Have you ever thought about using the power of touch to help with your stress and heal your body?
If so, then you should consider reflexology. If you’ve never heard of it, you may be saying to yourself, “reflexology! What is that?”
Well, it’s an ancient practice that according to NIH uses various forms of pressure placed on different points of the feet or hands. These points align up with various organs in the body. Placing pressure on these points allow the various systems in the body to run smoothly and/or heal. For example, when you massage the tips of your fingers, you’re also helping to open up your sinuses.
Reflexology is also a great way of helping you monitor the healthiness of your feet. After all, healthy feet allow you to stay physically active and maintain good posture, which can protect you from back pain and other health issues throughout your body.
In particular, studies have shown that reflexology can be effective for relieving anxiety and physical discomfort. However, it may not be as effective when it comes to serious conditions like diabetes or cancer, so it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
If you’re nervous about trying reflexology, don’t be! I recently had a session and it was quite relaxing. It felt like a hand and foot massage. At no time did I experience any pain, only light pressure. However, as with any health related procedure, you should check with your doctor first before trying it out.
Reflexology And Stress Relief
As your pressure points are connected to various systems within your body, reflexology can be used to directly lessen the impact of stress. For instance, one technique that absolutely helps with stress is deep breathing. Deep breathing is so effective for stress that it can be used to help you prepare for a stressful situation or while you’re in the midst of one.
In the middle of your foot, right under the ball is a pressure point that is connected to your diaphragm. This can help you breathe more easily which has a direct calming effect on your stress.
Your breath is not the only thing that can be adversely affected by stress. Your digestive system can be at risk as well. It can either increase or decrease your appetite. Reflexology can help your digestive tract to relax to prevent digestive issues.
All of which allows you to manage your stress before your stress manages you.
Peaceful environments create peacefulness. If you’re engaging in self-reflexology, enhance your wellbeing by playing soft music, using aromatherapy, and lighting a candle. To enhance your sense of touch, use a fragrant skin oil. Sit or lie down anywhere that’s comfortable such as your bed or a chair. Place a cushion behind your knees to avoid hyperextension.
Be gentle with yourself. As with much in life, being gentle with yourself pays dividends. Reflexology is safe for most adults if you avoid applying too much pressure. Be careful around bones and joints. If you experience cramps or pain, stop right away. It’s important to learn appropriate techniques before using your knuckles or props which can be more intense than using your fingers and thumbs.
Loosen up. It’s a good idea to stretch first. Look online for exercises that can help you stretch your feet and hands before you begin your session. This will help with your flexibility and lessen any chances of injury.
Stroke your feet. Place your palm on top of your foot and stroke it from toe to ankle. Repeat on the bottom side. You’ll stimulate your circulation and raise your energy levels.
Consult a professional. Chiropractors and physical therapists are some of the many health care practitioners who offer reflexology. Before trying self-reflexology, schedule a session to receive more extensive treatment and learn methods you can practice at home.
Consider reflexology socks. These are socks that have the various pressure points of the feet printed on them. It allows you to preform self-reflexology and easily find the pressure points that suit your needs.
Additional Foot Care Suggestions
Wear comfortable shoes. Do your toes have enough room to move around? Properly fitted shoes can protect you from blisters and provide adequate support for your arches.
Change your socks daily. Socks can protect you from blisters and odor. Replace them when they wear thin or sprout holes.
Take a break. Prolonged standing or other strains can leave your feet hot and throbbing. Try elevating them on an ottoman or pillow or take a herbal footbath. Stay hydrated. Much like the rest of your body, your feet need moisture to fight dry skin. Drink water throughout the day. Dab on moisturizer daily, especially if you feel a blister starting.
Talk with your doctor. While reflexology is safe for most adults, your doctor can advise you about conditions, such as pregnancy or diabetes, which may make you more sensitive to touch. Your doctor can also refer you to a podiatrist or other specialists when needed.
So there you have it, how you can begin to use reflexology to help your body relax and heal itself. It’s a quick and easy way to reduce stress, enhance your posture, and strengthen your immune system. You can do it, because it’s all about Making Time.
Let’s talk. How will you incorporate reflexology into your life? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn