The art of reflexology involves using pressure points on the hands and feet in order to stimulate systems and organs throughout the body. Practitioners of reflexology claim that they’re able to successfully treat a wide range of illnesses by simply manipulating pressure points in these areas. Basically, practitioners believe that reflexology can clear blockages that hinder or prevent the flow of the body’s life force. Once these blockages are cleared, healing follows.
Key Takeaway: In the right hands, reflexology can be a very effective holistic treatment. It’s a popular holistic practice that offers many health benefits including improved circulation, migraine relief, a natural way to boost energy, and more.
Before you make an appointment, do your research and find a reputable reflexology practitioner who has experience with this specific area in holistic medicine.
Continue reading to learn more about the positive effects of reflexology.
What is Reflexology?
Practitioners of reflexology believe that before mankind began wearing shoes, men and women developed natural stimulus points from the ground with their feet. Walking around barefoot allowed people to get that stimulus designed to relieve stress. Because we wear shoes, we can no longer get that type of natural stimuli. Reflexology is designed to mimic that type of stimuli, providing pressure to specific points where stress is commonly placed.
Studies have shown that reflexology can work to naturally treat anxiety, stress, depression, and sleep issues. For some, reflexology can also help to naturally alleviate pain. This technique is a sort of deep tissue massage. During a reflexology massage, all of the important reflex points are hit, which can instantly reduce pain and cause a flood of endorphins.
This type of holistic practice can be especially important for people who regularly wear high heels. High heels can compress the calves. As those muscles become tight from being held in a tense position, reflexology massages can instantly help to loosen tight muscles and knots in these areas, while warming up the tissue and reducing pressure in the calf, foot, and heel.
Other benefits include reflexology’s ability to increase energy, stimulate nerve function, eliminate toxins, promote deep states of relaxation, and improve circulation. Reflexology is commonly used because of its ability to stimulate the central nervous system.
This kind of technique is also known to speed up the recovery time after a surgery, tough workout, or injury. It can help individuals who are struggling with sleep disorders, chronic migraines, and urinary tract infections.
It can also be used to treat different types of cancer and can help relieve ongoing pain in pregnant women.
How Reflexology Can Help
Whether you have a job that’s physically demanding or a desk job, the odds are you place a lot of stress on your feet each day. Stress can manifest in any part of the body, especially the feet. Because of this, it makes sense a person usually feels very relaxed and refreshed after a foot rub.
But reflexology is more than just a foot massage. It also incorporates the ears, and hands and is best described as a holistic practice.
Reflexology is a type of holistic massage that can be used to treat a variety of conditions. It has commonly been used in China and Egypt for thousands of years and it involves the practitioner applying a certain amount of pressure to specific reflex areas of the body.
Holistic practitioners believe that there are certain areas of the body that can be managed or adjusted through these zones. The theory behind reflexology has to do with aligning the qi. Reflexology isn’t widely accepted in the medical field, yet there are still thousands of medical professionals all over the world who have used reflexology techniques with impressive results.
Practitioners strongly believe that there are many health benefits linked to regular reflexology treatment including increased energy levels, improved nerve function, and improved circulation.
As we grow older, the nerve endings tend to become less and less sensitive in many parts of the body, especially the extremities. Reflexology is said to be able to stimulate over seven thousand nerve endings in just one session. The result is an increase in nerve reaction and function. Cleaning and opening the neural pathways will help to improve their flexibility and functionality in several areas of the body. Neural pathways are believed to be just like muscles. The more you work on them, the sharper and more responsive they’ll be.
A Natural Increase in Energy
By improving the function of various muscle systems and organs, reflexology can also give your metabolism a boost. Additionally, reflexology promotes energy creation processes within the body. A reflexology session can be very beneficial if you struggle to get through the day, feel sluggish and in need of a natural boost in energy.
Improved circulation is one of the most well-known benefits of reflexology. Improved circulation means that oxygen and blood are being circulated more efficiently, resulting in an increased amount of oxygen reaching vital organs. This increase in oxygen optimizes organ function and also results in a faster healing time.
As we briefly mentioned earlier, reflexology opens neural pathways. This type of free flowing neural activity can promote relaxation, inducing a state of calmness throughout both the body and mind. Because of this, it’s also believed that reflexology can help people who suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Left foot reflexology has been shown to reduce urinary tract infections and improve bladder function. This allows the body to eliminate toxins in the body more efficiently, working to protect the body from a variety of health conditions and diseases that can typically arise when the urinary system’s function is compromised.
These newly opened neural pathways can also benefit the central nervous system in many ways. Not only will the open neural pathways cause the brain to handle input more effectively it will also help to improve cognition, boosting memory.
Reflexology is mainly used as a natural way to manage pain. This analgesic treatment can reduce the severity of a headache or a migraine by reducing the tension in muscles. Headaches that are induced by stress can also be eliminated because reflexology promotes both body and mind relaxation.
Faster Healing Time
The increase in nerve activity, combined with improved circulation promotes faster cell re-growth. And the result? A faster recovery time.
How Reflexology Minimizes Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Reflexology isn’t used as an alternative cancer treatment. It cannot cure cancer, however, it can help to minimize many of the side effects associated with certain cancer treatments, including chemotherapy. Reflexology can naturally help reduce anxiety, nausea, body aches, and headaches. Reflexology’s ability to increase circulation and clear neural channels can also stimulate antioxidant activity to destroy cancer cells and can even slow down the spread of cancer.
Pain Relief During Pregnancy
Some studies have shown that regular massage during pregnancy can be very beneficial, especially when it comes to pain relief. Reflexology can help with pain management during pregnancy and can also help to reduce a woman’s risk of postpartum depression after pregnancy.
A Reflexology Alternative
If you can’t afford a weekly reflexology massage, shopping for a massage chair can be a great option. While the initial cost is definitely higher, over time, the chair will quickly pay for itself and can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year. If you want to experience some of the same benefits as you would with a reflexology massage, look for a chair that provides a total body massage, such as the Osaki Japan Premium massage chair. This chair works the upper and lower body and is very customizable. Use the chair for your daily massage and see your favorite local reflexology practitioner one to two times a month.
To learn more about leading models of massage chairs and the features they have to offer, click here to read our massage chair buyer’s guide.
Treatment frequency will ultimately depend on the cause of treatment. As an example, if you suffer from more than one migraine a week, a practitioner may recommend two to three sessions weekly. If you’re dealing with chronic back pain, most practitioners will recommend one session a week. The frequency in which treatment is needed will vary from person to person.
Unfortunately, most health insurance companies do not cover the cost of a reflexology session, so you will have to pay for the treatment out of pocket.
After a Reflexology Session
You may experience a variety of reactions after a reflexology session. These reactions are often subtle and those new to reflexology may not even notice them. Many of these reactions are considered positive signs that the treatment is working. These reactions are often thought of as part of the healing process. Reactions can include sleepiness, a boost in energy, mild soreness, improved mental clarity, and a reduction in pain. Since every person is different, it can be hard to determine what type of reaction you might experience, if any.