With ever increasing levels of stress in everyday life, more and more people are seeking ways to take responsibility for their own wellbeing by turning to natural methods such as meditation, yoga, massage and reflexology.
Finding a way to enter a deep state of relaxation calms body and mind and allows the space to rebalance and centre ourselves which is so crucial for our overall health. The mind-body connection is very powerful and it is now widely accepted that we can make ourselves unwell through high levels of stress and a lack of attention to our mental, emotional and physical state.
Reflexology aims to rebalance body and mind and can be a powerful way of mitigating the stresses in modern life.
Based on ancient Chinese practices it involves applying pressure to areas of the feet which correspond to specific parts or functions of the body. Many believe it works in a similar way to acupuncture simulating the meridians (energy lines) in the body and releasing blockages.
Research and Rising Popularity
The Association of Reflexologists in the UK says Japanese research from 2008, using MRI scans, showed a link between foot reflexology points and a brain reaction, suggesting the link from pressure points to organs occurs through a blood flow reaction in the brain. Unfortunately larger studies are limited because of funding issues and getting the mainstream medical community to participate.
This has not stopped reflexology’s rising popularity and more and more people are discovering its benefits. I have had clients who have been referred by their GPs and some fertility clinics e.g. The Lister Hospital are offering it alongside IVF. The Association of Reflexologists states it’s the second most-offered complementary therapy after counselling. Cancer Research UK recognises that it is very popular with cancer patients and that many hospitals and cancer units now offer it free of charge .
Key Points for Stress Release
Two of the key reflex points to work on the feet for stress are the solar plexus/diaphragm area where we hold anxiety which often causes shortness of breath, and the adrenal glands which control our levels of stress hormones.
Working the points involves using the thumb to press into the point for around 5 seconds and gently massaging the area in a circular motion.
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