Reflexology is an alternative medicine therapy using specific hand, finger, and thumb techniques in the application of pressure to the feet and hands. Reflexology is based upon a system of reflex areas and zones that map out corresponding body locations on the hands and feet. Application of heat and pressure by a certified reflexologist in these corresponding areas can help to effect a physical change to these areas of the body.
Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology to be effective and beneficial in many ways. A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns.
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Benefits of Reflexology
Creates relaxation: From the moment the reflexologists hands start their work, the relaxation begins as shown in research using EEG brain activity. All together, 24 studies demonstrate reflexology's relaxation effects.
Reduces pain: Pain reduction following reflexology work is documented in 27 studies including research showing impact on individuals of all ages and health states
Ameliorates health concerns: Research shows that reflexology work helps individuals of all ages with some 78 health concerns ranging from aggressive behavior in children to urinary concerns of the elderly.
Improves blood flow: Separate studies show that reflexology work increases blood flow to the feet, brain, kidneys and intestines.
Aids post-operative recovery: Reflexology work aids recovery after surgery as shown by several studies, reducing pain and lessening the use of post operative analgesics.
Impact on physiological measures (e. g. blood pressure and cholesterol; measurements by ECG, EEG, and MRI)
Enhances medical care: Reflexology helps where nothing else can for many: phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients, and hemodialysis patients to name a few.
Benefits mental health: Research demonstrates that reflexology can reduce depression (11 studies) and anxiety (9 studies). Reflexology can help children with ADHD and other mental health concerns.
Complements cancer care: Pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anxiety eased for chemotherapy patients following reflexology work as shown by 16 studies from 7 countries.
Eases pregnancy, delivery and post-par tum effects: Women who received reflexology experienced shorter labor times and used less analgesia. In addition, reflexology showed a positive impact on postpartum depression, anxiety, urination and bowel movements.
In general terms, the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body, they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.