Although we have been around for thousands of years, the truth is that there is yet so much we do not know about the world in which we live. Our bodies themselves are a mystery from many points of view and even though medical research is making huge leaps with every day that passes by, there are still many medical conditions we have not learned how to cure. Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a syndrome that has been acknowledged as standing on its own quite recently and it affects millions of people from all over the world – and yet, we still do not know exactly what it is that causes it.
Beyond traditional medicine – the one you will encounter in your doctor’s office and in hospitals, for example – there are many other types of alternative treatments that seem to be efficient in treating various afflictions. Many of them come from the Far East (such as Tai Chi and acupuncture, for example). Some of them are closer to us (Yoga, Ayurveda). And others are Western-born (or at least Western-adapted). Among all these alternative therapies, reflexology still plays a very important role.
What is Reflexology?
Put very simply, people who practice reflexology believe that they can alleviate certain symptoms by massaging specific pressure points in the human body. More specifically, reflexologists will apply pressure using very particular hand, finger or thumb techniques on very particular areas on the foot, on the hand or on the ear. According to them, a human foot, for example, reflects the entire body and applying pressure on the area that corresponds with a particular area can help alleviate the pain or problem in that area. When they do this, they believe they are manipulating one’s Qi (which, in the Chinese culture, is the active principle at the core of any living being).
Reflexologists divide the human body in 10 vertical areas – 5 of which are for the right side and the other 5 are for the left side. According to the medical condition one is suffering from, these areas are represented on the foot, on the hand or on the ear and pressing on very specific points can make the patient’s condition better.
What Can Reflexology Treat?
Reflexology practitioners believe that there is a wide series of medical conditions that can be cured or treated with the help of the massages applied on specific pressure points. Some of the medical conditions and symptoms believed to be ameliorated by reflexology include the following:
- The symptoms that follow an injury
- Poor blood circulation
- Pre-menstrual symptoms (menstrual cramps, vomiting, nausea, headaches, and so on)
- Menopause symptoms
- Issues with the endocrine system
- Back pain (and other types of chronic pain too)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Poor digestion
- Bladder issues
- Respiratory issues
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Nausea following chemotherapy
- Pressure on the legs and feet of the pregnant women
- Sleep disorders
Some people attend reflexology sessions also because they want to balance their Yin and Yang – the feminine and masculine parts of their beings (according to the Chinese culture). Balancing Yin and Yang is believed to bring one health, peace and harmony in life.
Reflexology Pressure Points for Various Symptoms
It is highly recommended that you only attend sessions held by an actual specialist in this field if you want to reap the benefits this Eastern practice can bring into your life. However, there are certain “first-aid” pressure points you can massage yourself as well. Here are the things you may want to do under specific circumstances:
1- If you experience neck tension, you should try to apply pressure on the joints of your little toes (all 8 of them). Gently massage the “necks” of the toes and you will start to experience tension in one of the toes at least (which represent the area of the neck where you are experiencing tension as well).
2- If you experience headache tension, massage your big toes because they are the ones which represent your head.
3- If you experience discomfort in the area of the chest (lungs, airways, heart, shoulders and so on), massage the balls of your feet.
4- If you experience discomfort in the area of the abdomen (including the organs found in the area), you should massage the heel of your foot- on which no weight is put when you make a step.
5- If you experience discomfort or tension in the arms and/or legs, you should massage the outer edges of your feet, as they are the ones responsible with your limbs.
6- Insomnia is another issue that can be treated with the help of reflexology, but it is important that you determine with as much precision as possible what the cause of your insomnia is. If you cannot fall asleep due to stress, anxiety or other mental or emotional issues, you should massage the same points you massage for relieving tension and anxiety.
If the insomnia is caused by breathing problems, you should massage the balls of the feet (responsible with the chest area, as it was also mentioned above). Furthermore, if your insomnia is caused by the so-called restless leg syndrome, you should massage the area responsible with the heart. Last, but not least, if the insomnia is caused by digestive issues, the area responsible with digestion should be massaged.
7- Migraines can be relieved by massaging the entire surface of your toes. Simply press the thumb on each of your toes and you should feel a relief in the intensity of your migraine.
8- If you have headaches caused by sinusitis or by tension, massage the areas responsible with that (the necks of the 8 toes on your feet).
Of course, these are just some general guidelines on what to do if you experience certain types of pain or discomfort. If you want to treat diseases or medical conditions that are more complex than this, you should visit a reflexologist. Also, it is recommended that you use reflexology as an alternative treatment and that you also call for the help of the “traditional” medicine as well, especially when it comes to harsh medical conditions.