Reflexology is the application of pressure to specific points and areas on the feet. This healing technique is based on the principle that there are energy zones that run throughout the body and reflex areas in the feet that correspond to all the major organs, glands and body parts.
Reflexology stimulates more than 7,000 nerves in the feet during a treatment, thereby encouraging the opening and clearing of neutral pathways. Every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and massage of the feet stimulates the corresponding part of the body so that receiving a reflexology massage is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.
According to "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology," people of any age or sex--the elderly, women, men, teenagers, children and babies--can derive positive benefits from reflexology. Here are a few.
Benefits of Reflexology
Stress Reduction - Who doesn't need this in their life? Reflexology divides the body into 4 elements - earth, fire, water and air, each element is related to a specific part of the foot. To reduce stress, reflexologists recommend focusing on the ball of the foot, which is associated with fire and emotions such as fear and anger. Specifically, check the small pea-shaped area beneath the ball of the foot, directly under the big toe. If you're not under stress, this area will feel like a small bag of sand; but if you are under heavy stress it may feel like a hard lump. Results do vary, but the soothing action of reflexology generally leaves the recipient feeling deeply relaxed and peaceful. (1)
Pain Reduction - Reflexologists believe that that illness is caused by blockages in the meridians or energy channels. These blockages inhibit the flow of life enhancing energy, also known as 'chi,' causing the accumulation of negative energy, resulting in pain or disease. The nerve endings in the feet are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing.
Ali Headeach, reflexologist from Margate, United Kingdom, says "The massage is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress reduced, so pain is also reduced." (1)
Improved Circulation - Massaging the adrenal reflex area of the feet can help to improve circulation. This reflex area may seem difficult to locate, but it is generally sore, tender or tight on most people (because most of us ask a lot of our adrenal glands).
With your foot placed on your opposite thigh, trace a line straight down towards your ankle from the inside of the big toe. The adrenal reflex zone is a little less than halfway down. Use thumb-walking on this area. Continue for two minutes, then repeat on the other foot. (2)
Reflexology is also said to omplement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis. (3)
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