Reflexology has been used for thousands of years in all corners of the world. It was rediscovered in the western world in the late 19th century when studies on the bioelectrical and chemical systems of the body were advancing. Reflex therapies continued to be developed within the medical field, and in the mid 20th century the basis of reflexology as we know it today was introduced to the public.
Reflexology is a unique form of bodywork that is separate and distinct from foot massage. Its primary objective is to apply specific techniques to identifiable reflexes in order to encourage the body to balance and heal. Reducing stress is universally associated with the use of reflexology.
Medical research today is discovering the effects of everyday stress on our health. Scientists funded by the National Institute of Health discovered that environmental stress can reach deep into cells’ interiors and alter the genetic material held within their nuclei—and those changes can be inherited.
Overexposure to cortisol and other hormones activated by stress can increase the risk of numerous health problems including digestive and sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. Chronic stress can compromise our immune systems, cause inflammation and pain, and accelerate the aging process.
Wikipedia defines some of the causes of stress:
- environmental stressors (e.g., elevated sound levels, over-illumination, overcrowding)
- daily stress events (e.g., traffic, lost keys, quality and quantity of physical activity)
- life changes (e.g., divorce, bereavement)
- workplace stressors (e.g., high job demand vs. low job control, repeated or sustained exertions, forceful exertions, extreme postures)
- chemical stressors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, drugs )
- social stressor (e.g., societal and family demands)
Stress changes the metabolism of the cells, and the intracellular change can get locked in when stress becomes chronic.
Properly applied reflexology techniques are calming and help the Central Nervous System to communicate to the body’s epigenome (chemical compounds that modify or mark DNA) that the need for the stress response is past, and the cellular metabolism can return to normal.
More facts on stress according to WebMD:
- Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
- The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
Stress in the body shows up first in the feet. Professionally trained reflexologists can identify a whole range of conditions by observing the feet for anatomically verifiable deposits in the tissue, color, congestion (fluid located on a reflex), stress lines, temperature, texture, and other features. All are indicators of an imbalance in the reflexive tissue in the body. Tenderness in the feet (or hands) indicates congestion or deposits (in the form of tissue, fluid, etc.) that impedes the flow of blood and nerve supply, as well as bioelectrical energy.
Reflexologists work to reduce or eliminate congestion, gently erase the imprint of stress in the body, and help the body to restore balance for better health.
A great alternative to Reflexology is Massage Therapy, click the link to learn more Massage Therapy