Foot Reflexology, Process & Benefits
The benefits of Foot Massage and Reflexology includes helps control blood pressure, improves nerve sensitivity, improve energy level, improves blood circulation, helps promote sleep, improves liver function, treat migraines and headaches, speed up healing of wounds, treat arthritis, useful for depression, and helps reduce swollen feet.
If you were to take a poll of the most unappreciated parts of the body, your feet would likely rank high on the list if not at the very top of it. Which begs the question; when last have you taken the time to pamper your feet, or even offer a gentle massage? Chances are, not recently.
What is Foot Massage and Reflexology?
Introducing foot massages and reflexology, practices which can help to support the well-being of your feet and your body as a whole, since your feet are subject to many tons of pressure over the course of your life. Feet reflexology is a very old practice dating back to ancient Chinese medicine, where it was believed that certain areas on the feet correspond with other body organs, and can help to influence their health.
The foot is believed to have specific reflex points, which under-stimulation can help the body heal itself. Reflexology and foot massages are now commonly used in alternative medicine, as it is considered very safe and likely to benefit you. Wondering what are some of the benefits you can experience from reflexology and foot massages? Let’s check them out now
1. Helps Control Blood Pressure
While we may not make wild claims that reflexology will permanently cure high blood pressure, there is evidence to indicate that when performed regularly, it can help to lower your systolic blood pressure. It most likely does this thanks to its ability to reduce stress and to help you relax. Cortisol is a known contributor to high blood pressure, so anything you could do to help keep it under wraps would benefit your blood vessel health.
2. Improves Nerve Sensitivity
Reflexology and foot massages seem to be of particular benefit in persons who may have experienced diminished nerve function secondary to another condition. For example, people diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes may experience complications due to neuropathy, which results in loss of sensation in areas of the body, especially the legs and arms. This is more frequent in the legs, and can be improved with massage and by directly stimulating the reflex points at the bottom of your feet. Reflexology may also help to improve blood flow to these areas, which would explain the return to function of some of these nerves.
3. Improves Energy Levels
As reflexology is believed to help enhance the function of several other organs, many people report improvements to their energy levels and metabolism to a lesser extent. By improving the function of many accessory organs, the processing of food is likely to become more efficient and you experience a nice boost in energy as a result.
4. Improves Blood Circulation
It seems that one of the most well-known benefits of foot reflexology is its ability to improve blood flow throughout the whole body. Improved circulation translates to more efficient oxygenation of cells, and more rapid recovery following a workout or an injury.
5. Helps Promote Sleep
Thanks to its ability to improve the functioning of the nervous system, it also appears that neurotransmitters are better able to promote sleep and relaxation as nighttime approaches. Reflexology has also often been sought out to help manage insomnia, helping to restore your normal circadian rhythm.
6. Improves Liver Function
Virtually anything that you put in your mouth needs to pass through the liver for processing prior to entering systematic blood circulation. For this reason, the liver endures quite the beating, and needs supports to function optimally at all times. Any decrease in function of the liver could lead to dangerous accumulation of waste matter which would’ve otherwise been removed by the organ. Reflexology can help to reset elevated liver enzymes values, and ensure that substances are metabolized in an efficient manner, keeping your body safe.
7. Treatment For Migraines And Headaches
Millions of people all over the world suffer from headaches and intractable migraines, needing to resort to medication frequently. However, this is not ideal as these medications could carry significant risk of side effects. Foot reflexology can help to reduce the pain associated with migraines, by decreasing the impact of the hormone cortisol on our blood vessels, reducing muscular tension and helping to calm us. Often times headaches and migraines occur due to high stress burdens or lack of sleep, both of which reflexology sessions can help you with.
8. Speeds Up The Healing Of Wounds
Reflexology is able to improve blood circulation as was previously mentioned, and when combined with an efficient nervous system that quickly relays to the immune system the need for specialized immune mediators, healing can quickly ensue. Of course, the more efficient its process is the faster you will recover and be able to get back to your daily routine as well.
9. Treatment Of Arthritis
While many people advise against massaging arthritic joints, reflexology works by virtue of reducing the need for pain mediators known as prostaglandins, and subsequently inflammatory processes. Thus, even if arthritis affects your wrist, foot reflexology will still help to reduce the pain you experience. People that routinely use reflexology report up to 40% decrease in painful symptoms, and less need for medication.
10. Useful For Depression
While depression is frequently caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitter levels, lack of sleep or high anxiety and stress levels can induce a state similar to depression. A foot massage and reflexology performed twice-weekly can help to minimize these symptoms, especially when under high stress. Reflexology is even preferred over medication when treating postmenopausal women who may not necessarily need potent drugs, but just a natural way to optimize hormonal and brain chemistry.
11. Chronic Sinusitis
While migraines are attributed to dilated blood vessels under the surface of the scalp, sinus congestion is also caused by a similar mechanism. This is more likely if you suffer from seasonal allergies or asthma. Breathing becomes harder, and you find yourself unable to partake in physical activity.
Foot reflexology can help to relieve symptoms of sinusitis, allowing you to breathe easier and not have to rely on medication all the time.
12. Helps Reduce Swollen Feet
Feet can become swollen for a number of reasons including high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney disease or even pregnancy. Regardless of the cause, you need to find a way to remove excess fluid that is pooling in your feet and ease the discomfort.
Foot massages are advised during pregnancy for this exact reason, as anything that promotes circulation will generally help to reduce swelling of the feet. Reflexology, in addition to improving the circulation will also stimulate diuresis and enhance kidney function, so that the salt balance of the body remains optimal.
13. Reduces Symptoms Of PMS
Many women experience symptoms of PMS just before their monthly menstrual period, occurring with emotional disturbances, irritability and fatigue. While foot reflexology is not the cure for these symptoms, it does help in dealing with them, often reducing their severity and shortening the length of time you experience them.