Reflexology uses pressure instead of needles to activate specific points using hands, thumbs, or finger techniques. It is a 4,000-year-old healing art that promotes better circulation, relieves existing pain and helps the bodily systems to work accordingly. Furthermore, it can help soothe the pains during pregnancy and ease the treatment of various cancers.
Also known as acupressure and zone therapy, reflexology enhances the healing mechanisms of the body by applying pressure to certain points on the feet, hands, and ears. It is an alternative treatment for numerous health conditions like sleep disorders, depression, pain and more. So if you are experiencing any pain due to stress or standing on your feet for extended hours, try to have your feet massaged before bed.
Benefits of Reflexology
Many of us spend long hours on our feet every day. Whether you work in a factory, an office, a field, a hospital or anything in between, you put a lot of weight and pressure on your feet daily. Getting a foot massage from your partner, family member or a professional is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body. Let us take a look at numerous benefits of reflexology.
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1. Relieves Pains and Aches
One of the benefits of reflexology is its ability to treat different types of aches and pains, such as neck pain, migraines, headaches, and upper and lower backaches. It relieves tension in the muscles that may often lead to these conditions. Headaches occurring due to stress can also be alleviated with foot massages.
According to a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health Medicine in 1999, 220 patients were treated by reflexologists. 81% of the patients have reported that their treatments helped or completely cured their headache issues after just three months. The massage treatment improved patients’ general well-being, ability to understand the causes of headache, ability to interpret body signals, and increased energy levels.
2. Nerve Function
Reflexology has been known to stimulate more than 7,000 different nervous endings. As our bodies age, these nerve endings become less sensitive. Having a foot reflexology can improve the function and reactivity of nervous endings, especially in our lower extremities.
Reflexology also opens and cleans out neural pathways of various areas around the body. It is important to activate neural pathways to improve the manner of conveying information from the nervous system to the brain.
3. Fights Anxiety and Depression
Serotonin, a hormone released by neurons in the brain, promotes happiness. Low levels of this hormone may result in bad mood and depression. Massaging the top of your toes can enhance the production of serotonin. The adrenal, hypothalamic, pineal and pituitary glands also play a role in emotions, including depression. Stimulating these reflex points by massaging the feet for a few minutes three times a day may help in relieving the condition. It is also effective in alleviating anxiety and stress.
4. Improves Circulation
One of the benefits of reflexology is an improvement in blood flow throughout the body. This means that blood and oxygen are transported through all areas more efficiently. Gently stroking the finger, hands, and feet will significantly enhance circulation to vital organs. The bodily systems function even better as more oxygen is cycled. This also increases metabolism and results in faster regrowth and healing of damaged cells. A foot reflexology massage before going to bed can enhance blood flow in lower extremities.
5. Makes Feet Healthier
You can keep your feet healthier with reflexology. It stimulates the muscles, reduces pain in the ankles and heels, and alleviates stiffness. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your feet free from all types of foot problems, such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, as well as toenail fungus.
A 5-minute foot massage every day can keep your ankles flexible and strong. This, in turn, will prevent unpleasant injuries. Massaging your feet with warm coconut or olive oil provides relief from inflammation and pain resulting from foot tendonitis. It is also an effective natural treatment for heel spurs.
6. Relaxation and Better Sleep
After a long working day, particularly after a day of standing, walking and running around, the best way to relax is to have a foot massage. As mentioned before, reflexology can open neural pathways and results in a more relaxed condition in the body. This reduces stress levels, triggering a state of calm throughout your mind and body.
Foot massage before going to bed also induces sleep. Reflexology is commonly applied to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia. Fortunately, applying pressure on certain points help the body and nerves relax while improving blood circulation.
7. Reduces PMS and Menopause Symptoms
Most women suffer from irritability, dysmenorrhea, bloating, headaches, fatigue, insomnia and mood swings during PMS or premenstrual syndrome. These symptoms can be alleviated with daily massage. Reflexology is also useful for reducing menopause symptoms like depression and hot flashes.
To treat the symptoms of PMS and menopause, the target point, known as Grandfather Grandson point, is located on the inner foot, where your big toe meets your foot. Apply gentle and firm pressure with warm oil for a few minutes to manage the symptoms.
8. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension affects millions of people around the world and causes kidney disease, strokes and cardiovascular diseases. Reflexology has been found to lower systolic blood pressure and triglyceride effectively.
If you or someone you know has high blood pressure, massage the solar plexus reflex point. This point can be easily located by squeezing each side of the foot. The visible hallow that forms is where the reflex point is. Press this for a few seconds with your thumb. Follow this treatment twice a week to lower blood pressure, prevent anxiety and enhance mood.
9. Cancer Relief
While reflexology does not directly cure cancer, it can provide relief from the side effects of various cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Daily massage can also help patients to sleep better, lower the chances of vomiting and other digestive problem and reduce anxiety. Reflexology is also known to increase blood flow and clear neural pathways, which may help to stimulate antioxidant activity and slow the spread of cancer.
Excessive processed foods, additives and pollution increases the levels of toxins in our bodies and impedes the proper functions of vital organs resulting in aches, fever, pains, and fatigue. One of the best ways to eliminate toxins from the body is reflexology.
It has been shown that reflexology can improve the function of the bladder, making it more efficient in eliminating toxins and other unwanted substances. This lowers the risk of urinary tract infections and other health diseases.
Note: Most people can benefit from reflexology and regular massage. However, avoid massage if there are open or healing wounds on the area, fractures, burns and chronic osteoporosis.
Amanda Roberts is a professional blogger and a podiatry student. She is an enthusiast who loves to write on several niches, particularly in foot health, including plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus, foot massage and reflexology. Read more about her blog posts on foot health at Feet Remedies. You can follow her on Facebook.