Tag Archives: reflexology
Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person’s general health. For example, reflexology holds that a specific spot in the arch of the foot corresponds to the bladder point. When a reflexology practitioner uses thumbs or fingers to apply appropriate pressure to this area, it affects bladder functioning.
Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascularissues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.
Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across Europe and Asia as both a complement to other treatments and as a preventive measure. One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early ’90s.
According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced sick leave and absenteeism (and significant economic savings for the employers). Employees have consistently reported complete or partial improvement in conditions where they sought reflexologists’ help and even relief for additional problems related to stress. In one municipal district, almost one-third of the employees reported greater satisfaction with their jobs after completing six sessions with a reflexologist.
Where are the reflexology points and areas?
In reflexology theory, points and areas on the feet, hands, and ears correspond to specific organs, bones and body systems. Practitioners access these points on the feet and hands (bottom, sides, and top) and the ear (both inside as far as the finger can reach and outside) to affect organs and systems throughout the entire body.
Maps of reflex points have been passed between practitioners across the globe. Understandably, there is not agreement among all reflexologists on all points; however, general agreement does exist on major reflex points. Some scientific documentation of linkages between the skin and internal organs also exists.
To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, reflexologists use reflexology “maps.” A good example of a reflexology map exists for the feet. Each foot represents a vertical half of the body:
- The left foot corresponds to the left side of the body and all organs, valves, etc. found there.
- The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body and all organs found there. For example, the liver is on the right side of the body, and therefore the corresponding reflex area is on the right foot.
The illustration to the right shows a reflexology map for the feet. For a map of the hands, see www.reflexology-research.com
A reflexologist may perform a general, integrated session, or may focus on specific problem areas on the feet, hands or ears. For example, if time is limited and the person really needs to relax, the reflexologist may choose just to work on the ears.
Whatever the approach, the reflexologist attempts to release congestion or stress in the nervous system and balance the body’s energy.
How does reflexology relate to other therapies?
Acupuncture and Acupressure: Reflexology is similar to acupuncture and acupressure in that it works with the body’s vital energy through the stimulation of points on the body. However, acupuncture/acupressure points do not always coincide with the reflex points used in reflexology.
Reflexology and acupressure are both “reflex” therapies in that they work with points on one part of the body to affect other parts of the body. While reflexology uses reflexes that are in an orderly arrangement resembling a shape of the human body on the feet, hands, and outer ears, acupressure uses over 800 reflex points that are found along long thin energy lines called meridians that run the length of the entire body.
Massage: Some people confuse reflexology with massage. While both massage and reflexology use touch, the approaches are very different.
- Massage is the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, using specific techniques (for example, tapping, kneading, stroking, and friction) to relax the muscles.
- Reflexology focuses on reflex maps of points and areas of the body in the feet, hands, and ears using unique micromovement techniques such as thumb or finger walking and hook and backup to create a response throughout the body.
In short, massage therapists work “from the outside in,” manipulating specific muscle groups or fascia to release tension. Reflexology practitioners see themselves as working “from the inside out” — stimulating the nervous system to release tension.
Another difference between massage and reflexology is that a client will stay fully clothed for a reflexology session except for removing footwear, whereas clients remove clothing for a massage session.
Where does reflexology come from?
Because reflexology is an ancient practice, its origin and history is difficult to track. However, reflexology is thought to have been passed down through an oral tradition, and possibly first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor in 2330 BC along with other medical procedures.
Reflexology symbols are also thought to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China. The Chinese classic, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which was written around 1,000 BC, has a chapter on “Examining Foot Method” and is the beginning of discussions in print about the connection of life force and points and areas on the feet.
It is believed that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s, thus introducing reflexology and massage to Europe. In 1582, a book on an integral element of reflexology called zone therapy was first published in Europe by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis.
In the United States, William H. Fitzgerald, MD, who is frequently referred to as the father of reflexology, wrote in 1917 about ten vertical zones that extended the length of the body. He found that the application of pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of an injury could serve as relief of pain during minor surgeries.
