The history of reflexology goes back several hundred years, and is based on the principle that there are reflexes in the hands and feet which correspond to every system, organ and gland of the body. By applying specific pressure to these reflex points, it’s possible to activate the body’s natural healing power and clear blockages and congestion to reestablish healthy energy flows. We had a chat with reflexology expert Gemma O’Regan about the healthy practice.
Reflexology Improves Circulation
One of the most documented benefits of reflexology is an improvement in circulation, allowing blood and oxygen to move through the body more effectively.
“More oxygen and fresh blood reaching vital organs have a positive effect on our energy levels, as well as assisting in speedier recovery times post-operation or illness and faster regrowth of damaged cells,” says O’Regan.
Reflexology For Fertility
Reflexology is proving to be of tremendous benefit to couples who are struggling to conceive.
“The body needs to be a healthy and balanced environment to create the best conditions for pregnancy to occur and this is where reflexology can help,” continues O’Regan. “It regulates the menstrual cycle, balances the endocrine system (hormones) stimulates ovulation, removes toxins by increasing blood and lymph circulation, de-stresses, creates healthy mucous membranes and provides support to those undergoing IVF physically and emotionally.”
Reflexology In Pregnancy
Reflexology can safely be used during pregnancy, recent studies have shown that receiving regular reflexology throughout pregnancy significantly shortened labour time by 4-6 hours and reduced the need for pain relief.
“It’s an excellent option for all of the most common pregnancy ailments such as morning sickness, oedema, stress and anxiety, digestive and bladder issues at a time when conventional medicine is not advised.”
“It can also be used to facilitate labour also known as pregnancy priming, midwifes will often advocate its use to avoid medical induction. Ideally the mother to be would receive regular treatments throughout the pregnancy or at least six weeks prior to term.”
Reflexology Can Ease Anxiety
Reflexology opens neural pathways allowing for a state of calm in body and mind which also makes it an effective treatment for any sleep disorder.
“As a reflexologist I see clients who struggle with anxiety all of the time. A reflexology session triggers the para-sympathetic nervous system, reducing anxiety, curbing the flight or fight response and allowing the body to heal and relax.” says O’Regan.
Reflexology Helps The Body To Detox
Reflexology has been proven to improve bladder function and to reduce urinary tract infections. This along with improved blood and lymph flow leads to
“This along with improved blood and lymph flow leads to more effective elimination of harmful substances, making your body a more alkaline and healthier place.”
Nerve Function and Reflexology
As we age so do our nerve endings and as a result become less sensitive, particularly in our extremities.
“A reflexology session stimulates more than 7,000 different nerve endings increasing their reactivity and overall functionality. Opening and clearing of our neural pathways allows energy to flow freely as it was designed to, clearing congestion and toxins as it does. Open and responsive neural pathways benefit our entire body but specifically our central nervous system; simply put our brain can respond faster and work better. Increased nerve activity in the feet is a benefit of particular interest to diabetics.”
Reflexology and Pain Management
Reflexology is believed to work in the same way that acupuncture does, by stimulating the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals. A recent study found it to be as effective as painkillers for the treatment of acute pain.
“Reflexologists will often use it to successfully complement conventional treatments for conditions such as osteo or rheumatoid arthritis and cancer which are often associated with pain.”
Have you tried reflexology before? What did you think of it? Tell us in the comments below.