Reflexology doesn’t sound very astounding in theory but it can benefit your body incredibly in practice. It is a functional medicine practice that involves the manipulation of defined pressure points on the feet, hands, lower legs, face, or ears. The theory is that these pressure points correspond to various areas of the body. The application of pressure on these specific points can help to alleviate illness, encourage healing, and release tension by working on lines of energy. Of the countless benefits of reflexology, we will explore 20.
As we age, our nerve endings become less sensitive in many parts of our bodies. This is especially true in our extremities. Reflexology stimulates more than 7,000 different nerve endings on each foot in a single session. This increases their function and reactivity. Neural pathways are similar to muscles, so it is good to work them out occasionally to keep them sharp. Opening and cleaning out neural pathways can help improve functionality and flexibility in many areas around the body. The open neural pathways can benefit our central nervous system in a variety of ways. They enhance the brain’s ability to handle inputs more effectively, thereby speeding up our cognitive powers and boost memory.
In the world of integrative medicine, the benefits of reflexology exist not only the body but also the mind and spirit. When your body feels good, your mind and spirit are lifted.
20 Benefits of Reflexology for the Body
Reduction of general aches and pains
The practice of Reflexology stimulates the entire central nervous system and delivers a deep state of relaxation. Doing both simultaneously will actually retrain your brain and can change the way you feel pain.
Relieving Anxiety and Depression
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety or anxiety-related disorders like depression. Reflexology can help by inducing an overall physical relaxation of the body, which relaxes levels of anxiety and depression.
Balancing Blood Pressure
In Reflexology terms, high blood pressure or hypertension is directly connected to blockages in the liver meridian. Acupressure can be used as a successful complementary therapy in balancing blood pressure, along with the benefits of reflexology.
Faster Recovery from Stroke
Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability, and because of the localized damage to the brain, it can leave a devastating effect on the person. Where reflexology can really help here is in its ability to relax, which increases the overall ability to heal.
Improving Blood Circulation
One of the most well-known and verified benefits of Reflexology is improving blood circulation throughout the body. When blood and oxygen cycle through the body more effectively, reaching vital organs, your body functions more optimally. This in turn increases metabolism, results in faster healing and re-growth of damaged cells.
Reducing swelling & Improving Lymphatic Flow
It is well-known that reflexology can reduce swelling in areas of the body. Swelling, caused by conditions like edema and lymphoedema, appears when circulation is disrupted and fluids do not return to the body’s core. Fluids accumulate in the body’s extremities and can be very painful.
Easing Discomfort of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Reflexology will help eliminate toxins contributing to symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This will in-turn improve the circulation of both blood and lymph systems and ease the discomfort of the person suffering.
As mentioned above, Reflexology has been known to open neural pathways. which allows for free-flowing neural activity and literally flood our system with relaxation. This induced state of calmness in body and mind can also minimize sleep disorders. Insomnia can be a very troubling condition to suffer through, but reflexology helps your body relax and get back to its normal, healthy circadian rhythms.
Improving Respiratory Conditions
Reflexology has shown to improve decongested airway passages and relieve constricted chest muscles. This will improve overall lung function giving deeper and more relaxed breathing patterns.
Relieving Migraine and Headaches
Reflexology is primarily used by many people as a method of eliminating pain. Thus, it can help to reduce the severity of a migraine and headache. As an analgesic treatment, it relieves tension in the muscles that can often result in these conditions. Sufferers can find relief from stress headaches since stress and psychological factors often manifest in the physical symptoms of a migraine.
Providing Comfort for Palliative Care Patients
The benefits of reflexology in palliative care helps to support emotional well-being, improves the quality of life, and gives relief from pain. Extra comfort and care are essential at this stage of life.
Constipation can be caused by physical or emotional circumstances and Reflexology can offer relief to both. A 2010 study claims to show a very high percentage of participants claiming positive results from the treatment.
Restoring Vitality due to Lethargy
Lethargy is extremely difficult for some on a daily basis. Just getting through the day by day is incredibly tough. According to studies, the effects of Reflexology show positive results in relieving fatigue and promoting sleep.
