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.
I have been trained in Massage therapy since 2005 in both Remedial and Swedish Massage.
Virtually every system of the body is affected by massage, either directly or indirectly.
Here is a guide to how your body can benefit.
The skeletal system: Bone is affected indirectly by massage. Improved circulation of blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the bones. Joint stiffness and pain can be reduced. As the muscles become more flexible, joint movement increases.
The muscular system: Some massage movements relax and stretch muscles, reducing muscular tension and cramp. Massage also makes muscles more flexible by reducing muscle tone. Muscles tired by exercise are more quickly restored by massage than by rest.
The nervous system: Soothing massage can provide relief from nervous irritability and stress-related conditions such as insomnia and tension headaches. When used energetically to stimulate, massage may relieve lethargy and fatigue.
Circulation system: Massage
can improve the flow of blood, which can help poor circulation. This is especially useful for anyone who is immobile.
Lymphatic system: Gentle massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps clear the body of a build-up of waste products. The relaxing effect of the massage can relieve stress, which in turn can boost the immune system.
Respiratory system: As you become more relaxed during a massage, respiration may become slower and deeper as you are using your diaphragm for breathing and expending less energy. Physiotherapists use cupping movements over the base of the lungs to relieve chest congestion.
Digestive system: Massage aids relaxation and therefore can help to increase the movement of food and waste products through the digestive system. This relaxation can have a balancing effect on the digestive system.
Urinary system: Waste products that have been released during massage find their way via the blood to the kidneys where they may be filtered out and eliminated.
Female reproductive system: Menstrual problems such as period pains and PMS can be alleviated by the relaxing effects of massage, as can menopausal symptom
FOR REIKI PRACTICIONERS
Essential Oils that can be used for each chakra at times when you feel a blockage over a particular area that needs some extra assistance
1. ROOT CHAKRA (MULADHARA)
ESSENTIAL OILS THAT HELP YOU TO CONNECT TO THE EARTH AND TO GROUND YOU, INCLUDE PATCHOULI AND VETIVER. ALSO ROSEWOOD. OTHER GOOD ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THIS CHAKRA ARE: LAVENDER, FRANKINCENSE, MYRRH, HELICHRYSUM, YLANG YLANG. COLLECTIVELY THESE OILS HELP WITH BALANCE AND HEAL ISSUES AROUND TRIBE, COMMUNITY OR FAMILY, THE SENSE OF NOT BELONGING, FRUSTRATION, RAGE AND BLOCKED PASSION. DEVELOP, NURTURE AND STABILIZE YOUR SENSE OF ABSOLUTE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING. RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: SCIATICA, PROSTRATE, UTERINE, OVARIAN AND HEMORRHOID CONDITIONS.
2. SACRAL CHAKRA (SVADISTHANA)
APHRODISIAC OILS ARE APPROPRIATE HERE, WHICH INCLUDE SUCH AS JASMINE, NEROLI, ROSE OTTO, SANDALWOOD, YLANG YLANG, AND ALSO MARJORAM.
OTHER SUITABLE OILS FOR THIS CHAKRA INCLUDE: VETIVER, MYRRH, PATCHOULI, PETITIGRAIN, SWEET ORANGE, AND HELICHRYSUM.
STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM, HEAL ISSUES AROUND SELF ESTEEM, REJECTION AND VICTIMIZATION, TOXIC ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS (BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL), ANXIETY, FEAR AND WORRY. DIVORCE, LAWSUITS AND WARRING WITH YOURSELF AND OTHERS ARE COMMON MANIFESTATIONS OF AN IMBALANCED 2ND CHAKRA. RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: LUMBAR TENSION, CHRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN, TOXIC AND INFECTIOUS CONDITIONS, KIDNEY AND BLADDER INFECTIONS, IMMUNE DISORDERS, CHRONIC FATIGUE, CANCER AND DIABETES.
3. SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA (MANIPURA)
A SUITABLE BLENDS FOR THIS CHAKRA WOULD INCLUDE JUNIPER (FOR CLEANSING), NEROLI, PETITGRAIN AND VETIVER.
OILS TO RELAX, BALANCE MOOD SWINGS, PROTECT THE SOLAR PLEXUS AND INCREASE CONFIDENCE SUCH AS BENZOIN, CHAMOMILE, CLARY SAGE, GERANIUM, JASMINE, JUNIPER, LAVENDER, LEMON, MANDARIN, MELISSA, PALMAROSA, SAGE (PROTECTS), YARROW (PROTECTS). ALSO CONSIDER ATLAS CEDARWOOK, MYRRH, HELICHRYSUM, YLANG YLANG AND SANDALWOOD.
