You have over 72,000 nerve endings in your feet, and each one corresponds to a different area of the body, says certified reflexologist Jennifer Saraswati Moulden. Reflexologists apply pressure to these points with their hands to achieve overall well-being of mind, body and soul, or to treat specific symptoms and diseases. Soaking the feet works on a similar principal and is a complementary treatment to reflexology. The information in this article is not meant to replace advice from a medical professional.
Emotional and Mental Well-Being
According to "Reflexology Basics," Reflexology helps overall well-being by inducing deep relaxation, which relieves stress and tension and rebalances the mind and emotions. Seek out a trained reflexologist to help create a feeling of contentment, enhance mental concentration, calm anxiety or raise energy levels when weak. Visit the reflexologist once a month for general maintenance and well-being, says Moulden.
The body's natural tendency is toward homeostasis, a condition of equilibrium in the body that allows it to maintain a stable healthy condition despite toxins or fluctuations in the outer environment. Reflexology achieves relaxation to allow the body's natural intelligence to heal underlying causes of ailments. It also increases circulation to the areas treated, bringing detoxification and increased nourishment to that part of the body. Try reflexology as a compliment to conventional treatments for abnormal blood pressure and hormone levels, aches and pains, digestive problems and impaired joint mobility, and to enhance immune functioning.
Schedule weekly reflexology sessions to relieve the symptoms of chronic conditions, says Moulden. According to the International Council of Reflexologists, reflexology has been used successfully to treat symptoms associated with a broad variety of conditions ranging from diabetes to endometriosis to fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to ameliorate the effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients.
Soaking the Feet
Soaking the feet also works on the principal that the feet are connected to every part of the body and uses the healing power of water to bring relaxation and draw toxins out of the body through sweat glands in the feet. For simple relaxation and detoxification at home, soak your feet in a basin of warm water. Add lavender essential oil or lemon juices to refresh, tea tree oil for fungal infection, and ginger or rosemary infusion to warm up in winter, advises "Reflexology Basics."
Don't get reflexology when you have a fever, and if you suffer from a chronic or serious condition get your doctor's consent before starting treatments. Use light pressure reflexology after surgery in cases of osteoporosis and for babies or elderly people. If you are pregnant or think you might be, let your reflexologist know since she will want to avoid treating reflex points of the reproductive region in pregnancy, recommends "Reflexology Basics."
- Interview with Jennifer Saraswati Moulden, Certified Reflexologist
- Reflexology Basics; Wichello Brown, Denise; 2001
- Reflexology Association of America
Based in Bethesda, Md., Brigid Rauch has been writing about health and nutrition since 2007. Her work has appeared on websites for companies like Honest Tea. Rauch holds a master's degree in urban planning from University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and teaches classes in Ayurvedic holistic medicine for moms and pregnant women.