Dr. Fitzgerald’s work was expanded by Dr. Shelby Riley, who developed a map of horizontal zones going across the body and a detailed map of reflex points on the feet and hands. He also suggested pressure points on the outer ear.
Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who worked for Dr. Riley, is another prominent figure in the development of reflexology. In her research with zone therapy’s pressure points, she found the feet to be the most sensitive and responsive. She developed the foot maps still in use today and introduced reflexology practices to the non-medical community in the 1930s. Ms. Ingham also designed one of the most commonly used reflexology charts, which has since been refined by her nephew, Dwight Byers, at the International Reflexology Institute.
In 1957, Dr. Paul Nogier recorded a reflex map of points on the outer ear. His work has been expanded by Oleson and Flocco and is now being taught as part of an integrated approach to hand, ear and foot reflexology.
Eriksen, L. (1992). Municipal Reflexology. Zoneterapeuten (Journal of the Danish Reflexologists Association, FDZ),6.
Eriksen, L., & Levin, S. (1995). A Closeup View on Company Reflexology (Committee Report): Danish Reflexologists Association.
Enersen, O. D. (1994-2007). Head’s Zones. Who Named It? Accessed May 24, 2007, fromhttp://www.whonamedit.com/synd.cfm/636.html.
Frequently Asked Questions. (2007). Frequently Asked Questions Retrieved March 5, 2007, fromhttp://www.americanacademyofreflexology.com/FAQsOf.shtml#DiffMass.
History of Reflexology. (2007). American Academy of Reflexology Retrieved March 4, 2007, fromhttp://www.americanacademyofreflexology.com/HistoryOf.shtml.
This type of meditation is for those who regularly participate in prayer, as it’s based on communicating with God. Just like the other styles, you must become calm and quiet and then begin to focus on a question or problem you might have. This style of meditation can feel not only relaxing, but after it you feel very rewarded yourself.
If the idea of clearing your mind of all thoughts stresses you out, focused meditation is great because you can focus on a sound, object, mantra,( are words that are chanted loudly during meditation), or thought. The key here is to just focus on one of these things and stay committed to that one thought or object. You may want to use some relaxation music to help you meditate. Despite the fact that during that meditation type you are using your mind, you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated you feel afterwards.
Movement meditation can be extremely uplifting and relaxing at the same time. Sitting with your eyes closed, simply focus on your breath and try out different gentle, repetitive flowing movements. Rather than focus on a sound, object, or thought, just turn your attention to your movement.
Reflective Meditation Technique
The practice of reflective or analytical meditation is like disciplined thinking: choosing a theme, question, or topic of contemplation we focus our reflection, or analysis, upon it. When our attention wanders to other thoughts, we return to our chosen topic
Traditionally, reflective meditation is employed to gain insight into the meaning of life, death, interrelationships, and social conscience, or to come to a conclusive insight regarding some key idea in science, philosophy, or scripture. Following our analysis through, we arrive at a conclusion. This, in turn, gives rise to a strong sense of faith or conviction.
This is the most debated and researched one among the meditation types. This meditation type helps in increasing intelligence and creativity. In this technique, you need not to master difficult breathing techniques or some special postures. You just need to concentrate by sitting in a relaxed posture or even on a chair. Eventually, with practice you will get what you need out of that meditation be it an answer to a question that is bothering you or a clearer vision regarding something or even just relaxing your busy mind.
Breath and Navel Meditation
It is the oldest one recorded in China as well as in India and one of the most famous among other meditation types. It involves control over breath through different breathing techniques. You need to sit in a relaxed posture and concentrate on your breath, nostrils, or even on your abdomen.
This meditation type involves repetition of a particular word or a sound that becomes the focal point of the meditation. The vibrations that are produced from the word or sound pass through your body. You have to do concentrate on nothing else, but to chant that word or produce the sound again and again. It is one of the most different among various meditation types. In yoga, the mantra “Om” is regularly used since it delivers a deep vibration that makes it easy for the mind to concentrate on that particular sound.
