Some girlfriends and I recently visited a spa whose focus was on reflexology. The experience was too amazing not to share and is what inspired me to do this post.
Reflexology has always fascinated me. Like I shared in earlier posts, there are numerous Eastern philosophies that I practice (yoga, meditation, acupuncture, etc.) and although I indulge in massage therapy and BEG my husband to rub my feet at night, I didn’t give too much thought as to why it feels so good to have that physical contact, especially on your feet.
After this last reflexology visit, I felt so energized and refreshed that I needed to find some answers to my questions.
What are the connections with points in the feet to the rest of the body?
Are there any studies or science that support these Eastern beliefs?
First things first, what exactly is reflexology?
Put simply, it’s the act of applying pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears which practitioners believe are points that connect to organs and areas throughout the body.
Administers of reflexology use reflex areas in the hands and feet that correspond to all glands, organs and parts of the body. By stimulating these reflexes properly they feel they are able to help with many health issues (which include asthma, diabetes, stress and anxiety).
If you were wondering, reflexology is not something new. In fact it has been around for thousands of years. According to the International Institute of Reflexology, reflexology was practiced as early as 2300 B.C. in Egypt.
Modern day reflexology is focused primarily on relaxation and easing tension. According to the healthcare industry, over 75% of our health problems can be linked to nervous stress and tension. This I can ABSOLUTELY say I agree with.
As far as science to support these claims, I found very minimal. Conducting this type of research proves to be extensive and difficult to measure, however I did find some studies from two well-known institutes regarding reflexology.
The National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health ran several studies that resulted in findings indicating reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms (i.e. anxiety, depression) and enhance relaxation and sleep.
As stated above, decreasing stress and signs of tension is the first step in taking charge of your health and paving the road to recovery.
Now that we’ve covered what studies and research say about reflexology and how it’s defined, I wanted to take a look into what the points in your feet mean in connection to the rest of your body (mainly because I find that the most fascinating part).
Reflexologists believe the body is divided up into 10 longitudinal zones, five on each side of the body. Each part of the body (including organs) is represented on the hands and feet and can be accessed by massaging or pressing a certain point to stimulate the flow of energy, blood, nutrients and nerve impulses to the corresponding body zone (and in affect relieving ailments in that zone of the body).
For instance, if I am having digestive issues, the reflexologist will focus on the zone that connects to my stomach and digestive tract to cause some relief and aide in helping with my discomfort.
I found a great website that had simple to understand charts showing reflex points used in reflexology for the hands and feet. The website also included the top 10 benefits of reflexology (you know I love a great top 10), so if you’d like to learn even more, I suggest visiting them here.
From my limited experience with reflexology, I prefer to go in and get the treatment, focus on where I feel the most on points in my feet and then check those points post massage to see what parts of my body they correspond to.
It’s been eerily spot on the last few times I’ve gone and I feel like it’s validation due to the fact that the reflexologist couldn’t have know what was causing me internal discomfort before my session.
I urge you to try it out and see what you think. If anything, you will surely find relaxation and sleep really well that night!
Have you tried reflexology? If not, would you try it out? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Happy feet, happy life? Maybe…