Stimulating Cognitive disorders like Dementia
Improving Balance and Walking
Reflexology can improve balance and walking because it is foot therapy! The body is constantly working towards balance and when it cannot, reflexology works to create homeostasis. A recent study confirms that reflexology paths are a great way to do this.
Loosening and oxygenation of joints, tissues and muscles
Amongst other benefits of reflexology, it can help to loosen and give oxygen to damaged joints, tissues, and muscles. This will help increase the ability of movement and relieve restriction.
Speeding Recovery and Healing from Surgery
Reflexology treatments improve nerve activity and circulation by balancing metabolism function. This allows cells re-grow faster and wound to heal quicker. With less pain, patients recover more rapidly and are willing to get back into routine life.
If you suffer from digestive issues, reflexology can be beneficial when combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and routine colon cleansing. It helps to increase blood flow to this centralized area of your body.
Boosting Energy Levels
By aligning the function of various organ and muscle systems, reflexology can increase metabolism and energy creation processes within the body. If you need a boost of energy or are always feeling sluggish, a reflexology session can help!
Reflexology has been shown to improve bladder function and reduce urinary tract issues. A more efficient system of eliminating toxins and other foreign substances protects your body from the various diseases and health conditions that can often arise from a compromised urinary system.
Reflexology and Cancer
Although reflexology isn’t directly connected to curing cancer, it has been known to ease the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. Cancer patients can get more sound sleep by reducing pain and anxiety. It also reduces the chances of vomiting or other commonly experienced indigestion issues.
The more general effects of reflexology, such as clearing neural channels and increasing circulation, can help slow the spread of cancer and stimulate antioxidant activity to destroy cancer cells.
Controlled reflexology studies performed by Hodgson, Stephenson, Milligan, and Associates from 2000 to 2002 involved approximately 150 patients receiving cancer treatments. Individuals who also underwent reflexology therapy experienced relief from nausea, constipation/diarrhea, pain, and generalized fatigue. Clients also expressed relief from anxiety, depression, and appetite loss associated with cancer treatment.
Reflexology and Multiple Sclerosis
In 2014, the American Academy of Neurology learned that reflexology reduced nerve discomfort in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Another study performed in 2015 determined that the therapy minimized fatigue symptoms in women afflicted with the disorder.
Reflexology and Sinus Issues
A trial involving 150 volunteers in 2002 evaluated the effects of reflexology on subjects suffering from chronic sinusitis. One group received reflexology treatments while another underwent nasal irrigation treatments. Both groups experienced the same positive effects, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.
Reflexology and Infertility
For women experiencing infertility, Reflexology is a great noninvasive procedure that can aid in becoming pregnant. Read more in our blog here.
What to Expect at a Reflexology Session
Considering a Reflexology Session and not sure what to expect? The following steps outline the steps we take after taking note of your medical history, lifestyle, and general health. The reflexologist will use this information to choose the specific areas of the feet on which to work.
- Patients take off your shoes and socks and can recline in a chair or lie on a treatment table.
- The therapist starts by gently massaging the feet to promote relaxation. They may use lubricating oils.
- Then they will apply pressure to specific areas of the feet. It’s normal for this pressure to feel sensitive or uncomfortable, but it should never be painful.
Sessions normally last about 30 minutes to an hour and an initial course of treatment may involve 6-8 sessions, depending on your issues. Some people like to have regular, on-going weekly, or monthly sessions.
Reflexology Coverage with Insurance Company Benefit Plans
The NHPC is advising that the following list of private insurance companies that offer extended health benefit plans in Canada have Reflexology coverage. NHPC Reflexology clients who have coverage for Reflexology services in their plans with the below insurance companies will have their claims reimbursed. We recommend that clients confirm their coverage with their plan administrator before submitting claims for Reflexology services.
- CINUP Insurance
- Claim Secure
- Green Shield Canada*
- Industrial Alliance
- Manitoba Blue Cross
- RWAM Insurance
- Saskatchewan Blue Cross
- Sun Life
- SSQ Financial*
Reflexology improves the Overall Quality of Life and you can feel better too! If you are considering Reflexology treatment, contact your General Practitioner first. The doctors at Lynne Murfin MD are available for advice
Lynne Murfin MD