By Claire Guy
Our bodies naturally want to be healthy. We want to be in balance physically, mentally and emotionally, and our bodies work towards that goal at all times.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is an ancient healing art that offers many health benefits. Feet and hands are microcosms of the body. The term reflexology is used to mean reflection rather than reflex. The idea is that the soles of feet and palms of the hands act as small mirrors, reflecting the whole body structure. In reflexology, it is believed that there is a vital energy that is circulating between organs of the human body, which penetrates into every living cell.
Reflexologists utilize the principle that the reflex points on the feet and hands, when pressure is applied, will reflexively stimulate energy to a related organ in the body and promote healing. When reflexes of the feet and hands are worked, the nervous system, circulatory system, sensory system and lymphatic system are affected. The parasympathetic nervous system (relax and recuperate) is activated and restores the body to a state of calm. One of the attributes of reflexology is that it helps to release endorphins – chemical messengers – which has the same effect as morphine in suppressing pain. The overall effect is a sense of calm, joy, optimism, even euphoria.
Walking the Beach
Research shows that benefits of reflexology include reduction in stress, improved sleep patterns and increased circulation, all of which contribute to improving health.
When pressure is applied to the feet, whether it is from walking on a sandy beach, on stones, or from deep or light pressure from a reflexologist, this pressure stimulates nerve endings that reach out to our vital organs. We are in essence massaging the body through the feet. Reflexology can be performed on the feet and/or hands. However, most of the time, reflexology is performed on the feet. So for any of you who resist getting massages because you have to remove your clothing, this is the massage for you! The only disrobing is of the feet.
Benefits of Reflexology
Calms the nervous system
Relieves muscle tension
Improves the immune system
To find a certified reflexologist near you, go to the Maine Council of Reflexologists website at reflexologyofmaine.org.