Happy Feet and Happy Body – Using Reflexology for Stress Relief and Natural Health
Your feet are literally the foundation of who you are. After long hours spent standing, walking, tapping, (stubbing!), stomping and perhaps even occasionally skipping, isn’t it time to give your hardworking feet a break from the pressures of the day? When you do, you may be benefiting more than just your feet … reflexologists maintain that your feet are intrinsically linked to every other organ in your body, from the brain to the spleen … and research is confirming this ancient practice. Taking care of your feet may benefit your overall health – both emotionally and physically.
Reflexology is a specialized form of massage using essential oils and gentle pressure on your feet. It is meant to stimulate points which are connected to the body through nerves. This pressure works to restore balance the body and to release feelings of tension. It facilitates a deep state of relaxation, calms the emotions, and produces a serene mind, as well as reducing pain and anxiety. Recent research on the practice supports many of these benefits. People describe a profound sense of relaxation, increased energy, pain relief and better mood following a session of reflexology with essential oils.
The theories behind reflexology have been around a long time. Records indicate that it has existed in China since 1000 BC. From those ancient roots, modern methods have been modified by medical and holistic health experts to meet needs and support the lives of today. Now, this alternative medicine practice is commonly used as a way to reduce stress, connect to the body spiritually, and to be proactive about whole-system health.
Treating specific locations on the foot with non-invasive pressure, massage, and essential oils, benefits parallel parts of the body, practitioners believe. Gently applied pressure sends calming messages from the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system. This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems. Essential oils augment the practice by facilitating the massage and through natural aromatherapy benefits of the topical application.
To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, reflexologists use foot "maps" to indicate regions on the foot to treat for different ailments. It is interesting to note that the feet are not mirror images of each other when it comes to reflexology, although they share many characteristics. The pad of the left foot has a point for the heart, for example, while the right foot has a specific spot to benefit the appendix. You can find a simple map of reflexology points if you are curious about how your feet and body might benefit – and to practice targeting certain areas for your own health.
The best way to understand the benefits of and function of reflexology is to try it for yourself. It’s not hard to do, and you don’t need to be an expert to begin. Try applying your favorite blend and using your fingers to gently explore the bottom of your feet and toes. Make note of any area that feels sensitive or sore. Massage the entire surface gently. You can even keep a journal record of how pressure or various blends on different parts of the foot make you feel into the next day.
Ready to try?
Use this natural reflexology technique at the end of a long day to provide relief to tired feet and ankles. You’ll need Sacred Life’s Muscle Blend and Forgiveness Blend from the Pain Relief Kit. You can either get a partner to work on your feet, or use a modified version to treat yourself.
Wash and pat feet dry with a soft towel. Working from the arch of your foot backwards toward the heel, apply a generous layer of the Muscle Blend and assert gentle pressure, moving in a small “C” pattern as you progress. When you reach the heel, return to the arch and apply the Forgiveness blend to the front of the foot and toes. Gently squeeze the top and bottom of the foot and walk your fingers across the surface, noting any spots that are especially sensitive or tender. Squeeze each toe gently, sliding your fingers off the end.
Wrap your feet in a warm towel and keep slightly elevated until the oils absorb (15-30 minutes). Gently wipe away excess oil before walking on a slippery surface. You can also put on a pair of socks and let the oil soak in overnight.
Using pure and effective essential oils on your feet will boost your mood, balance your emotions, and release tension and help you deal with feelings of pain throughout your whole system. Treat your feet right, and your whole body may thank you.