Reflexology is a deeply relaxing and energising holistic therapy which treats the whole person rather than just the symptoms of a disorder. It is based on the principle that the body is divided into ten equal and vertical zones ending in the fingers and toes. The body is often in a state of imbalance, particularly after illness, injury or periods of stress, so that these vital energy pathways become blocked, preventing the body from functioning effectively.
The aim of reflexology is to release any blockages and restore the free flow of energy and blood circulation to the whole body. To achieve this, a specific massage technique is applied to reflex areas in the feet (and sometimes the hands) which correspond with tissues, organs and systems throughout the entire body. Stimulating these reflexes encourages the body to heal itself, restoring and maintaining natural equilibrium, as well as promoting relaxation and a general sense of well being.
Whether you suffer from insomnia, migraines, digestive problems or fatigue, the root of many health problems can be linked to stress. Stress can be damaging to the body and mind. Under the influence of prolonged stress, the body is less capable of fighting illness. Reflexology counteracts the effects of stress by promoting relaxation and bringing balance to the body.
Many factors can cause muscle tension, but whatever the source, when muscles become tense and over stressed, the energy in our body is thrown out of balance. The nerve pathways, which connect muscles to the rest of the body become congested. This can result in pain, fatigue, irritability or even more stress. Reflexology stimulates nerve endings in the feet to release the energy, and relax muscles.
All the body’s systems need good blood circulation in order to function well. Stress and tension tighten up the cardiovascular system and restricts blood flow, causing it to become sluggish, resulting in energy becoming depleted. Reflexology keeps the body’s circulation flowing smoothly, which rejuvenates it.
Detoxify and cleanse
When the lymphatic, urinary or intestinal systems become blocked due to a build up of toxins and waste. This may cause you to feel bloated, lethargic or even sick. Reflexology can release these blockages, helping your body to “let go” and eliminate toxins and waste, cleansing the body of all impurities.
Balance is vital for a healthy body, mind and spirit. To maintain a state of homeostasis, the body needs to run smoothly. When there is a malfunction in the body, it is thrown off balance. Reflexology is vital to sustain balance in every gland, organ, muscle, tissue and cell in the body, leaving all the systems of the body functioning fully, and in their natural equilibrium.
If you have been injured or are lacking energy, reflexology can help to restore balance and coax your body into healing itself.
Reflexology has been shown to be effective for:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Back pain
- Migraines, headaches
- Sleep disorders
- Digestive problems
- Circulatory problems
- Stress related disorders
- Respiratory problems such as asthma
- Period pain.
Reflexology during Pregnancy
Reflexology is an ideal form of treatment to prepare the body for pregnancy and birth and indeed to treat many general health conditions.
In pregnancy, your body will go through significant changes that will affect the emotional, hormonal and physiological balance of your body. Reflexology can help to alleviate discomfort arising from this imbalance and restore the body’s natural state of well-being.
Reflexology is a wonderful way of helping you through the myriad of changes of motherhood. It is, however, not recommended if there is a history of premature labour, severe hypertension, placenta praevia or recent vaginal bleeding. If you suspect any problems in your pregnancy it is important to contact your doctor or midwife.
Reflexology can be used for any of the following reasons during pregnancy:
- General relaxation
- Relief of stress and anxiety
- Increased energy levels
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Reduce heartburn
- Relieve backache
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Oedema (swelling, mainly of feet and ankles)
- Ligament and groin pain
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction
Reflexology and Labour
Research has shown that regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of very post mature babies (after 41 weeks) and shorten the duration of labour, with many women requiring less pain-relief. Other benefits include:
- Helping to initiate labour
- Providing some pain relief
- Co-ordination and acceleration of regular contractions
- Reducing the chance of a retained placenta.
Reflexology following birth
Reflexology can help to reduce postnatal problems for you and your baby. It is used to help with:
- Inadequate lactation
- Engorged breasts
- Urine retention
- Stress and anxiety problems
- Sleep problems
- Postnatal depression.