Reflexology - What Is It and What Can It Do for You?
We know what you’re thinking – there’s no way reflexology is a real thing, right? We’re here to set it straight. Reflexology is not when the doctor hits your kneecap with a tiny hammer to see if your leg jerks, it is actually a well-renowned massage practice that can get you the relief you didn’t even know you needed. Don’t believe us? Let us explain.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is an ancient Chinese practice that believes in the life force that flows within the body. When there are disruptions or imbalances in that natural flow, pain will reside at the blockage. Going even deeper, each organ and body feature is energetically attached to a point within the hands and feet. If you’ve ever heard of referred pain, this is the perfect example. Referred pain means that though you think you feel pain in one area, that pain could actually reside somewhere else within the body but presents itself in that area instead. Many use this method for its healing and preventative natures but while this is true, many still don’t understand how to best practice reflexology. But we’re here to enlighten you so follow along!
How Does It Work and What Do I Do?
As mentioned before, each organ or body function is closely related to a point in the hands and feet. In the fingertips alone, connections to the sinuses, brain, and pituitary gland are present and can be used to reduce pain for those major players. In order to relieve pains in corresponding areas, you will massage the area on the hands that best relates to the pain. For example, as shown in the diagram below, pain stemming from the heart and lungs can be relieved by massaging the balls of the fingers within the palm with steady pressure for a minute on each hand.
We’re all feeling anxious, stressed out, and on the verge of losing our minds. But never fear, there is a reflex point to massage to reduce anxiety. By massaging the divots located at the base of the wrist along the inside of the arm for a minute a piece, anxiety will begin to lessen. The same effect can happen if using the massage technique explained above with the balls of the fingers. If you are anxious about giving a speech or maybe an upcoming procedure, this is a quick and easy method to reduce stress while on-the-go.
For those with stubborn headaches, massage the soft area between the thumb and pointer finger on the topside of the hand. Do so in 1-minute increments and you can repeat this method as often as you feel necessary. You should feel some relief in the areas affected by the headache.
Unsurprisingly, the feet are more sensitive to touch than the hands. For those of you who can’t stand having your feet touched because it just tickles way too much to be pleasurable – I understand -- and this is likely the culprit. But because the feet have more nerve endings, the reaction to reflexology is stronger and seemingly more potent. In fact, when people discuss reflexology, they are most likely discussing the technique involving the feet.
With connections to every vital organ within the body, applying firm pressure to various parts of the feet is said to relieve tension and pain throughout the body. For instance, applying firm pressure to those sore, achy arches can treat pain in the kidneys but doubles to relieve pain and tension in the lumbar area of the back as well. Because reflexology works on healing the blockages in energy flow in the body, consistent reflexology massages are said to help to improve moods, immune systems, fertility, digestion, and work to reduce stress and anxiety.
Have you ever considered massaging your earlobes to relax and unwind? Neither did we but after some research, we determined just how effective ear reflexology can be for some people. The lobes have a lot of nerve endings, making this the perfect location for an effective massage. Within the lobes are connections to the face, hands, feet, and sciatic nerve. There are few massage strokes to consider when massaging the earlobes.
- Pulling – Lightly tugging the lobes away from the head in slower strokes until your lobe naturally parts from your fingers.
- Circular Motions- Light pressure while rubbing the lobe in-between your thumb and pointer finger in a circular motion.
- Pinching- Applying firm pressure to trigger points within the lobes with your thumb and pointer finger.
All of these techniques can promote relaxation and healing within the body and are simple enough to do inconspicuously in public if you need a natural stress reliever while on-the-go.
- Choose your massage therapist wisely if you are using techniques on small children and babies. Make sure they have the proper training and certifications to practice massage on you or your littles.
- Do not be afraid to speak up if the amount of pressure your therapist is using is painful. They will respect your suggestion and want you to have the best experience possible for you.
- Reflexology cannot diagnose illnesses or conditions. Though it is believed that reflexology can pinpoint where the pain source stems from, it cannot determine specific causes or underlying conditions. If your pain persists, see your regular care physician for diagnosis and treatment.
Who knew relief from those pesky tension knots would be so easy to treat? Try reflexology during times of heightened stress and anxiety, or when you just want to really relax and unwind… with the right tools, it may become your new favorite massage technique!
Tools We Suggest
Massage Roller Balls – Perfect for self or couple massages, the massage roller ball glides smoothly over the skin, allowing the user to apply as much or as little pressure as desired. It can be used along with essential oils for a holistic approach to relaxation.
Treypoint 3-in-1 Massager – Perfect hand-held massage tool that works to dig deep and target specific trigger points right from the palm of your hand. This tool is also fantastic for Gua Sha massage and comes highly recommended by massage therapists.