Just about everyone loves a good foot rub. It can make a long, rough day seem to fade away.
Reflexology is the ultimate foot rub that can treat illness and pain by applying pressure to certain points on your foot. It is based on the principle that there are areas on the feet, hands and ears connected through the nervous system to corresponding parts of the body.
When pressure is applied to these areas, it stimulates energy along the nerve channels and helps to restore balance in the body.
Each of the 7,000 nerve endings in the human foot is a reflex point that corresponds to a body part. Reflexologists use special finger and thumb manipulations to stimulate these reflex points and know exactly what area of the foot corresponds to which body part.
The idea is that all the body’s organs, glands and joints are reflected in the feet and applying pressure to these points stimulates the body’s natural healing processes.
Reflexology can help with arthritis, migraines, PMS, fertility issues and even ease the stress of chemotherapy. One study found that ovary and uterus reflexes can be helped by manipulating the sides of the heel and can correct the imbalances that can hamper pregnancy.
Research at the University of Portsmouth found reflexology to be as effective as painkillers for osteoarthritis. Subjects felt about 40% less pain and could stand for longer than those not receiving treatment.
PMS symptoms can be alleviated by massaging certain points on your big toe and ankle to calm your endocrine and reproductive system.
Reflexology is not a painful process because only medium pressure is needed to get the full effects. Most reflexologists use their thumb to assess for signs of imbalance. They then manipulate the foot to free up energy, release toxins and ease pain.
Some people see the effects after just one treatment.
Reflexology can bring high levels of relaxation to your system and induce a state of calm throughout your body and mind. For this reason, it is also used to cure such sleep disorders as insomnia.
The most recognized benefit of reflexology is improved blood circulation throughout the body. This means more oxygen reaching the vital organ systems and increasing metabolism. More oxygen through the body also means faster healing and re-growth of damaged cells.
Sessions usually last 30 or 60 minutes. You may fall asleep or feel a rush of emotions as energy moves through your body. Afterward, you may feel energized or have a sense of calm. Everyone is different.