COLLECTIVELY THESE WILL HELP BALANCE AND HEAL ISSUES AROUND STRESS, SELF ESTEEM, DESIRE, FRUSTRATION, FEAR, GUILT AND DOUBT. RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: DIAPHRAGM, ADRENALS, KIDNEY, RESPIRATORY, HORMONAL & DIGESTIVE SYSTEMS, ULCERS AND GALLSTONES.
4. HEART CHAKRA (ANAHATA)
OILS TO OPEN UP AND HEAL THE HEART INCLUDE BERGAMOT, GERANIUM, JASMINE, LIME, MANDARIN, NEROLI, ROSE, YLANG YLANG. OTHER SUITABLE OILS FOR THIS CHAKRA INCLUDE SWEET ORANGE, FRANKINCENSE, HIMALAYAN CEDARWOOD, HEILCHRYSUM AND VETIVER.
COLLECTIVELY THESE ESSENTIAL OILS CAN HELP YOU TO BALANCE AND HEAL EMOTIONAL ISSUES AROUND GRIEF AND LOSS, EMOTIONAL HEAVINESS, SADNESS, FEELINGS OF DESPAIR AND DEPRESSION OR ANGER TURNED INWARD, FEELINGS OF LACK, LOSS, LESS THAN, NEVER HAVING ENOUGH OR BEING GOOD ENOUGH OR NOT BEING QUITE UP TO THE TASK OF YOUR LIFE, OBSESSIVE/COMPULSIVE FEELINGS OF BEING UNLOVED.
RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: STROKE, ANGINA, ARTHRITIS, HEART DISEASE, SHOULDER GIRDLE PAIN AND DISCOMFORT, ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES, TENDINITIS, CARPAL TUNNEL, ARM AND HAND PAIN, CHRONIC RESTRICTIONS IN THE UPPER BACK AND THORACIC AREA.
5. THROAT CHAKRA (VISUDDHA)
OILS TO ENHANCE COMMUNICATION AND CREATIVITY INCLUDE BLUE CHAMOMILE, BLACK PEPPER, EUCALYPTUS, GINGER, JASMINE, AND MYRRH.
ALSO CONSIDER HELICHRYSUM, FRANKINCENSE, LAVENDAR, YLANG YLANG,AND PETITGRAIN.
BALANCE AND HEAL ISSUES AROUND REPRESSION OF ONE’S THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, NOT BEING ABLE, OR FEELING SAFE TO SPEAK YOUR TRUTH. RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: HEADACHE, NECK TENSION/PAIN, RINGING EAR OR TINNITUS, THYROID CONDITIONS, FREQUENTLY CATCHING THE FLU OR COLDS, CHRONIC INFECTIONS, ALLERGIC REACTIONS, EYE PROBLEMS, RIGID ATTITUDES, FEARS AND VARIOUS PHOBIAS.
6. THIRD EYE CHAKRA (AJNA)
OILS TO STIMULATE INTUITION AND TO CLARIFY THE MIND SUCH AS BASIL, BLACK PEPPER, CARROT SEED, CLARY SAGE, FENNEL, GINGER, PEPPERMINT AND ROSEMARY. ALSO CONSIDER LAVENDER, NEROLI, PETITGRAIN, SPIKENARD, AND YLANG YLANG FOR THIS CHAKRA.
THESE ESSENTIAL OILS AID IN ACHIEVING BALANCE AND HELP HEAL OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS, RECURRING NIGHTMARES, REPETITIVE UNCONSCIOUS PATTERNS OF EXPERIENCE, INABILITY TO DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACT AND FANTASY, FEELING OF BEING ‘OUT OF CONTROL’, BLOCKS TO CREATIVITY, IMAGINATIVE DARKNESS AND INABILITY TO FOCUS AND MANIFEST YOUR DREAMS.
RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCES MAY INCLUDE: PITUITARY GLANDULAR DISORDERS AND KIDNEY DISEASE. AS THE PITUITARY GLAND OPERATES AS A MASTER GLAND, INFLUENCING THE HEALTHY FUNCTION OF OUR ENTIRE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM AND HORMONAL BALANCE, ITS HEALTHY FUNCTION IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE.
7. CROWN CHAKRA (SAHASRARA)
OILS TO OPEN UP THE MIND TO SPIRITUAL LEVELS SUCH AS CEDARWOOD, FRANKINCENSE, LINDEN BLOSSOM, NEROLI, AND ROSEWOOD.
