The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are certain points or “reflex areas” on the feet and hands that are connected energetically to specific organs and body parts through energy channels in the body.
By applying pressure to reflex areas, a reflexologist is said to remove energy blockages and promote health in the related body area. Here are some examples of reflex areas and their corresponding body parts:
The tips of the toes reflect the head
The heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
The liver, pancreas, and kidney are in the arch of the foot
Low back and intestines are towards the heel
Although the roots of reflexology go back to ancient Egypt and China, William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed the zone theory in the 1930s into what is known as modern reflexology.
According to reflexologists, pressure on the reflex points also helps to balance the nervous system and stimulates the release of endorphins that help to reduce pain and stress.
Why Do People Get Reflexology?
People have used reflexology to address these conditions:
Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care. A 2015 review published in Integrative Cancer Therapies found that reflexology massage was more effective for the relief of cancer pain and surgery-related pain than body massage or aromatherapy massage.
Improves blood circulation:
Due to a sedentary lifestyle, many people don’t use their feet muscles properly, thus impeding good blood flow. Also, tight, pointed shoes–especially high heels–hinder circulation. Ten minutes of foot massage daily helps in transporting oxygen to the body’s cells, which is essential for overall health.
Helps in relaxation:
After a tiring and stressful day, a foot massage is a soothing and relaxing way to relax, particularly after a long day of standing and walking around, as the feet tend to swell up. Massage and reflexology of 5 to 10 minutes before going to bed can improve feelings of general well-being.
Promotes better sleep:
The best time to do foot massage is before going to bed. A soothing and relaxing foot massage improves the blood circulation. This helps in getting a peaceful sleep.
Relieves body pains:
This is the best part of reflexology. If done carefully, it treats pains and aches such as headaches, migraines, neck pain, lower and upper backaches.
Improves mood and fights depression:
Foot massage and reflexology helps in fighting depression. Certain points on the feet are helpful in alleviating depression symptoms. Massaging these points or applying pressure to them for a few minutes 2 or 3 times a day can help relieve symptoms of depression.
Makes feet healthier:
One easy way to help keep your feet healthy and free from foot problems is a regular foot massage. It helps stimulate the muscles around your feet, lessens stiffness and even reduces pain in the ankles or the heels. Plus, a short 5-minute foot massage daily will make your ankles strong and flexible, thus preventing unpleasant ankle and foot injuries.
Alleviates swelling (edema)
Regular foot massage during pregnancy can help reduce the effects of edema, which is swelling in the feet and ankles due to fluid retention. This is very common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester.
ExtraTip: It has been found that massaging your feet with warm olive oil or coconut oil can give much relief from the pain and inflammation caused by foot tendonitis.
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