Reflexology, Underfoot of it All!
What is Reflexology? Well depending on who you ask and where you learn it from it varies. Most styles that I have been able to study about have a lot of similarities, and information overlaps. Some trigger points are different but not by far from where others may think.
Regardless of where one philosophizes where each trigger point may be. The bigger question we should ask, does it work?
Reflexology can be done, most commonly on the feet and/or hands but it also can be done on the face and ears. (For those squeamish about your feet being touched you have options) It is said that the Hands and Feet are the mirror to the body, trigger points that correspond with the muscles, organs and glands. But is it true?
There are studies done with patients who have had MS and Reflexology done on a regular basis. According to https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/reflexology a study was completed back in June 2017 showing that Reflexology has been investigated in a variety of studies to see whether it can help with MS symptoms.
In one study, 71 patients were randomized to either reflexology treatment with manual pressure on specific points of the feet and massage of the calf area, or to non-specific massage of the calf area only. 53 patients completed the study and there were significant improvements in the mean scores of paraesthesia (abnormal sensations such as pins and needles), bladder symptoms, muscle strength and spasticity.
In another study, 73 people received either reflexology or basic foot massage weekly for ten weeks, primarily as a treatment for pain. Both groups showed benefit in pain, fatigue, depression and spasms with no clear difference between reflexology and massage. The effect on pain lasted for up to 12 weeks.
More recently, three separate studies compared the effects of reflexology and relaxation on fatigue, pain and psychological symptoms (anxiety, stress and depression) in women with MS. In each of these studies, reflexology was given to 25 women with MS for four weeks, twice a week for 40 minutes. Results were collected through a questionnaire completed before, immediately after and two months after treatment. In all of the studies, reflexology was found to reduce the severity of these symptoms and was recommended as an 'effective technique'.
Reflexology has also been involved in multiple studies, from headaches, stress and PMS to Cancer treatment. A lot of these studies show that Reflexology does make some sort of positive impact on the treatment for the client.
Is Reflexology right for you?
Are you on your feet all the time, moving lifting, weight bearing, how about on your keyboard at your desk, you are constantly using your feet and hands but honestly, you won't know unless you try it.
There are some contraindications (reasons why reflexology shouldn't be performed) Such as sever edema (swelling) recent surgery, fractures, sprains or even Gout.
It is always best to talk to you MD to see if Reflexology can be beneficial for you. A certified Reflexologist will not and should not diagnose you for any reason, they will not prescribe anything of any kind, and they do not treat for just one condition, they will treat both feet and hands, spending more time in areas that need attention. They work no higher than the calf or forearm and you remain dressed for your session.
I will tell you first hand I have used reflexology in my sessions as a stand alone or even integrated into a massage session, the clients come off the table feeling better than they had before.
Do I believe that Reflexology is the end all to be all and can cure anything, I do not but I do think that in conjunction with other therapies it can only help enhance the clients experience and help promote relaxation and healing with-in the body.