FURTHERMORE, THE ESSENTIALS OILS OF LAVENDAR, PETITGRAIN, SPIKENARD AND YLANG YLANG ARE ALSO OF USE HERE. THEY ARE TO HELP ISSUES AROUND MEMORY LOSS, BREAKDOWN OF MENTAL FACULTIES FOR ORGANIZING AND PERCEIVING MATERIAL REALITY, LOSS OF INSPIRATION; AND TO CREATE BALANCE IN THESE AREAS IN ONE’S LIFE.
RELATED PHYSICAL IMBALANCE, INCLUDE: PINEAL GLAND DISORDERS, DEPRESSIVE STATES OF MIND.
FOR ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OILS
I was speaking to my neighbour recently about what she could do to relax as she was stressed out with work and as I reeled off the masses of relaxation techniques that I use, we got onto the topic of essential oils.
She, like many others I speak to, she was not convinced they work. I knew that she was trying to stop smoking and so I asked her if she had a patch on, which she replied yes. “So you pop a patch onto your skin and you just believe this is doing what it is saying it is”…then a lightbulb went on and she realised that what we put onto our skin absorbs into our body.
I rattled off some of the ones I would use for helping to relax and unwind after a busy day and the various methods that you can use the oils.
My top Relaxation Essential Oils
The lavender oil has been graded as one of the best essential oils for relaxation and health. This is because of the pharmacological benefits and the rich natural ingredients inherent in it. It helps in relieving stress and aids in giving a good night sleep. Also, it soothes and heals muscle cramps, helps to put the mind at a state of rest.
This is botanically known as Citrus Sinensis. It has great results when used by either adults or children. It is a great essential oil for relaxation as it helps to calm the mind, ease stress and put frustration at bay.
This essential oil has great benefits to heart health. It resolves issues such as palpitations of the heart, eases the body tension and helps to balance the hormones of the body. It also has high therapeutic effects to ensure that people sleep well at night after the stress of the day.
This essential oil is the key in boosting the immune system and it is also very important in handling issues that relate to menopause in women. It balances the hormones in the body and it is also good for mature skin and can be used for other forms of skin care. Generally, geranium calms the nerves and it uplifts and balances the body system.
Both historically and in line with ancient traditions, this oil has a rich background. Botanically known as Boswellia Carterii, this oil is quite soothing and calming. It is one of the best options in putting the body and soul at ease. This beautifully fragranced and richly endowed oil works against various forms of irritation and lack of sleep. As with most essential oils, it is also good for the body and helps to relieve the nerves when it is tense or exhausted. Frankincense is a good option and delivers high value to its users.
This mint based essential oil is also known botanically as Mentha Spicata. It is good for mental health and helps to put the emotional state of the user in the right frame. It also has great soothing effects and has curative properties. It is also good for use when you want a positive body stimulant especially after undergoing training periods or activities.
Premenstrual syndrome can sometimes lead to hormonal imbalance and this can lead to certain levels of discomfort to our nerves. Rose essential oil is very good for handling this issue. It is good on the nerves and also very calming and soothing to the skin. It is pertinent to note that some individuals have a uniquely sensitive skin and when this scenario arises, the best bet is to make use of rose essential oil.
While each of the oils above can be used alone, you may find that you enjoy blending them as well. You can experiment to find a blend that works best to help you relax and manage stress. Here are some ideas.
Calming Blend Blend these EOs in a small glass container, and then use the blend in one of the ways described at the bottom of this section.
- 4 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Geranium
- 2 drops Ylang Ylang
- 2 drops Sweet Orange (or Tangerine)
Deep Relaxation Blend Add these oils to a small glass container, and then use the blend in one of the ways described at the top of this page.
- 3 drops Lavender
- 3 drops Tangerine (or Sweet Orange)
- 1 drop Ylang Ylang
- 2 drops Patchouli
Ways to Use Essential Oils
- For massage, dilute 3-5 drops of the aromatherapy blend in an ounce of carrier oil (such as grapeseed or jojoba oil).
- For diffusion, use the blend (undiluted) in an electric nebulizer. For passive diffusion, place a few drops on a tissue or cotton ball and sniff.
- For the bath, use 1-4 drops of the blend mixed with 1/4-1/2 cup bath salts, or with 2 ounces of milk (not non-fat milk). A word of caution: especially without the milk, the oils can sit on top of the water rather than mixing in, allowing them to make undiluted contact with your skin. Do a “patch test” before using them in the bath, to make sure that the oils don’t irritate your skin. (And believe me, they can!)
Essential Oil Cautions
- Always keep EOs out of the reach of children. Do not use essential oils on children without discussing it first with their health care provider.
- If you are pregnant or nursing a baby, have heart disease, epilepsy, high blood pressure or diabetes, seek the advice of a health care professional before using any aromatherapy/essential oils.
