REFLEXOLOGY IN THE FOREST OF DEAN
I think it’s true that most people are very sceptical about reflexology. Although there is a small body of research confirming its benefits, one still has to be cautious when making claims about these. However, there are two things, at least, that we can be sure about.
Firstly, it has been demonstrated that reflexology encourages the release of endorphins. The word is derived from ‘endogenous’ and ‘morphine’ and is intended to mean a ‘morphine like substance originating from within the body. The function of endorphins is to inhibit the transmission of pain signals and, additionally, they can produce a feeling of euphoria. Hence, reflexology can help relieve pain and produce a ‘feel good’ factor.
Secondly, researchers have noted that the brainwaves of people undergoing a reflexology session tend to switch to alpha rhythm mode. This brain pattern is associated with suppression of depressive thoughts and chronic pain signals. Again, one can see the connection reflexology has to controlling pain and feeling better in oneself.
I could add numerous additional benefits derived from my own observations with clients. Improved circulation, enhanced immune system, relaxation, relief of stress, release from grief and trauma to name but a few but cynics are not usually impressed. I tell them that reflexology is a holistic treatment that helps the body to heal itself but they smile and think it’s a load of quackery or just not for them.
Therefore, let me approach the subject from a different angle and talk purely about the treatment of the feet. Not only do we stand around on our feet but take perhaps 10,000 steps per day and take it for granted that our feet will carry our often overweight bodies around for a lifetime. We don’t help when we wear ill fitting shoes or those designed for fashion rather than comfort. We suffer a host of complaints from bunions to plantar fasciitis and rarely do anything about it until the condition is chronic. In truth, we don’t give our feet the attention they deserve.
If one looks at the structure of the foot, there are 20 muscles as well as ligaments and tendons along with 26 bones (28 if you include the sesamoid bones at the base of the big toe) and their associated joints. There are blood vessels, lymph vessels and over 7000 nerve endings not to mention the skin. That’s quite a lot to look after!
So what has that to do with reflexology? Well, in my experience an extensive foot massage which forms a part of my reflexology treatments can bring great benefits. I have helped athletes and those with a variety sore and aching foot complaints. It seems to me that even if you are dubious about the general health benefits bestowed by reflexology, the purely physical benefits to the foot structure are themselves invaluable so my message is that if you don’t want to be associated with the term ‘reflexology’, just come for a foot massage. In view of what they do for you, surely it’s time to ‘give your feet a treat’.
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