What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is an ancient healing therapy that has been utilized throughout the world and throughout history. There is evidence of its use from ancient Egypt, to China, Europe and has spread in the last century to North America. It is very popular today in Europe and gaining popularity in Canada and the U.S. Due to its non-invasive approach to balancing the body, providing stress relief, promoting overall health, and generally adding to quality of life for those who receive it regularly.
Reflexology is a gentle method of assisting the body to attain a state of homeostasis (or balance) by stimulating energy reflex points on the feet. The feet have over 7,000 nerve endings, which correlate with different parts of the body. By methodically working the different reflexes on the feet, specific organs, systems, glands and musculoskeletal regions of the body can be stimulated to balance or function more optimally.
Reflexology has been known to assist with:
- Sleep Problems
- Autoimmune Issues / Chronic Pain
- Back Problems
- Digestive Problems
- Hormone Balancing
- Infertility/Endocrine Imbalances
- Skin Conditions
- Lymphatic Flow
- Neurological System
- Chronic Fatigue
A Typical Session
A typical Reflexology session is usually an hour long. Though different types of Reflexology exist (auricular, hands and face), my personal focus as a therapist is solely the feet (no pun intended!). When you come in, we will discuss what you have going on in your body, emotions and circumstances, as well as your goals for your health. I will make you a personal aromatherapy blend to use during your session.
During your Reflexology session, you will be laying on a Migun Therapy table, which will add to the healing potential of your treatment and further benefit the body. Migun Therapy is a chiropractic inspired therapy in which you receive meridian acupressure with far infrared heat and mechanical massage. Migun Therapy on its own has been shown to improve many conditions such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, urinary problems, prostate problems, menstrual cycle concerns and many others. It improves circulation and lymphatic flow. It also may assist with the immune system, lymphatic and integumentary health.
Healing music (either healing frequency music that benefits specific function in the body or healing worship music) will be played to help you fully relax – body , mind and spirit.
Most people can’t help but fall asleep, as Reflexology may help the nervous system go from the sympathetic state (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic state (rest and repair), which most of us rarely attain in our fast-paced and high-demand society. Many have told me it is the most relaxed they have ever been.
What to Expect After Your Session
Most people feel amazing and even euphoric after their Reflexology session. Many report better sleep, less pain, improved digestion, more focus and relief from allergies and other various health problems.
Some people will experience what I call a “healing reaction” or “healing response”. This is a positive process the body sometimes goes through as it makes changes towards healing. This can look like fatigue, headache, achiness, changes in digestion, changes in sleep patterns, etc. This is very specific to the individual and looks different for everyone, depending on one’s state of health. Typically, the more chronic and deep-seated one’s health issues are, the more profound the healing reaction may be. Please know that a healing reaction, though sometimes a bit unpleasant or uncomfortable, is a very positive thing. This type of reaction can occur with any changes towards health including positive diet changes, detox therapies such as oxygen therapies or infrared therapies, nutritional supplementation, heavy metal chelation, etc.
How Often Should You Come?
Many people ask me how often they should come for Reflexology, and how long to continue treatments. The answer to this is it depends on what you have going on… in your body, emotions and life circumstances.
Though there haven’t been just a ton of research studies done measuring the effects of Reflexology on specific health concerns, the ones that have been done are for fairly frequent treatment. A study performed in California showed weekly Reflexology treatments to be an effective way to assist with various symptoms associated with PMS. Another study of shorter, more frequent treatments (twice a week for 40 minutes) showed Reflexology to be a great way to manage fatigue and other symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Both of these studies showed the results of improvement from Reflexology to last 2-3 months after receiving treatments!
For acute and chronic health concerns, I do recommend coming at least twice a month, and even more if possible. Some people will need more, and some will need less. A good starting point for most conditions is every other week, then monitor your results and adjust the frequency of treatment from there. Personally, and in clinical practice, I find once a month to be a good maintenance treatment frequency once one has achieved the level of health desired.
