Reflexology—More Than A Foot Massage

September 2015 View more

Foot massageWe spend countless hours on our feet every day. The constant stress and weight can eventually takes its toll on our feet and overall health. There are thousands of tiny nerves in our feet called reflexes. By methodically pressing on these reflexes, you can eliminate stress on your feet and bring about amazing overall health benefits.

Reflex Relaxation

Foot reflexology can bring about a number of positive changes throughout the entire body, even though only the feet are being touched. Just one session can greatly reduce stress, and in turn, help you feel deep relaxation. Reflexology also helps to restore both physical and emotional balance. By applying specific pressure points to the feet, you can improve circulation, which brings more oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body. “Reflexology is a natural approach to reduce stress and enhance energy. Many people find they sleep better and have better digestion following a session,” said Board Certified Reflexologist Carla E. Eisenberg. She is also a licensed massage therapist and certified hypnotherapist.

Easing Health Problems

Worldwide research found that reflexology can help alleviate health problems such as backache, arthritis, heart disease, depression, fatigue, menopausal issues, and headache. And it can be a huge stress reliever. “I always emphasize the holistic nature of reflexology. Any condition, physical or emotional, that is stress related will respond well to reflexology,” said Eisenberg. Medical research shows a direct link between diseases and stress. “Some studies estimate that 40 percent to 80 percent of all doctor visits may be directly related to stress. Once you understand that relationship, it becomes clear that as the body relaxes and comes back into balance, symptoms naturally improve,” said Eisenberg.

Getting Started

Just one session is a great introduction to reflexology. The stress reduction benefits can last a few days to a few weeks. Always talk to your doctor before beginning a session. “It’s important for people to know that reflexologists never diagnose, treat, or prescribe,” said Eisenberg. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment.

“Sessions are usually conducted with the client lying on a massage table or sitting in a recliner chair without shoes or socks. A reflexologist skillfully applies manual pressure (using their fingers and thumbs) to specific points and reflex areas on the feet. In a foot reflexology session, the soles, sides and tops of both feet are worked thoroughly to restore balance, promote stress reduction, and provide deep relaxation,” said Eisenberg. If you have a specific condition you would like addressed, the reflexologist can carefully feel and work that area corresponding to the presenting problem. However, they will still work all areas of your foot using gentle pressure. This allows the nerve pathways to release congestion and promote relaxation throughout your entire body.

What to Expect

By the end of the reflexology session, many clients experience a slight tingling or light feeling throughout their body. Also, feelings of warmth as the energy moves from the reflexologist’s pressure point to the specific areas of the body are common. There is also a feeling of energy flowing through the organs and muscles as the “free-flowing”, less-stressed feel takes over. Other physical and emotional reactions have been documented by researchers such as feeling chilled, light-headed, or sleepy. Some clients have noticed perspiration of hands and feet, coughing, laughing or even crying.

At the end of each session, you are urged to drink plenty of water and pay close attention to the body over the next several hours so you can enjoy the return to a state of balance and harmony.

Since results from reflexology are often gradual improvements that are cumulative, you may see greater benefits from regular weekly sessions over several weeks, instead of a session once or twice a year. A reflexologist can help determine the best session pattern for each client.