Reflexology – It just works!

Today I had a lovely conversation with a client who asked me the million dollar question … “So how does reflexology really work?”

I took a deep breath and lined up all my reasons and proof and rattled them off passionately to her. To which she replied, “Oh, Ok. Well, I don’t care anyway because I love it and as I far as I am concerned it just works!” Yes, that’s right …Reflexology just works.

Reflexology is an excellent complementary therapy that is based on the principle that the entire human body is mapped out on the feet and hands. 

The dictionary definition of a “Reflex” is “an involuntary or instinctive movement in response to a stimulus” or in the sense of reflection or mirror image.

There are specific areas of the feet and hands which reflect different organs and systems of the body. Working these reflexes by the application of pressure through different techniques provides relaxation and brings the body back into a state of homeostasis by stimulating the body’s natural healing process. This ancient art originated from the Chinese and Eastern traditions and has expanded over time and now being practiced in complementary health care clinics, hospitals and nursing homes all over the world.

Reflexology is a well-established holistic therapy which treats the mind and body as a whole to achieve a state of general well-being. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing and harmonizing the body.

A single session of reflexology can have a marvelous effect on one's well-being and deeply enhance physical, emotional and mental health. Reflexology has also been known to reduce:

  • Stress 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PMT 
  • Constipation 
  • Fatigue 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Improve digestion 
  • Increase mental clarity 
  • Improve circulation

During a reflexology session, a state of deep relaxation is created in the body, interrupting the pattern of stress and bringing balance to the body and its systems where there is an imbalance.

Not everyone believes that reflexology just works. Several documented research studies have taken place in the US and around the world which conclude the positive effects of reflexology.

  • Anxiety – Williamson et al (2002) found that both reflexology and foot massage reduced anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women.
  • Cancer Treatment – In a controlled study with 87 patients, Hodgson (2000) found 100% improvement in the reflexology group in quality of life categories of appearance, appetite, breathing, communication (with doctors, family, nurses), concentration, constipation/diarrhoea, fear of future, isolation, mobility, mood, nausea, pain, sleep/tiredness. The placebo group reported 67.6% improvement in these categories.
  • Migraine/Tension Headache Brendstrup & Launse (1997) conducted a study in which 78 reflexologists treated 220 patients, the majority of whom had moderate to severe headache symptoms. Three months after completing a reflexology session, 65% of patients reported that reflexology helped with symptoms, 19% stopped taking headache medications, and 16% stated that reflexology was a “cure.”
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Oleson & Flocco (1993) conducted a randomized, controlled study with 35 women with 38 premenstrual symptoms. The women recorded their symptoms on a 4-point scale in a daily diary. Symptoms were recorded for two months before reflexology therapy, two months during, and two months after. Results showed that 46% of the women had improved symptoms (such as less anxiety, depression, fatigue, or difficulty sleeping) with reflexology alone.

One of my friends made a comment the other day how her feet were always sore. This made me realize something. Our feet are far too often neglected and abused by wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes. Reflexology or not there are so many reasons why we should be taking better care of our feet. We owe it to ourselves.

Our feet are our basic foundation, they ground us to the earth and are our connection to its energy, and they are the bearer of all our weight. Maintaining a solid connection with the earth helps to keep us grounded which helps to balance the whole body. It is important to pay close attention to our feet and care for them properly to keep our connection to the earth clear and strong. 

Do we really pay enough attention to our feet? I certainly didn’t until I started studying reflexology. I convinced myself that a monthly deluxe pedicure at the local day spa was enough when in fact my feet were so badly neglected and sore. In many ways, the state of my feet were actually very accurate reflections of my life. There was a time in my life where I did not really care about myself or my body. This is no longer the case. Reflexology has become a valuable tool for me. It complements all other areas of personal growth. It has become a real asset in my life and the lives of people I work with. It has helped me value myself and my body more than I ever have. Reflexology to me is a truly wonderful approach to health. I’ve seen it change lives. It certainly changed mine. Profoundly.

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