I strongly recommend giving Reflexology at least 6 months, for specific health goals. Everybody’s body is unique, and healing is a process that looks different for everyone. An example of this is my work with infertility. I have had women come literally one time and have success, and have had others be consistent with Reflexology (and other lifestyle changes) for 6 months to a year, also eventually achieving success. Now that I’m thinking about it, I do believe the only fertility clients that have not achieved success (to date) are those that have not stayed with the treatments. Please note I am not saying that Reflexology is a cure for infertility, but it has helped many.
For general health maintenance for someone who is already healthy, I think once a month on a continual basis is a great way to go. Reflexology is a wonderful way to manage stress and a very enjoyable addition to your self-care routine.
How to Get the Most out of Your Reflexology Session
There are some basic things you can do on your own to give your body the best chance to heal, and receive the most out of your Reflexology sessions (hint: these are things I recommend as ways of living anyway, even if not doing Reflexology!).
First and foremost, eat a clean anti-inflammatory diet free of processed sugar, grains, genetically modified foods, processed foods, and non-organic foods sprayed with chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. This will reduce the toxic burden on your body and free up your body to focus its energy towards healing. Eat plenty of organic vegetables, meat, fruit and healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, chia and flax seeds. Also incorporate probiotic rich fermented foods daily such as sauerkraut or kefir.
Proper hydration is also very important for overall health and the body’s ability to detox and function optimally. I recommend making sole water by adding pink Himalayan salt to your water. This provides the body with much needed electrolytes and minerals!! Coconut water is also a great way to hydrate. I love adding lemon to water to get even more nutrients, alkalizing and detoxification (and is so refreshing too!).
Quality and amount of sleep is equally as important as both proper diet and hydration. Sleep is the body’s time to rest and repair. Without appropriate sleep, the body may stay in a constant state of fight or flight, without ever truly resting and healing. This creates chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol and paves the way for chronic inflammation. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. I recommend getting at least 8 hours every night. It is important to the quality of your sleep not to watch TV, be looking at the cell phone or computer screen after about 8 PM , as this the blue light is naturally stimulating to the oh-so important adrenal glands and will disrupt the body’s cortisol levels and natural circadian rhythm. It is also important to get natural sunlight exposure during the day, and particularly in the morning, to stimulate adrenal function and the body’s natural day-time rhythms and processes.
Essential oils are a wonderful tool to help you get better sleep. Essential oils like lavender, Roman chamomile, frankincense and vetiver can be diffused, added to a relaxing Epsom salt bath, or applied topically (I like putting the oils on the toes as that is where the reflexes are that correlate to the brain and glands that help regulate sleep cycle and hormone production like the pineal and pituitary glands).
Get up and get moving! Exercise is definitely one of the keys to overall health. The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, a prestigious group of schools in Ireland and the United Kingdom, put together a report in 2015 calling exercise a “miracle cure”. Many medical documents are referenced in this report, one stating that “Physical activity helps to manage over 20 chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions”.
I recommend everyone get some form of cardio, weight training and stretching 3-4 times a week. Don’t over-do it though, as it is important for the muscles to rest and repair, and too much overly strenuous endurance exercise can be very hard on the adrenals and overall health. I personally love to get a run in in the morning, do some good Yoga or stretching after work, and maybe an evening walk with my dog. For some, classes are more enjoyable and motivating. Find a routine that works for you and that you enjoy!
Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually to receive healing. This could look like prayer, meditation or just allowing yourself to be open to the treatment. Allow yourself time to relax and set aside the burdens of this world. Focus on letting go of thought patterns and emotions that bring you down. Intentionally focus on where you are wanting to go… in your health, emotional well-being, spiritual growth, family, etc. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a world-renowned Neuroscientist and Evangelist, has done extensive research into epigenetics. She has specifically researched the ability we have to change our DNA just by the power of our thoughts! Dr. Leaf says that 75-95% of our illnesses today are a direct result of our thought life. Your mind is a very powerful tool!
I hope you have found this information insightful and helpful! Please note that no information here is meant to diagnose or treat any disease, and is not meant to be used in place of standard medical treatment or doctor’s guidance.
To Enjoying the Journey Towards Health,