Benefits of Meditation:
While you may not feel flashes of insight when practicing meditation, its effects will become apparent to you later, when you may notice that you responded to a crisis with more calmness, or failed to get “triggered” in a situation that would normally disturb you.
The real miracle of meditation is a subtle transformation that happens not only in your mind and your emotions but also in your body. And, this transformation is a healing one. We say that “Even your cells are more joyful.”
“Today I relax my mind and my body. I am safe.
I am centered, calm and balanced. I declare peace and harmony within me and around me.
The deep, intimate connection I am searching for is within me. I am all that I am looking for.
I am love. All is well.”, the great Louise Hay!
1. Quick mood lifter
To give yourself a quick mood boost simply bring your endocrine system back into balance by working the reflex for the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. To do this simply massage your thumbs on both hands and/or both big toes, paying particular attention to the center of the widest part of the toe or thumb. This area could be a little sensitive to begin with but will improve with continued massage.
2. Beat stress and lethargy
To give yourself an energy lift, banish lethargy and beat stress focus on the areas on the feet or hands which relate to the adrenal glands. By stimulating this area you will regulate your metabolism, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and motivate sluggish intestines. To do so simply massage the middle inner sides of your feet or hands.
3. Stay mentally alert
To give yourself a mental boost you need to focus on the reflex which relates to the thyroid gland. You do this by using your thumb to walk around the base of your big toe or thumb. This is also the area to focus on to aid weight loss, nervousness, rapid heart beat, dry skin and to control the levels of cholesterol in the blood. This gland has also been called the third ovary and has been known to have to have a big impact on women’s health.
4. Banish tension
Deal with stress induced tension, either physical or emotional, by massaging the reflex point with correlates with your nervous system. The spinal cord transmits millions of messages back and forth between the brain and the body while spinal nerves connect to the body’s organs, glands ands structures. It is no wonder then that any abnormal tension on the muscles or ligaments will cause pressure on the spinal nerve. To work your brain roll your finger over the tips of your big toes and to release tension on the spine massage the inside of your foot. Massaging these areas can also help with headache, PMS and constipation.
5. Overall boost
Even if you don’t have a particular problem reflexology can help improve your overall well-being and make you feel more energized.
You can do this by massaging your solar plexus and diaphragm. Do so by drawing an imaginary line down from the second toe to just below the ball of the foot until you find a hollow. If under stress use your thumb to hold this point, while pressing slightly upwards, for 20 seconds. Don’t lose contact as you release pressure, just relax it gently. Try this three times, breathing in as you press in and exhaling as you breath out.
Alternatively you can receive the benefits of reflexology in these and other areas by running a golf ball around in your hands, focusing on the areas where you feel you need the most help. This can even be done while waiting at traffic lights.
It might also to help to walk on smooth pebbles in a driveway. This can’t pin point specific reflexes but can help boost a sense of well-being.
Want to learn more? Check out this video.
How does it work?
The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body.
- the tips of the toes reflect the head
- the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
- the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
- low back and intestines are towards the heel
He believed that certain areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body. This concept was furthered by physiotherapist Eunice Ingham into the modern practice of reflexology.
Practitioners believe that applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed this zone theory in the 1930’s into what is now knows as reflexology.
A scientific explanation is that the pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphin’s that reduce pain and stress.
What will I feel?
Most people find reflexology for the most part to be very relaxing.
Reflexology shouldn’t be painful. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell the reflexologist. He or she should work within your comfort zone.
Some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure.
If you’re ticklish, not to worry. The reflexologist applies firm pressure to the feet.
Why do people get reflexology?
- Stress and stress-related conditions
- Tension headaches
- Digestive disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Sports injuries
- Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Digestive problems, such as constipation
- Back pain
Reflexology is a popular alternative therapy. It promotes relaxation, improves circulation, reduces pain, soothes tired feet, and encourages overall healing.
