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Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific reflex points and areas on the feet or hands that correspond to the body’s organs and regions. To be more specific, these reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, so that applying massage with efficient pressure on points offers great health benefits for whole-body wellness and health (Sung, 2019). These sensors will be stimulated to improve the blood and energy circulation, give a sense of relaxation, and maintain the homeostasis.
Reflexology massage relies on the reflexes map of the feet and hands to all the internal organs and other human body parts. Beyond the feel-good effects of the treatment, the practice and purpose go more profound than the skin and muscles (Sung, 2019).
What are the benefits?
Unlike other treatments that manipulate bones or muscle tissues, reflexology can provide much needed relief through working the body reflex that ails you on a part of the body that does not. Reflexology can address anything from headaches to sinus problems to stomach issues. If sensitivity, pain, or physically discomfort is experienced when an area is stimulated, it usually indicates bodily weaknesses or imbalances within the corresponding organ (cancerresearchuk.org, n.d.).
With repeated pressure and manipulation of nerve endings, reflexology can help to clear any channels of blocked energy. It is said to do so by moving the flow of blood, nutrients, and nerve impulses. This ultimately improves overall health and balance, therefore, to effectively help the body systems to return to its natural state.
Applying constant pressure to feet or hands sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which signals the body to adjust the tension level (The University of Minnesota, n.d.). This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.
Reflexology improves the blood circulation of our whole body
Relieve and calm the nerve system of the brain means with a reflexology massage benefits the whole-body circulation of blood and nutrients. Blood needs to flow freely throughout the body carrying oxygen and nutrients to all the calls and removing the waste of metabolism and other toxins. Increase in circulation means that blood and oxygen are distributed throughout the different parts of the body more efficiently (Zarifian, 2017). Because of proper oxygen and nutrients are activated during a reflexology massage by applying correct pressure on certain acupoints, the vital organ systems also perform certain vital functions properly which is crucial in maintaining an overall health.
Reflexology reduces pain by reducing stress and to keep the body’s “vital energy” flowing.
As the pressure points are stimulated on a regular basis during a reflexology massage, the energy pathways are opened up with the vital blood circulation to therefore reduce stress and promotes a general sense of relaxation. Since pain is a subjective experience created by the brain, which does this in response to the sensory experience of pain, things that influence the brain, such as your mood or external factors like stress and overused or tired hands and feet, can also affect your experience of pain (Griscti, 2016). If stress is not addressed, it leads to congestion of energy, which causes bodily inefficiencies, leading to illness. During a reflexology massage, all the pressure points on localized areas such as hands and feet are stimulated with just-right pressure in ways that rooted in Chinese medicine theory and methodology as the body is considered to be a whole unit for the purpose of inducing general relaxation while relaxing the targeted area concurrently (reflexologycanada, n.d.). That’s how the reflexology keeps the energy flowing, and also plays an essential rule of reducing stress and anxiety that influence our feelings about pain.
Reflexology triggers the whole-body wellness and well-being
By stimulating the lymphatic system and enhance the whole-body circulation for detoxification, reflexology helps to clean the body and meanwhile promotes the production of endorphins, leading to an improved immune system and sense of well-being (foot.com, 2018). The pathways between pressure points and other parts of the body are connected via the nervous system. Through the application of reflexology, neural pathways are being stimulated, allowing free flow of energy and blood supply (massagegearguru, n.d.). That is to say, a more relaxed state of the mind and also the body is realized. Moreover, through the same process, stress and anxiety are being eliminated as well, leading to a more positive mental health to contribute to the whole-body wellness and well-being.
In reflexology massage, points and areas on the feet and hands correspond to specific organs, bones, and body systems. To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, the massage is rooted in referring to reflexology "maps" to release congestion or stress in the nervous system and balance the body’s energy ( Embong, Ming, & Soh, 2015).
As mentioned before, the reflexology massage is effective for general well-being maintenance and treatment of chronic pain headaches, low back pain, and stress. Due to its soothing massage and non-drug complementary nature, reflexology is widely accepted by the general public nowadays (The University of Minnesota, n.d.).
How does it work?
Reflexology refers to maps of the feet and hands to understand which part of the foot and hand correspond to different parts of the body. There are 5 longitudinal zones on each foot that run from each of the toes directly up through the body to the top of the head. Certain areas of the feet and hands can be targeted through maps to non-invasively stimulate other organs in the body. These maps enable us to tailor treatments to specifically aid the body and its organs to realign energetically, reinforce healing for a broad range of conditions, stimulate functionality, release tension and improve circulation ( Embong, Ming, & Soh, 2015).
Take the hand as an instance, a series of banded reflex area on the top of the left hand represents the left-hand side of the body from the top left side of the head to the knee, such as lymph glands, groin, and fallopian tubes encircled the wrist. When applying massage on the acupoints on the left hand that is related to lymph glands on a regular basis, it may affect lymph glands functioning in a positive way. Moreover, reflexology holds that a specific spot in the arch of the foot corresponds to the bladder. When a using thumbs or fingers to apply appropriate pressure to this area, it will facilitate bladder to function more effectively. Overall, pressure applied to the acupoints that are reflected to organs of the body will help specific organ or particular part to alleviate the pain and symptoms of a disease.
Compared with common massage therapies and techniques that are ways of the manipulation of tissues to relax the muscles and relieve tension that usually lead to a relatively physical-side benefits, reflexology massage, on the other hand, uses a targeted, pressure-point massage to restore the flow of energy throughout the body that is based on a philosophy that these body parts are associated to important organs and body systems (Emily, 2019). Reflexology massage is a better choice for balancing the body for healing, energizing, and restoring the body to its natural state for calm and equilibrium.