The Benefits of Reflexology For Stress and Sleep Are Too Good to Be True
Reflexology is a simple technique that you can practice and tailor to your body. There are virtually no risks, and the wide ranging health benefits of reflexology might be the thing you need to help your body function on a higher level.
- Reflexology is a pressure point technique that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
- Reflexology has been shown to have huge health benefits, including pain relief and improving nerve function.
- You can practice reflexology at home to reap the benefits.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a form of healing that involves applying pressure or massaging certain places on the feet and hands to improve the health of other regions of the body. Each pressure point on the feet and hands functions as a sensor and is connected to a certain region of the body. By using the reflexology technique, these sensors will be stimulated in order to increase blood and energy circulation, provide a sense of relaxation, and maintain homoeostasis.
It is also believed that by pushing and rubbing these areas, the body's energy pathways can be stimulated. If any energy lines are clogged, reflexology seeks to clear them, allowing energy to flow freely again and restoring body equilibrium. A lot of the idea behind reflexology is around aligning your qi, but even if you're not a big fan of this ideology, there are plenty of studies that back up reflexologists' health claims.
Although reflexology is not commonly recognized in the Western medical community, thousands of doctors around the world have been utilizing it for generations dating back to Ancient Egypt with positive results.
Benefits of reflexology
Most people use reflexology to help their health issues because of its high level of safety and effectiveness. It also provides natural treatment without the need of medications and is simple to use working similarly to acupressure and acupuncture. Benefits of reflexology may include its capacity to enhance nerve functioning, increase energy levels, promote circulation, and more. These benefits of reflexology have been backed by clinical studies:
- Its ability to reduce pain.
- Anxiety relieving
- Its ability to maintain the dexterity and locomotion ability in the body.
- The effect of providing relaxation especially in overused or tired hands, feet, and the various body parts.
- A preventative measure from any illness.
- Its ability to speed up recovery time
Do It Yourself
While going to see a reflexologist is an option, another of the benefits of reflexology are that it can be practiced at home. If you are looking to learn how to correctly practice reflexology, there are many courses that exist that go in depth to pressure points and physiology. When imagining a reflexology session you might picture a terrible tickling sensation on your feet, however, this therapy is firm but soothing. Since the reflex sites on the hands are a little more difficult to detect, it is recommended to begin by practicing on your feet.
To assist you in getting the exact reflex sites, begin with finding a clear foot chart (here's one from the Association of Reflexologists. You should use firm but not abrasive pressure and mild but not feathery ticklish movements. Many schools instruct you to apply talc or a mild cream that absorbs fast. You may also use an oil, but remember to apply it carefully otherwise it will be difficult to stay over pressure points. Tender, sensitive, or crunchy feelings on the foot, according to your reflexologist, can signal that one part of your body is out of balance.
The first step is to relax your feet before you begin. Warm up your hands, and if you're using a light cream, lotion, or oil, warm that up as well. Make yourself comfortable in a reclined position, the feet should be elevated and easily accessible so you can see your soles. Also make sure your back, neck, and legs are also well supported. Now you are ready to begin:
- Wrap the foot you aren't working with in a warm blanket once your hands and oil have warmed up.
- Take the second foot in your hands and gaze at the sole, supporting the heel with your hand to keep the foot upright. Take note of any hard skin patches or color changes, since these may suggest reflex spots — for example, hard skin over the ball of the foot (lung reflex) indicates lung congestion (often found in a smoker).
- Then, take a tiny bit of oil, rub your hands together, and massage it into your foot to soften the skin but not make it slippery!
- Start working up the spinal reflex by inching your thumb up from the heel along the inside bridge of the foot in little caterpillar motions.
The nerves for the back correspond to the inner line of the foot. i.e. at the heel is the lower spine, mid is the middle, and near the big toe is rising up into the neck area – it is pretty obvious where tension in the back is present.
The shoulder reflex is another easily identifiable location that frequently retains tension and congestion in the associated muscle fibers. In a triangular zone on the sole of the foot, work your thumb up into the area between the border of the foot and the gap between the next toe – in between the little toe and down. When the shoulders are stiff or tense, this might feel clogged, and the congestion is reflected by tiny little crystalline deposits on the shoulder reflex point.
Neck tension is a common cause of headaches. After you've worked on the shoulder muscles, work along the back of the big toe, which represents the neck muscles, then softly circle the big toe to the left and then to the right. Imagine your big toe is your head.
Written by Kiana St. Onge