Reflexology is recommended as a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.
What is a typical reflexology treatment like
A typical treatment is 45 minutes to 60 minutes long and begins with a consultation about your health and lifestyle.
You are then asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit comfortably in a reclining chair or on a massage table. Otherwise you remain fully clothed.
The reflexologist will assess the feet and then stimulates various points to identify areas of tenderness or tension.
The reflexologist then uses brisk movements to warm the feet up. Then pressure is applied from the toes to the heel according to your comfort.
Lotion or oil may be used.
How will I feel after?
Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. They may even feel sleepy.
Occasionally, people feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is only temporary and is considered to be part of the healing process.
If you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor first and let the reflexologist know.
Be sure to give the reflexologist a complete and accurate health history.
If you have foot ulcers, injury, or blood vessel disease such as blood clots, consult your doctor before having reflexology.
By Cathy Wong
The science of meditation has been around and known for thousands of years.
It is one of the most prominent alternative and/ or complementary types of therapy that helps the person heal and get his needed balance on all three levels (physical, emotional and spiritual).
Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or just for that aim in itself.
The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state of mind we wish to achieve.
Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. It may be done sitting, or in a more active way.
Mind science research has suggested that the key to most of the things we want in life, whether it’s abundance, career success, health, happiness or enlightenment, lies in a particular state of mind.
That state of mind if cannot be achieved spontaneously, we may need to consider natural ways to help us get into that; one of which is certainly the meditation.
Scientifically, there are certain brain waves that correspond to that state of mind – in which we are capable to get anything we desire in life; the scientists call this the Alpha and Theta brainwave frequencies.
What would happen if you could reduce the resistance in the human brain?
By training to function at brain frequency levels known as Alpha and Theta; levels of deep relaxation that most people experience while meditating or in light sleep. If you train your mind this way you will see a significant improve in your life on many levels, you can even use that with the kids which may help them improve their grades at school, some research have even found evidence of enhanced intuitive functioning for some people when they started using their brains at the previously mentioned frequencies.
Calmness is the ideal state in which we should receive all life’s experiences,” writes Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship, in the prominent book Inner Peace.
Meditation is the perfect antidote for the constant intrusion of technology in our lives. In fact, recent research has shown that meditating twice per day for about 20 minutes can actually reduce blockages in your blood vessels, significantly lowering the risk of sudden death by heart attack or stroke.
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From the American Academy of Reflexology:
Devotees of hand reflexology maintain that there’s a “map” of the human body on our hands. Every internal organ and every other part of the body – is matched by a corresponding “reflex point” on the fingers, palms, backs, as well as inner and outer edges of the hands.
Applying thumb and finger pressure to the reflex points stimulates nerve impulses that travel to the corresponding body area. These impulses produce a relaxation response. As muscles relax, blood vessels open, increasing circulation, which increase the amount of available oxygen and nutrients – key components of healing-that get to cells in that part of the body.
American physician William Fitzgerald, MD, introduced this therapy in his 1917 book Zone Therapy. The techniques soon expanded to include foot reflexology.
In the decades since, reflexology has been popularized by hundreds of books and used by thousands of “reflexologists.”
Over a hundred research studies supporting the benefits of reflexology have been conducted primarily in Europe, the Middle East, China and the USA.
Reflexology is different from massage therapy and acupressure in that it works with the concept of small reflex maps, that suggest a shape of the human body – found on the feet, hands and outer ears – with touch techniques specific to the field of reflexology.
Some practitioners do ear reflexology, based on a whole-body map similar to the one used in the French and Chinese healing system of ear acupuncture (auriculo-therapy).
For quick relief of everyday pain, muscle tension and other – physical discomfort, the hands remain a prime area to work on. You can unobtrusively do hand reflexology anytime, anywhere-sitting in a meeting…at the computer…in an airplane.
