Reflexology is good for everyone! It is completely safe and there are almost no contraindications.
By using therapeutic touch the reflexologist instigates a normalising or balancing reaction from the client’s body, stimulates the immune system, and promotes feelings of wellbeing. The benefits of reflexology are many, but include:
- Relieving stress. Stress is the physiological reaction caused by the perception of danger. The physiological responses that accompany this perception prepare us for the strenuous efforts required to fight rivals or run away from dangerous situations. The autonomic nervous system is activated and stress hormones, mainly cortisol, are produced which mobilise the body’s energy resources to the muscles, lungs and circulation, and away from the digestive system, gonads and immune system. Normally this situation will be short lived and we will either fight or run away from the danger and then our physiological condition will return to normal, but although the short term effects of cortisol are essential, the long term effects are damaging. These effects include high blood pressure (leading to heart attacks and stroke), damage to muscle tissue, diabetes, infertility, inhibition of growth, inhibition of inflammatory responses (making it more difficult for the body to heal itself after injury), and suppression of the immune system (which makes an individual vulnerable to infections and possibly cancer). Long term exposure to cortisol has even been shown to destroy neurons and so also causes brain damage. Research has shown that up to 80% of illnesses are related to stress, and so relieving stress is of immense importance to our health.
- Improving Circulation. The feet are the furthest point from the heart, and the place where the effect of gravity is the greatest. It is theorised that calcium, uric acid, and lymphatic deposits accumulate in the feet and interfere with normal circulation of blood and lymph. Reflexology breaks up and moves these deposits restoring normal circulation so that nutrients, oxygen, hormones and waste products can circulate properly again.
- Boosting the Immune System. Stress dampens down the immune response, so by relieving stress reflexology assists your immune system to function more efficiently and helps the body to begin the healing process.
- Detoxifying. Toxins from our environment can build up in the body eventually causing ill health. By improving circulation and boosting the immune system toxins are brought into the circulation and eliminated from your body. This may be experienced as increased urination, unusual smelling urine, headaches, flatulence, feeling cold, or perspiring. These effects are usually short lived and can be helped by drinking water.
- Reducing Pain. Reflexology is used effectively to manage chronic pain, labour pains, and cancer pain. There are close to 7,000 nerve endings in the feet. Reflexology may stimulate these nerves and the central nervous system, which in turn interrupts or alters the way you feel pain. Reflexology has an amazing ability to induce a deep state of relaxation. As a result, reflexology’s primary role in pain treatment may simply be to allow you to relax, breaking the cycles of pain and stress that feed into each other.
- Inducing Relaxation. Reflexology induces a deep and therapeutic relaxation. When we are in a relaxed state our body is able to use resources for self-healing. Relaxation also lifts our mood and helps learning processes and memory. It can also improve sleep. Improved sleep increases your energy levels, allows you to concentrate better during the day, and gives you the strength to cope with daily life.