Has it ever dawned on you that the key to staying healthy may actually lie in your feet?
Do you know that you can find relief for physical pain and also for treating emotional problems such as anxiety simply by applying pressure to certain specific parts of your feet? At this point, you might have already heard of Reflexology, but maybe you have never thought of using it for your problems.
Reflexology dates back to ancient Egypt.
It is the technique of applying gentle pressure to reflex areas on the feet or hands to bring about a state of deep relaxation and to stimulate the body’s own healing processes. For many people who do not fancy the ‘traditional’ medicine and try not to take too many pharmaceuticals, reflexology has become the best way to cure lots of aches and pains without using any kind of chemical stuff.
According to the site drweil.com, “Reflexology (or foot reflexology) is a therapy based on the principle that there are small and specific areas of innervation in the hands and feet that correspond to specific muscle groups or organs of the body. In this system, the nerve endings in the extremities provide a “map” of the rest of the body. Examples are the base of the little toe representing the ear, or the ball of the foot representing the lung. Through the application of pressure on particular areas of the hands or feet, reflexology is said to promote benefits such as the relaxation of tension, improvement of circulation, and support of normalized function in the related area in the body.”
Reflexology is now available at most healthcare and wellness centres around the world. Although best administered by professionals, turns out there are simple ways you can use this effective technique at home on members of your family too – whatever their ages!
Reflexology is a safe, natural therapy for all ages that can boost energy, help the immune system and create a stronger body and calmer mind.
Plus, did you know that when you apply reflexology, you stimulate 7,000 nerves in the feet? This happens because the body is divided into ten longitudinal zones that provide a simple numbering sequence. Each toe falls into one zone and there are five zones in each foot – see diagram. Zones are distributed up the body like slices, and when you work on the feet you are automatically working through the whole body.
According to London School of Reflexology, however, there’s a step-by-step guide to this natural therapy that stimulates the body to heal itself.
Dr. Helena Reid tells WebMD, “If your feet aren’t healthy, it affects how you function and live your life.”
And while you might have heard that reflexology could be used to relieve pain, as with this incredible clothespin ear reflexology method, maybe you never realized that it could be good for healing many different parts of your body too.
WebMD’s Ellen Strum writes, “According to the tenets of reflexology, there are areas in the feet that correspond to glands, organs, parts, and systems of the body.”
All you have to do is massage each specific area of the soles of your feet in order to reap the benefits.
By massaging each area, and applying direct pressure with your fingers, you can relieve pain and promote health for specific organs, glands, and body parts. And you do this in a natural way, using a ‘language’ that your body understands more than pharmaceuticals, which normally have at least as many counter-indications as positive effects on the specific area of intervention.
The 12 benefits of reflexology
• Encourages the body to heal disorders
• Relieves the effects of stress
• Improves the immune system
• Assists post-operative recovery by decreasing pain and increasing healing
• Encourages better circulation
• Improves bowel movements
• Eliminates waste products from the body
• Relieves pain
• Clears the body of toxins
• Improves nerve stimulation
• Promotes general relaxation
• Creates stronger bonds with children
These simple foot massages can have a large impact on your pain levels and overall health.
So let’s see how reflexology works for each part of the body that ails you!
Image by Flickr
1. The Head
According to reflexology, the tips of the toes are directly connected to the head and the brain.
The theory underlying reflexology is that the organs, the nerves, glands and other parts of the body are connected to reflex points on the feet and hands. These areas are found on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, as well as on the top and sides of the feet and hands.
Massaging the bottoms of the toes can help with relieving headaches, and can have a positive effect on your overall brain health, including increased brain stimulation.
2. The Eyes
Eye health can include a wide variety of issues, including vision trouble, soreness, redness, and pain.
Massaging or applying pressure to the area of the foot that is right below the second and third toes can greatly benefit those suffering from eye troubles.
Zone therapy is the foundation of modern reflexology, whereby reflexologists apply pressure to, or massage-specific areas of the feet or hands stimulating circulation and nerve impulses to promote healing throughout the zones of the body.
Reflexologists report a direct correlation between this area of the foot and the eyes.
Another organ that can benefit from foot massage is the small intestine. Simply massage the area between the heel and the ball of the foot for improved digestion and a healthier intestinal tract. This may do wonders for those who suffer from severe gas or indigestion.
3. The Lungs
The lungs are said to be directly connected to the middle area of the balls of the feet.
Focusing on this area can be great for those suffering from asthma or are simply trying to improve their overall lung health.
The feet are most commonly worked on because practitioners feel they are normally more responsive to treatment than hands. As they contain a larger treatment area, the reflex points are easier to identify and the feet are more sensitive to treatment because they are usually covered by shoes.
4. The Lower Back
According to reflexology, there is a correlation between the heel and the sciatic nerve and lower back. For those who suffer from sciatica or chronic lower back pain, massaging the heels can help provide some much-needed relief.
5. The Neck
Neck aches and pains are extremely common. However, the connection between the neck and the area just below the big toe can go a long way to ease this pain and discomfort.
Within these zones, energy runs up and down between all parts of the body. This energy connection should be free-flowing so that all parts of the body – organs, muscles, nerves, glands and blood supply – work in harmony and at the optimum level for good health.
Simply massage this and the rest of these areas with your fingers to reap the 12 health benefits at the bottom.
6. The Heart
Heart health is something that should be taken very seriously. Anyone experiencing heart palpitations or chest pain should always see a doctor right away.
If there is a block of the body’s energy, it will have an effect on any organ or part of the body within that particular zone. If a reflexologist finds sensitivity in one spot of the feet or hands, this indicates an imbalance in the entire length of that zone.
That said, massaging this specific area on the right foot can promote heart health, and have long-term benefits for the circulatory system.
7. The Knees
The outside portion of each heel has a direct correlation to the knees.
Stress, tension, poor posture and badly fitting shoes (think of high heels for example!) all restrict blood flow, creating a sluggish circulatory and lymphatic system. This could mean an infection such as athlete’s foot or a foot or a leg ulcer may take weeks to clear.
Those suffering from knee soreness or chronic knee pain should try massaging this area to help alleviate some of the soreness.
8. The Stomach
While there are plenty of dietary adjustments you can make to help cut down on stomach problems, you can also use foot reflexology.
When blood flow or lymphatic circulation is poor, it is hard for oxygen-rich blood, nutrients and white blood cells to reach various areas of the foot to fight infection, digest germs and remove toxins. Regular reflexology can help to develop healthy feet as well as improve overall body circulation.
You can improve your digestive health by massaging the inside areas just below the balls of the feet. Like with the small intestine massage, this can be good for indigestion, bloating, or gas.
9. The Thyroid
Thyroid problems are quite common, but foot massages can be used to increase the overall health of the thyroid gland. Simply massage the inside portion of the balls of the feet in order to experience the maximum benefit for your thyroid.
10. The Liver
Reflexologists differ somewhat in the exact location that is best for the liver.
Some report that the middle outside of the right foot is best. Others say that the middle outside of both feet will work.
In any case, massaging this area of the foot can promote better liver function and keep the organ healthier.
As you can see, reflexology can be of great help in treating diseases of any kind in a natural way. Several studies indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as stress and anxiety, and enhance relaxation and sleep.
Given that reflexology is also low risk, it can be a reasonable option if you're seeking relaxation and stress relief.
Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.