Reflexology (also called zone therapy) is a noninvasive complementary pressure therapy that effectively promotes deep relaxation and well-being and builds resilience.
Reflexology helps the body naturally restore its balance, which can be received by anyone at any age.
3 types of reflexology
- Generic reflexology: A relaxation therapy involving a special foot massage to relax, energize, and restore homeostasis.
- Precision reflexology: Uses the process called “linking,” where two or even three reflexology points are held simultaneously to enhance the overall impact of the treatment.
- Vertical reflexology: Also referred to as the Booth method and uses the dorsal reflex points of both hands and feet whilst in a weight-bearing (standing) position.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a focused pressure technique based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head. These can release stress when pressure is applied to them, allowing the body to regenerate and heal itself. People practicing this technique are called reflexologists.
Reflexology rests on the ancient Chinese belief in qi (chee or vital energy).
- According to this belief, qi flows through all bodies.
- When a person feels stressed, their body blocks qi, which causes an imbalance and leads to various illnesses.
- Reflexology aims to help qi flow through the body, keeping the body balanced and disease free.
How does reflexology work?
The theory of reflexology builds on research done in the 1890s by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington, who reported that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs.
According to this theory, when reflexologists apply pressure (of varying degrees) to feet, hands, or ears, a calming message is sent from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which eventually signals the body to adjust its tension level.
This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal).
Reflexology is speculated to positively affect the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.
Can reflexology treat diseases?
Reflexology is an alternative medical practice that might be used to help treat diseases, such as:
What are the potential benefits of reflexology?
Although reflexology is associated with many potential benefits, only a few have been evaluated or confirmed through research.
Potential benefits of reflexology include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Reduce pain
- Uplifts mood
- Improves general well-being
- Relieves back pain
- Eases constipation
- Enhances circulation
Moreover, some people with medical conditions have reported that reflexology helped them with the following:
What are the pros and cons of reflexology?
Pros of reflexology
Some of the pros of reflexology include:
- Improves blood circulation and boosts energy levels by stimulating the pressure points
- Helps manage stress
- Helps relieve pain in different areas of the body, including the back, neck, and shoulder
- Helps improve digestion functioning and reduces gastrointestinal problems, such as acidity, ulcer, heartburn, and gas
- Balances appetite
- Relieves symptoms of depression and other mental disorders (irritability, anger, and frustration)
- Minimizes sinus congestion and nasal problems, such as a runny or stuffy nose
- Improves skin tone and heals skin disorders
- Improves eyesight and memory
- Reduces menstrual disorders in women
- Minimizes addictions to tobacco and smoking
- Promotes healing from sports injuries
Cons of reflexology
Some of the cons of reflexology include:
- Applying pressure at the wrong pressure point may lead to a rise in some other problems
- May cause pain near the pressure point when the pressure is higher than required
- Improvement could be minimal if a less experienced person tries the technique
- Has not been proven as a treatment for cancer
- Cannot replace conventional treatment or medications
- Provides temporary relief
- Does not guarantee a cure for some serious problems or critical stages of illness
- Could be unaffordable for some people
People who should avoid reflexology include:
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