Reflexology – Does it REALLY work??

Reflexology

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

Benefits of Reflexology

Reflexology, Therapy Info

Reflexology
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.

adult alternative medicine care comfort

 

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
sports injuries
stress
anxiety and depression
sleep and eating disorders
poor circulation
irritable bowel syndrome
migraine
pre-menstrual tension
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!

Precautions
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.

Afterwards

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.

woman lying on flowers

Benefits of Yoga and CBD

cbd oil, The mind

If you suffer from stress or related conditions such as anxiety and depression, you certainly aren’t alone.

These are two of the most common illnesses in the world, but fear not; there are many natural ways you ease your stress. Spending more time in nature, yoga and CBD products all harness the power of nature to heal and balance our bodies.

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Over the past decade, numerous studies have revealed that yoga has the ability to significantly lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Thus, this ancient practice is used in everything from cancer therapy, to substance abuse recovery, eating disorder recovery, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even recovery from breast cancer.

Researchers believe that stress relief comes from three major sources: the yogic asanas or poses (which involve intense coordination between body and mind), controlled breathing (which lowers the heart and breathing rates) and mindfulness (yoga is often accompanied by meditation, which aims to keep us “in the present moment”).

Mindfulness is one of the most powerful ways we can stop stress in its tracks, because it allows us to escape the frequent ruminations about the past or worry about our future. When we keep the mind in the here and now, we are able to breathe better, focus more, and create a mental state that is incompatible with panic attacks and general anxiety.

YOGA AND CBD FOR STRESS

CBD is increasingly being used to battle stress, owing to its ability to react directly with cell receptors, including serotonin and dopamine receptors. It is vital not to confuse CBD with THC (the cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high effect’ of marijuana). While THC can have many benefits, CBD offers numerous positive effects for its users while leaving their mental state mostly unchanged.

CBD is often taken as an oil but also used topically to treat skin conditions and inflammation, or even consumed in sweets like gummies. It is just one of the many naturally occurring compounds found in all cannabis plants. Because of how CBD interacts with serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain and nervous system, more of these neurotransmitters can flow through the body, resulting in a greater sense of calm and wellbeing.

 

A MULTI-LAYER APPROACH TO BATTLING STRESS

If you think you may have anxiety or depression, it is important to check in with a doctor. Working alongside your therapist or other health professional, you can take many approaches to  battling these conditions.

It is important to tackle stress from a multi-layered perspective, too. Holistic activities , Tai Chi, mindfulness meditation, and time spent in nature have proven to be a useful complementary therapy for anxiety and other stress-related conditions. CBD, an almost miraculous supplement made from natural hemp, can be an important part of our anti-stress toolkit too.

Whatever approach you take, if you make time to care for yourself and your wellbeing then every other part of your life will seem a little bit easier.