Generally if the problem is on the left side of the body, work on the left hand, right side, the right hand. Frequently it is wise to work on both hands.
Research scientists especially in France, but also in China and the USA suggest the mechanisms of how reflexology works is predominantly through the nervous system.
Caution: Don’t do hand reflexology when you have a hand injury. If you have any medical problem, see a medical doctor. Hand reflexology is not a substitute for medical care.
Apply gentle pressure to the reflex points on your hand, using the thumb roll technique…
To reflex points on your left palm, place the fingers of your right hand on the back of you left hand.
Place the pad of your right thumb on your left palm.
Squeeze gently, pressing in with the thumb. Maintain that pressure.
As you press, bend the thumb so that the tip slowly rolls forward and downward.
Maintaining contact between the right thumb and left palm, straighten the thumb so that it inches forward perhaps one-eighth of an inch over the surface of the reflex area.
Repeat this thumb rolling movement, gradually working over the entire reflex area.
Use the same technique to work reflex points on the palm or fingers. To work reflex points on your right hand, of course, perform the thumb roll with your left hand.
Short fingernails are preferable. If your nails are long, use the sides and corners of your thumb rather than the tip.
Each of the following reflexology mini-sessions should be done for at least five minutes. Work a broad area around the specified reflex points, using the illustrated diagram as a general guideline.
Reflexology theory suggests that when something is not working right in the body, the corresponding reflex in the hand will feel irregular, such as harder, softer, “crunchier” than usual, or just plain tender, when thumb or finger pressure is applied to that part of the hand.
Beneficial results are frequently reported within a session or two. Generally, the longer there has been a problem, such as stress related neck discomforts, the more sessions needed to help the body produce desired relief.
Part of what determines how long results last is if the person re-aggravates the situation, such as repeated strain in the neck. Results can last a short time or permanently.
The eye reflex points are at the base of the index, middle and ring fingers – what is sometimes called the “big knuckles” of the hands, or the metatarsal phalangeal joints. Thumb-roll directly on the knuckle at the base of each-as well as immediately above and bellow the knuckle-on both sides of both hands.
The shoulder reflex points are on the backs of the hands, mainly in the grooves between the long bones. To reflex them, use the tips of your fingers. If your left shoulder is the problem, reflex on your left hand. Put your right thumb flat on your left palm. On the back of your left hand, place the tips of your index, middle and ring fingers in the grooves. Gently apply and maintain even pressure in those grooves, slowly moving your finger tips in the direction of the wrist.
If your right shoulder is the problem, reflex points on you right hand.
The soft portion of the palm on both hands-below the big knuckles-contains many reflex points for the digestive system.
The stomach reflex points are mostly on the left palm. For stomach upset and heartburn, use the thumb roll to work the soft palm just underneath the large knuckles at the base of the index, middle and ring fingers. Work lightly, gradually as the tissue softens, working deeper, increasing the pressure a little at a time, using nurturing, pleasing pressure.
Hand reflexology can relieve the neck pain associated with sitting in one place a long time.
The main reflex points for the neck are on the lower half of the thumbs. Thumb roll the area between the two knuckles of each thumb, rolling from the pad to the tip of your thumb, so that you apply sufficient pressure all the way around this area of the thumb.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
This painful, sometimes immobilizing hand and wrist condition often results from compression of nerves along the forearm. Working on points for the forearm can reduce the pain. These reflex points are on the outer edge of the hands, midway between the base of the pinkie and wrist.
Thumb roll this hand area completely on whichever arm has the problem.
Caution: Although reflexology can help ease pain for carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition is serious and could require medical attention. If you have symptoms, see a doctor without delay.
Reflex points for the spine are on the inner edge of the hand, from the bottom of the thumb to the wrist. Use the thumb roll to reflex this area on both hands. Reflex points for the lower back are on the inner edge of the hand toward the wrist.
After any reflexology session it is frequently suggested to drink extra water, to help flush out any toxins that might have been released from the tissues into the blood.