Have you ever said no to a foot rub? Didn’t think so…
A foot massage feels amazing because most people punish their feet – standing on a hard floor like concrete all day without the proper support or squishing their feet into an uncomfortable pair of shoes in the name of fashion. No matter how gorgeous the high heels, feet can really take a beating! It’s no surprise then that the healing touch on tender tootsies can feel like heaven on earth.
Although quite a different approach than a foot massage, foot reflexology is a manual therapy focusing on the feet. It’s believed that applying pressure on certain areas of the feet can heal ailments elsewhere in the body and that massaging these areas can stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system to heal itself.
Since your feet are also meant to support the weight of your body (which is no small feat, pardon the pun!), nerve endings in the feet often get stressed or damaged which can lead to blocked or “stagnant” qi. When qi is not flowing freely through the channels, this can cause an imbalance in the body which can lead to lower back pain for example. Using various techniques to revitalize these nerve endings and get the qi moving again, foot reflexology is a holistic approach to alleviating symptoms of pain and treating a number of other conditions.
Rooted in traditional Chinese Medicine, foot reflexology uses the microsystem to treat the macrosystem. Certain points on the feet correspond to certain organs and so the treatment is a whole body experience which can be profoundly beneficial to health (as well as deeply relaxing).
Several meridians begin in the feet and flow up the body including: the spleen, liver, kidney, bladder and gallbladder. Foot reflexology techniques can stimulate and balance energy in those meridians (and organs and body parts by correlation) and so reflexology can be very effective to stimulate digestion for example.
Similar to acupuncture which uses “meridians”, reflexology uses "reflex maps" of points and areas of the body in the feet. Foot reflexology releases endorphins as well as reduces stress hormones so it can also be a beneficial treatment for anxiety and depression.
Looking for a good qi workout? If you’ve never experienced meridian work – especially for those of you who may shy away from acupuncture pins – foot reflexology may just be your match. It also works well in conjunction with other modalities and is a "preventative" therapy (reflexology is a big immune booster and can help to ward off the cold and flu). It's also easy to treat yourself and others so the next time you need a good night's sleep, check out some DIY reflexology moves here. Explore reflexology today to improve vitality and overall health. Your feet will thank you for that extra spring in your step!
Psst...check with your health insurance to see if you have medical coverage for registered reflexology as more and more companies are including it!