Reflexology is, in its simplest definition, the study of how one part of the human body relates to another part of the body. Reflexology professionals use a foot and hand reflex map for all internal organs and other parts of the human body.
It’s believed that, by applying the appropriate pressure and massaging certain points on the feet and hands, all other parts of the body can be energized and rejuvenated, obtaining the effectiveness and the desired result. This article aims to define the concept of Reflexology by examining its effectiveness, practices and treatments.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy and not an alternative therapy to other treatments already adopted by the patient and can be practiced in conjunction with any other treatment that is already being carried out.
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Overall, Reflexology improves the condition and well-being of the body at a physical, emotional and spiritual level:
- The therapy doesn’t use any drugs and / or chemicals, being a wide option for many health problems.
- Promotes a general feeling of relaxation, especially on excessively tired feet.
- Stimulates the release of chemicals that help relieve pain.
- It promotes the recovery process of several injuries, as well as its prevention.
Results of recent studies confirm the effectiveness of Reflexology, registering 31% pain reduction among patients with spinal pain (Reflexology in the management of low back pain: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2008).
Here are some of the different uses of Reflexology and its benefits:
Treatment of low back pain: in general, patients showed good effects in the treatment of pain when using reflexology as a complementary treatment (Myofascial pain syndrome in chronic back pain patients. Korean J Pain. 2011).
Migraine / headache: the results obtained show that 55% of patients obtained relief, 11% stopped taking their medications and 23% did not express relevant results (An Investigation into the Efficacy of Reflexology on Acute Pain in Healthy Human Subjects. Ebenezer , Ivor. 2011).
Stroke: Reflexology professionals believe that the pressure exerted at specific points in the reflex areas can induce positive results and beneficial physical changes.
Stress reduction: there is a significant reduction in stress, which can be determined by measuring the heart rate, breaths and blood pressure of patients who performed between two to three five-minute reflexology sessions (Immediate effects of a five-minute foot massage on patients in critical care. Hayes, J. and Cox, C. 1999).
Multiple Sclerosis: a study with a patient who suffered from multiple sclerosis when undergoing reflexology treatment, as a complementary treatment, showed a remarkable relief of symptoms. (Reflexology treatment relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled study. Siev-Ner, I. et al. 2003).
Reflexology professionals have argued that it’s effective for the general maintenance of well-being and treatment of chronic diseases. Due to its relaxing massage and complementary non-medicated nature, Reflexology is widely accepted by the general public. However, it’s important to look for an accredited professional who guarantees the provision of correct and consistent services.
By Ricardo Rodrigues, Massage Therapist at Academia Bodylab
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