Reflexology is a wonderful holistic healing tool that feels good and has many health benefits.
According to leaders in the reflexology community Barbara and Kevin Kunz, “reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion, based on a system of zones and areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with a premise that such work affects a physical change in the body.”
There are similarities between reflexology, acupressure, and massage therapy. Reflexology is similar to how acupressure uses static or circular pressure on specific points to improve homeostatic balance to body parts and organ systems. Massage therapy is manipulation of soft tissues, and reflexology does manipulate soft tissues with its unique approach.
There are many researched health benefits of reflexology. Kunz and Kunz reports that hundreds of reflexology studies have been conducted. Their survey of 170 studies show a positive result for 83% of areas researched. A Chinese survey of 8,096 case studies noted a 94% effective or significantly effective rate. People report increased energy levels from reflexology, and ease of participation with activities of daily living.
Benefits of reflexology may include inducing the relaxation response, lowering stress, anxiety, pain, cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, increasing lymph movement, improving the immune system and healing recovery time, improving range of motion, increasing circulation to body parts and organ systems, increasing respiration and oxygenation in the blood, improving neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, joint mobility, edema, muscle tone, motor reflexes, depression, mood, emotional regulation, communication, social skills, insomnia, headaches, and nausea, decreasing use of medications, improving digestion, decreasing constipation, and improving reproduction, proprioception, and body awareness.
Here is a simple Reflexology Video for you to follow along to for yourself, someone you’re providing care for, or a loved one.
Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L is a Holistic OT, is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and is an American Board Certified Reflexologist. She has been practicing and teaching Reflexology for 15 years. She integrates Reflexology into many of her healing sessions for its health promoting benefits. She can be reached at [email protected].