- Skin test all oils before using. Apply a small amount to the skin on your inner arm. Do not use if redness or irritation occurs.
- Do not ingest, either straight or blended. They are not intended to be taken orally.
- Keep all aromatherapy products away from eyes and mucous membranes. If redness, burning, itching or irritation occur, stop using product immediately and consult your medical provider if self treatment is not effective. If irritation does occur, wash the area with mild soap, then apply vegetable oil, not water, to the affected area and dry.
- Citrus oils are photosensitizers. Stay out of the sun after using
Have a look at some of the most amazing essential oils out there.
I play about with my hair all the time, its like a frickin addiction, I love to go different colours, I know very little about being a hairdresser but I seem to think I am one on far too many occasions. I just love changing my look, however sometimes my hair doesn’t agree with me.
But I use oils on my hair to get my condition back and after a few weeks of AHHHHHHHHH I am never doing anything to my hair AGAIN…LIKE…EVERRRRRRRR….kind of like when people go out get drunk and get the fear the next day…That is how I feel sometimes when I see my bright orange hair, which was meant to be a chesnut red. After a few weeks of the oils and coconut oil my hair just gets back to normal.
(I heat up my oil for a luxurious hot oil treatment and add some of my fave oils)
Did you know that it’s surprisingly easy to improve the rate that your hair grows?
And naturally too!
Essential oils have been used in hair recipes for a long time – it’s not uncommon to find lavender, chamomile, rosemary, tea tree oil and many other essential oils in your natural shampoos and conditioners.
These oils, among others, are known to positively support the health of the scalp and fair follicles.
Below you’ll find the most recommended oils that you can use to improve your hair growth.
Cedarwood oil, while primarily used for treating dandruff, is a great tonic oil for overall hair health. It has a great reputation for preventing hair loss and promoting the growth of new hair. It is one of the first oils recommended for a person with hair loss. Just a drop on a bald spot will promote rapid new hair growth.
Ah.. Who doesn’t love chamomile? It is just so versatile!
Chamomile is an excellent calming and relaxing oil. It soothes inflammation and detoxes. These qualities make it a great addition to your hair regimen for increased hair growth.
Clary sage provides hormone balancing, relaxing qualities. It is beneficial for promoting hair growth, reducing hair loss, preventing dandruff and limiting oil buildup in hair by reducing sebum production.. It is an especially good oil for woman’s health – especially when it comes to reproductive health. It is regenerative to cells, hair and skin.
Cypress is included in many hair formulas for increased circulation and capillary strength. It is important to have good blood circulation to the follicles for optimal hair growth. Many regimens for treating hair loss include Ginko and other herbs specifically for increasing circulation in the scalp. Use at .5 – 1%
Ah.. Lavender. I’ve already said this about chamomile, but who doesn’t like this oil? It smells heavenly, is balancing, soothing, regenartive, anti-inflammatory and stress reducing. And while it’s great to put it right on your scalp, it is also good just to have around! Diffusing it is heavenly. And if you’re in need of some stress reduction, look to lavender. Limiting stress will definitely help your hair grow faster, too!
Ylang ylang – like lavender – is thought to reduce stress. Long used to increase the thickness of the hair shaft and to grow thicker hair. Ylang ylang can have a balancing effect on scalp oil production, and may help with split ends.
Now that we’ve covered a solid list of essential oils for hair growth, let’s talk about some specific recipes.
1.) EO Infused Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Apple cider vinegar is a fantastic natural tonic for hair. So let’s use it as a rinse and combine it with some essential oils!
3 drops of lavender, rosemary or bay
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
Add these ingredients to your final rinse water after you’ve shampoo’d and conditioned.
This rinse will help remove detergent residue and help you maintain a healthy acid equilibrium on your scalp.
Simple Rosemary Hair Growth Massage Oil
For this recipe you will need the following:
5ml drops jojoba or argan oil
8 drops rosemary EO
Combine your carrier oil with your rosemary essential oil using your fingertips rhythmically massage the oil into your scalp and roots.
Start from the front of your scalp then move to the sides and finally the back of your head.
Daily Coconut Rosemary Hair Growth Massage Oil Blend
I just love coconut oil and just cant get enough of the stuff..
This is a very similar blend to the one above, but uses coconut oil. And we’ll be making a bigger batch.
1 cup pure organic fractionated coconut oil
20 drops rosemary EO
Mix ingredients and combine in your coconut oil bottle or a 8 oz glass jar
Massage into scalp daily
Watch hair grow stronger, healthier and faster!
Additional (Non-Essential Oil Based) Natural Remedies for Hair Growth
If you don’t want to make your own then this little hair treatment from Neals Yard is amazing