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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reflexology..more than a foot massage

My kids think we are just getting old and boring when a Saturday night involves massaging my husband's feet. It does bring a good laugh compared to a night out dancing the night away.  But after a typical workweek takes it's toll, a reflexology session of utter relaxation really can be the highlight of the weekend. 

Break down the word disease and it becomes 'dis' 'ease'.  Approximately 70% of disorders can be related to stress and nervous tension.  Since every part of the body receives its nerve supply from the spine, abnormal tension causes tightening of the muscles of the spine, causing pain as the nerves are affected and blood vessels are constricted.  Stress in life is unavoidable, but long-term fatigue and anxiety drains the immune system, resulting in the body being vulnerable to illness.

Energy is the basis of all life.  Reflexology focuses on the internal body energy,  maintaining balance, and the harmonious flow of that energy.  A holistic healing art which falls into the realm of 'alternative' medicine, reflexology stems from the Chinese healing and Indian Ayurvedic systems of traditional Eastern medicine.  Gaining respect and popularity in the Western world, reflexology can be very beneficial in conjunction with modern health care. 

All matter is made up of energy.  The nervous system is the body's electrical system.  The body is an energy system that is in a constant state of change. This life force energy or ch'i circulates along twelve meridian pathways within the body.  The six main meridians which penetrate the major organs of the body are found in the feet, most specifically in the toes.  Massaging these areas helps clear blockages along these meridians and allows this vital energy to flow.

Gravity works by pulling everything down and out of the body and reflexology is a way of facilitating this by getting the blood flowing and breaking up all the “grit” to be eliminated through our bodies systems.  Excess acidity in the bloodstream increases calcium deposits in the nerve endings of any organ in the body.  Being feet have such an abundance of nerve endings and are at the end point of circulation, blood has to be circulated back up against the force of gravity and if slowed, can result in congestion in the form of crystals.  Elimination is always stressed in reflexology.  Massage can break up these crystals and the residue removed by the blood circulation.  The more the body cleanses itself, the better you will feel and the energy will increase.

Reflexology can be a powerful antidote to stress.  A body needs to relax in order to heal itself and function normally.  For hypertension and anxiety, why not choose something like reflexology rather than nerve calming or sleep inducing pills.  It is safe, no side effects, and can be a bonding experience between two people.

A few excellent books to learn what reflexology is all about and to better understand how to apply it to yourself or a partner are:
The Art of Refloxology by Inge Dougans with Suzanne Ellis
Reflexology for Beginners by David F. Vennells
Better Health With Foot Reflexology by Dwight C. Byers

Here is a good video on how to do a foot massage. This instructional video shows how to do a relaxing massage which does touch on reflexology but not in the detail described in the books.

Below is the link to an informative foot chart to better understand the map of the body.

All points of the foot chart relate directly to how every persons body is made up. Hover your mouse over the sections of the diagram and it will become highlighted. When looking at the chart remember the map is from the 'top down'.  Think of the body from head to toe with its bodily systems and visualize the foot as the body with the toes being the head and the heel being the lower pelvic region.  Start with the left foot and work from the toes down to the heel. The points that reflexologists stimulate in a full reflexology session correspond to the whole body. All nerve endings end at the feet and by putting pressure on the nerve endings that relate to the specific body part or gland, you are actually sending signals through the nervous system to the area and giving it a jump start.

Meadow Muffin Gardens carries various oils and balms utilizing aromatherapy and herbal oils to bring you wonderful aids for your foot massage or refloxology session.  Calming essential oil blends and therapeutic, skin nourishing oils and butters combine with the benefits of reflexology to heal and relax tired feet, bodies, and spirits.
My poor feet massage balm

Sensual massage oil

Restless sleep massage oil
Shea butter herbal balm