Reflexology

Reflexology promotes relaxation and has been found to have direct mental health benefits such as improving mood and relieving stress.

At home, lymphatic massage stimulates both lymphatic and hormonal systems, improves sleep quality, relieves back pain and menstrual cramps, as well as decreases migraine headaches.

What Is Reflexology?

Reflexology involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet (and sometimes hands). Reflexology can be used to ease stress and pain relief, improve circulation, balance the nervous system and strengthen immunity.

Traditional acupuncture may promote natural healing processes of the body, alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms, alleviate chronic illness symptoms, improve sleep and digestion and promote relaxation and healing for various health conditions.  It has become a popular alternative therapy but research into its efficacy remains limited.

Reflexologists use various techniques, including kneading, brushing and stroking, to manipulate pressure points in the feet to release tension and provide therapeutic benefits. Reflexologists generally apply firm yet gentle pressure on heels, soles and arch areas. Reflexologists in the United States must be certified by the American Reflexology Certification Board.

People of all ages and walks of life find relief through reflexology services. Some seek general stress relief while others require specific treatments for specific issues such as foot pain, headaches, back issues, menstrual problems, injury recovery or pregnancy support. Reflexologists work holistically with clients rather than making any claims to diagnose or treat specific illnesses.

Reflexology sessions take place in an intimate and relaxing setting. Clients typically sit comfortably reclining chairs while remaining fully clothed throughout. Sessions usually last about an hour.

Reflexology may not be appropriate for people suffering from open wounds, inflamed feet or serious circulatory conditions.  However, it can provide an invaluable therapeutic supplement and opportunity to relax between medical appointments.

Water should be consumed after receiving reflexology in order to flush away excess toxins and waste released during treatment, and to replenish energy levels. Alcohol and caffeine should also be avoided after receiving reflexology as these may interfere with your body’s natural relaxation response and make reaping full benefits more difficult.  For some individuals, a single session may suffice in inducing deep relaxation and an overall sense of well-being.

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexology works by stimulating nerve impulses in the feet to unblock energy meridians similar to how acupuncture does, relieving pain and stress while increasing relaxation and increasing blood flow for better circulation within the body. Reflexology may help relieve these conditions as well.

Reflexology works through several mechanisms that aren’t fully understood.  One theory suggests it stimulates the brain to release natural painkillers called neurotransmitters.  It may also relieve stress by decreasing heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.  Finally, it may stimulate lymphatic systems to assist with detoxifying your body of any unwanted substances.

Foot Reflexology involves working the soles and heels of the feet. Most sessions last about 50 minutes while you remain fully clothed. A trained reflexologist will ask questions to gain an idea of your health status and eating habits before applying gentle pressure to specific areas or massaging all over. They should never apply too much force.  It is recommended that any discomfort be communicated directly to them so as they may adjust it if necessary.

Reflexology treatments may also be performed on hands instead of feet, which is more suitable for some individuals, particularly those who feel self-conscious having their feet touched, or cannot reach them due to disability. Hand reflexology also makes receiving this therapy simpler for people with mobility issues as they can sit in a chair while the practitioner works on their hands.

Reflexology can benefit virtually anyone, though pregnant women should exercise caution with this and any form of therapeudic treatment. Furthermore, reflexology should be avoided by those under severe emotional or physical strain or have open wounds on their feet.

Benefits Of Reflexology

Reflexology can assist in many ways to promote good health. By stimulating the brain and improving circulation, reflexology helps stimulate positive changes. Furthermore, it eases pain, stress and anxiety relief.

Reflexology sessions typically last 30-60 minutes and include soothing music, dim lighting and sometimes aromatherapy. Your therapist will ask about your health and lifestyle, before selecting which parts of your body they will work on during that session.

Reflexology theory postulates that various points on hands, ears and feet correspond with regions of the body; applying pressure to these points has various health benefits.  Reflexology could reduce stress on heart and blood vessels as well as aid depression and insomnia symptoms.

Reflexology can also reduce migraine and stress-induced headaches by encouraging relaxation, decreasing stress levels and increasing blood flow to the head. For example, massaging the reflex point on one foot that corresponds with stress response systems can help relax both body and mind.

Reflexology can also assist cancer patients in combatting fatigue and sleep issues associated with cancer treatments, while strengthening immunity and speeding healing after surgeries or medical procedures such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or cardiac catheterization procedures.

Reflexology works to increase the body’s natural flow of vital energy known as “qi,” helping with various conditions such as chronic back pain, cancer treatment side effects, and even some digestive disorders.

While reflexology has been associated with many health benefits, more research needs to be conducted before definitive claims can be made for it. Before beginning with reflexology treatments it is advisable to speak to your physician first if you are sick or taking medications.  Alcohol consumption before and after sessions could compromise its efficacy as therapy.

How to Get a Reflexology Session

On your initial session, your reflexologist will spend between 45-60 minutes discussing your general health, diet, and lifestyle. Being open and honest during this discussion is important so they can develop an accurate picture of any potential discomfort-inducing underlying problems; this ensures reflexology will be safe for you to receive.

After your consultation, you will remove your shoes and sit on a treatment bed or recline in a chair (depending on where the practitioner is working). Your therapist will play soothing music or light candles or oils to create an ambience of relaxation; feel free to close your eyes or engage with them; it is up to you whether or not you choose this approach.  The key thing is allowing yourself to fully unwind and experience reflexology!

Reflexologists use a foot chart to locate pressure points on your feet which correspond with different parts of your body and then apply the appropriate pressure in order to achieve results. Your reflexologist may also choose to work on your hands and ears depending on your particular needs.

Everyone’s experience of reflexology differs, but most often patients report experiencing feelings of “lightness” or tingling throughout the body, along with warmth and an energy flowing to where pressure was applied by their therapist. Some individuals even report experiencing emotions such as sadness, joy, anger or fear during this process.  These reactions are normal responses which indicate your body has begun releasing toxins and healing itself.

Following a reflexology session, it is advised to drink lots of water as this will flush out toxins released during your session and allow your body to fully benefit from treatment. After resting or sleeping for the remainder of the day, or at least resting during the next 24 hours afterward. For optimal results it’s recommended that regular reflexology sessions take place once or twice every week.

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