Stress: Can Reflexology help?

We all know what its like to feel under stress, it’s a normal part of daily life and the response to which our bodies are hard-wired to handle, but only in moderation. In the short term, periods of stress can be beneficial; motivating us to take action, energising us, improving our efficiency and even boosting memory and immunity.

When the body perceives something as a threat, stress becomes the key to survival and the mechanism required to stimulate the body’s sympathetic nervous system and the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This fight or flight response, once activated, allows us to deal with, or avoid a potentially harmful situation.

Prolonged periods of stress, however, can be detrimental to health and well-being, preventing the body from returning to its natural balance, known as homeostasis. Stress can manifest itself in many ways and the effects can be emotional, physical, cognitive or behavioural. In the longer term stress can lead to chronic conditions and more serious illness.

So how can Reflexology help manage stress?

Reflexology is a powerful therapy that uses massage on the reflex points of the hands and feet to stimulate the body’s natural healing energies. The practice is based on the principle that the hands and feet are mirrors of the body, so different organs and systems can be stimulated by applying pressure to these different reflex points, as a result, the whole body is targeted. There are over 7000 nerves ending in the feet so its no wonder a treatment can have so many powerful effects.

A Reflexology treatment is deeply relaxing for the mind and the body and it actively encourages harmony between the two. In this relaxed state, the requirement for unnecessary sympathetic responses in the body is reduced and the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated promoting ‘rest & digest’ mode and therefore facilitating stress reduction.

Reflexology is widely researched and is effective in improving sleep disorders, pain management and relief (back pain, arthritis, migraine, headaches etc), improving lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation, boosting the immune system, eliminating toxins and waste products and hormonal re-balancing. Impaired function in these systems, and the conditions associated with them can be attributed to higher levels of stress.

Stress impacts the body in many different ways; symptoms can be widespread and vary greatly from person to person. The cause of stress may be an external factor but stress itself is an internal response, the remedy to which is in relaxation. Reflexology helps to target the negative effects of stress, it’s not a ‘cure all’ solution but an aid to encourage the whole body; each and every system and component to re-balance, restore and begin the healing process.

So regain control; assess your physical and emotional condition. It’s not an indulgence to want to take care of yourself, it’s essential for your health and well-being. Identifying the causes of stress and reviewing your lifestyle is the first step in over-coming it.

“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response TO what happens. And RESPONSE is something we can choose.”

Maureen Killoran