Reflexology dates back thousands of years as a preferred bodywork treatment for promoting relaxation and healing specific pain, ailments or conditions. By focusing on the body's nervous system and connective energy meridians located in the feet, hands and ears, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals believe that reflexology is an effective method for addressing common conditions that massage helps as well as an effective technique for addressing health concerns that aren't typically accessible with regular massage, including problems with internal organs or body systems.
Get Into the Zone
Massage therapists who use reflexology during their massages focus on applying pressure to a certain place on your foot, hand or ear that corresponds with the specific zone and area of your body where you are feeling pain or discomfort. The overall premise of reflexology is that your body is divided into 10 vertical zones that run the length of your body, says Banks. Each of your fingers and toes represent one of the zones, connecting the nerve endings in your extremities to relieving pain in the corresponding area of your body. Reflexology also can help stimulate body energies and optimize organ functions.
According to the Maine Council of Reflexologists, there are approximately 7,200 nerve endings in each foot, 2,500 in each hand and 435 in each of your ears that correspond to every part of your body. These nerve endings also are responsible for sending messages to the brain about the specific area in the body that is stressed or in pain so that the brain can respond by producing endorphins to naturally heal the area of concern. Overall, the most common areas in your body that reflexology can help improve include the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic system, as well as sensory stimulation, biomechanics and relaxation responses.
Hands and Feet Connect the Body and Soul
Our hands and feet might be the furthest extremities from the core of our body, but they are two of the most important areas to focus on during a massage to promote relaxation and healing throughout the body. Using simple kneading strokes and applying pressure on various areas of the hands and feet can help increase the circulatory functionality of the body, increase relaxation and decrease pain in corresponding zones that align with specific areas on the foot and hand.
As stress levels continue to rise throughout your daily life, finding techniques and strategies to help calm your mind and body is important to your longevity and outlook on life. Reflexology is a therapy option that can help to enhance the relaxation benefits of a regular massage while stimulating your body's natural energy zones and connective properties. Give a little more focus to your hands and feet during your next massage therapy session and reap the benefits of a truly therapeutic healing experience.