Reflexology or zone therapy is an alternative method of medicine that involves the application of pressure to the hands, feet, or ears with specific hand, finger, or thumb techniques. No lotion or oil is used, and practitioners of reflexology say it is based on system of zones or reflex areas that produce a sort of mirror image on the hands and feet. Manipulation of these “mirror” images can bring about physical changes to the body. In other words, by massaging specific areas of the feet and hands, specific diseases in other parts of the body can be cured.
In several countries, reflexology is used by a large amount of the population as an alternative treatment to western medicine. In Denmark, over 20% of the inhabitants have received a reflexology treatment and according to the University of Minnesota’s Taking Charge of Your Health website:
“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.”
Although reflexologists claim that their methods can cure a variety of illnesses and conditions, most people try reflexology to alleviate stress and to alleviate pain. On the topic of reflexology providing effective pain relief, the National Center for Biotechnology Information states that reflexology, on a case-by-case basis, has been found to be useful. One of the very positive notes about the method is that it is non-invasive and non-pharmacological, meaning that drugs are not given to the patient.
Reflexology is effective when it comes to alleviating stress, and when it comes to the proven mind-body connection in healing, tension relief can indeed help alleviate pain.
A method to alleviate insomnia and release stress
There are many “self reflexology” techniques that people can practice at home in order to relax. One technique that helps alleviate insomnia and tension involves using smooth rocks or golf balls in order to massage the “K1” zone.
To massage the foot’s K1 zone, also known as the Chinese Sleep Point or the Well Point, which is located about 1 inch deep in the plantar muscle, you simply sit (or stand if it is not too painful) and roll your foot gently over a smooth round rock or a ball the size of a golf ball. This may need to be done for a few minutes until a small pin-point of pain is felt; this slight pain indicates that the K1 spot has been found. Once located, you simply apply a bit of downward pressure on the point and hold for about 30 seconds. The procedure should be repeated two or three times for each foot. The benefits of this particular move will relax you and alleviate tension in both sides of your body, allowing for a good night’s sleep.
While reflexology so far has not been able to prove that it can cure diseases, when it comes to the mind-body connection, it can be a powerful tool for providing effective pain relief in the entire body. Science shows that stress relief and a good night’s sleep can do wonders for a person’s mood, which in turn can help alleviate pain.
For this reason alone, reflexology is a great addition to the natural relief of stress and pain symptoms. I'd love to hear about your experiences with reflexology – did you find that it helped you and to what degree?