Reflexology is an ancient healing technique that has become increasingly popular in today’s healthcare, with many individuals opting for a more holistic approach concerning their overall well-being.
While the option to receive treatment from a licensed reflexologist is more available than ever before, this healing technique is unique in that, with a bit of research, you can perform reflexology on yourself relatively easily!
In this article, we will provide a brief overview explaining the theory and mechanisms behind reflexology. Following the explanation, we will break down a few techniques you can perform on your own hands and feet to alleviate several common discomforts.
Reflexology bases its overall approach on the theory that specific locations on the hands, feet and ears contain pressure points that are linked to various internal organs and body parts.
By applying manual pressure to these points, reflexology attempts to alleviate a wide array of ailments affecting the corresponding locations.
This can result in improved cognitive function and nerve function. The brain and nerves are also stimulated, which helps keep them functioning well.
Practitioners of reflexology believe that pain and disease are results of a blockage in the life-enhancing energy in the body. The stimulation of the nerve endings sends an activating message to the central nervous system to trigger the onset of self-healing in the target zone.
Reflexology For Your Feet
The utilization of reflexology on the feet has been supported by several research studies concluding that this technique is beneficial among individuals suffering from various health conditions.
For example, one study conducted at Inje University concluded that, compared to a control group, women who performed self-reflexology treatment on their feet for a period of 6 weeks were found to have lower systolic blood pressure, lower reported level of depression and a decrease in their perceived stress levels!
Before targeting any specific area on your feet, it is important to begin by getting the whole foot moving and inviting more blood flow to the area. To achieve this, rotate both ankles in a circular motion for a minute or so. Next, use your fingers to briefly massage the entirety of both feet.
For headache relief, the go-to pressure points located on the feet are found on the 2-5th toes. To stimulate the connection to the head, begin by applying direct, static pressure to the area for around one minute.
Afterwards, slowly begin to knead the area while maintaining consistent pressure for another minute. For stimulation of all pressure points, repeat this process on each of the aforementioned toes.
If you are looking to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, there is a location on both feet believed to calm down the adrenal glands. In the anxious individual, these glands are often over stimulated, raising adrenaline levels in the body.
To perform this treatment, perform the same pressure sequence we previously discussed on the inside edge of both feet, just below the knuckle of the big toe.
An important point to note is that the left and right feet thought to be linked to their respective sides of the body. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms like a headache on only one side of your body, it may be beneficial to focus your treatment on the foot that correlates to that side.
Reflexology For Your Hands
The hands are another location that have been the subject of numerous studies supporting the benefits of reflexology. One such study, performed in 2017, reported a significantly lower reported level of anxiety in patients receiving reflexology to their hands before undergoing a specific cardiac procedure when compared to a control group.
Before beginning hand reflexology on a specific location, a quick warm up similar to the one discussed regarding the feet should be performed.
For relief of menstrual pain and cramping, there is a point located directly at the intersection of the thumb and first finger believed to be able to alleviate these symptoms.
To effectively stimulate this location, apply a firm pressure, just before uncomfortable, for about 5 minutes on either hand.
Hand reflexology has also been reported to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with Nausea. To find this pressure point, begin by turning your palms face up. Starting at the inside line of your wrist, work your way about one inch up the arm.
Using the same pressure discussed for menstrual pain, focus on this area for 3-5 minutes bilaterally.
Other Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology provides many health benefits to those who use this treatment for healing, and here are a few more reasons to give it a try.
Provides Relaxation and Feelings of Increased Energy
Reflexology induces calmness in the mind and body, promoting a feeling of total relaxation. Patients who suffer from chronic stress, or who have sleep problems, find reflexology very beneficial.
When the body is balanced, vital processes are improved. When the body is spending less energy fighting ill-health, vitality is enhanced, which in turn gives your energy levels a boost. The more sessions you take, the less tired you will be and the more alive you will feel.
Improves Blood Flow and Circulation
The process of applying pressure to nerve endings helps in improving blood flow and circulation throughout the body. This will lead to an increase in the volume of oxygenated blood being delivered to vital organs. This helps the organs to function as they should, which helps overcome sluggishness and boosts the metabolic process. Improved circulation also triggers faster growth and healing of damaged cells.
Although reflexology doesn’t claim to have the ability to cure any disease, improved blood circulation can assist in many areas. An example is helping cancer patients. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may cause cancer patients to suffer from several side effects, including digestive problems, anxiety and vomiting. Reflexology has been found to be effective in reducing some of these associated side effects.
Along with the increased blood flow and circulation that reflexology brings, these symptoms can be reduced while antioxidant activity in the body is improved. This is one reason why some reports claim that reflexology is beneficial for slowing the progression of cancer.
Improved Bladder Function
Reflexology has also been shown to improve bladder functioning. This helps the body eliminate toxins from the body and reduces the risk of urinary problems, such as urinary tract infections.
This therapy is aimed at helping individuals restore balance in their body functioning and systems throughout their entire body. The stated benefits will not surprise those people who undergo regular reflexology sessions, as they will very likely have experienced improved health as a result.
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