology can help you in many other ways, with anything from a trapped nerve to depression.
Reflexology is recommended by doctors for a variety of conditions, including:
back pain and muscle strain
anxiety and depression
sleep and eating disorders
irritable bowel syndrome
symptoms of the menopause
breathing difficulties such as asthma
Before you go
It doesn’t really matter what you wear when you go for reflexology, as they will focus mainly on your feet, and then possibly hands. Out of courtesy and kindness of course, it is a good idea to make sure that your feet are clean and fragrant!
You should always let your therapist know:
of any medical conditions you have, and treatment or medication you are receiving
if you are, or think you might be, pregnant
if you have recently had an operation or surgery
if you have had any injuries that might affect your treatment – such as a recently healed broken ankle
as this may affect the type of treatment you can have.
What to expect from reflexology
On the first visit, the reflexologist will chat with you about your general health and lifestyle.
Reflexology is not a foot massage. The reflexologist may massage your feet a little to relax you before they start, but the technique itself is about applying firm pressure to specific points on the foot.
The technique can feel a bit odd at first; it can also be a bit overwhelming. Imagine a pain you have had for years in your shoulder melting away in seconds as someone puts pressure on the ball of your foot! Tension can be released, and pain dissolved, very quickly.
A treatment session usually lasts for about an hour. You will probably get a lot out of a single session but you may want to have several more.
You are likely to feel very relaxed after a session; you may feel like having a snooze or a long bath, and luxuriating in the feeling a bit longer. On the other hand, depending on your treatment, you may feel really energised. Some people even feel tearful afterwards, just from the release of tension.
Your reaction is not always predictable but the likelihood is that you’ll feel much better when you come out than you did when you went in.
Reflexology helps release stress, which in turn helps the body heal and regenerate itself. There are several theories about how this process work.
This theory builds on research done in the 1890s by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington, who began to show through their research that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs, and that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus.
According to the theory, the reflexologist’s application of pressure to feet, hands, or ears sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level. This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.