Reflexology may help usher tired and stressed individuals into a state of relaxation while also delivering many health benefits. There are several benefits believed to come from the neural stimulation of reflexology. While it isn’t used as a stand-alone treatment for health-related problems, it may be a complementary therapy for people struggling with certain conditions.
Reflexology, or zone theory, says that each part of the foot, hand, or ear corresponds with a particular part of the body. Much like acupuncture targets nerves corresponding to certain parts of the body, reflexology applies pressure to a particular zone to target specific areas of the body. By stimulating different nerve endings, the neural pathways are essentially being exercised and cleaned out. This is thought to increase their function and efficiency in the body. Reflexology may stimulate as many as 7,000 nerve endings in one session. Since nerves are responsible for coordinating functions within all parts of the body, it is no wonder that there is such a wide variety of benefits claimed by reflexologists.
Research is still needed to determine the exact ways that this therapy can benefit our body, but initial findings suggest it may be helpful for pain relief, relaxation, anxiety reduction, managing labor pain, and improving sinus problems. In some situations, reflexology may be used as a complementing therapy for certain conditions. In studies, cancer patients found that reflexology helped ease the side effects of chemotherapy. They also found patients experienced less anxiety and had an easier time sleeping. While this therapy can be helpful for many people, it is not always right for everyone. Make sure to consult with your doctor before starting reflexology.
What to Expect
Much like with massage, reflexology is usually performed in a quiet spa-like environment. Soft music and dim lights may enhance your experience. Most sessions range from half an hour to an hour-long in duration. Depending on what your needs are, your reflexologist may work on a combination of your feet, hands, and ears. The results are different for everyone depending on the length and frequency of sessions. Some come away feeling ultra-relaxed while others may leave feeling energetic and revived.
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