Executive Officer, United Kingdom Association of Reflexologists A reflex is a point on the body which, when stimulated, will have an effect on another part of the body. The classic one is the knee jerk reflex. If you tap the knee, the reflex action is the spasm of the thigh muscles which makes the knee jerk.
Reflexology is based on the concept that every part of the body is connected by energy pathways which end in reflex areas on the feet, the hands and the head. Reflexology is the practice of working over these reflexes in a precise and systematic way. By applying controlled pressure, the body is encouraged to achieve its own natural state of wholeness and good health. Working on the feet is especially beneficial in clearing and balancing the body.
The concept of stimulating the body’s own healing energies by using pressure points on the feet is not new. It has appeared in many different cultures around the world and throughout history. Earliest traces have been found over 5,000 years ago in China, Japan, Egypt and among Indian tribes in the Americas. It spread to Europe in the Dark Ages and forms of “pressure point” therapy were used in the Middle Ages by both peasants and the aristocracy.
The therapy was rediscovered in the late 1890’s by a Dr. William Fitzgerald and introduced into the United States, arriving in Britain, as “reflexology”, in the 1960’s.
The physical, mental and emotional benefits of reflexology make it particularly helpful for all stress-related conditions, even when there is no clinical evidence of disease. By inducing a state of relaxation, tension is eased, circulation improved and toxins released and eliminated from the body. And as the body’s energies flow there is a renewed sense of health and well being on all levels. Reflexology can benefit, and be enjoyed by, everyone.
For clients suffering from stress-related illnesses, anxiety attacks, confidence issues or where they may be mentally or emotionally challenged, reflexology can prove to be a life-altering therapy. Self-esteem and confidence can be enhanced significantly, with recipients reporting an ability to deal with difficult situations more ably. They can feel stronger and more in control, with communication improving for some. This often leads to the ability to articulate ideas and express emotions and feelings more readily than previously possible. There may be a general improvement in being able to feel as well as assess and fulfill needs.
A treatment usually lasts between half an hour and an hour and, if possible, the client should rest for a while afterwards. Occasionally there is a temporary reaction as the body rids itself of released toxins. This will not last long and should be seen as part of the healing process. If there is a reaction, it is wise to eat lightly and drink plenty of fluids.
As reflexology works so well with other forms of treatment, many doctors are finding that referring patients to reflexologists actually saves patients money. Some participants are able to reduce or stop medication in co-operation with their medical practitioner. People prescribed drugs or other medical treatment report that reflexology reduces or eliminates side effects, and so enhances the benefits of orthodox medicine. Before and after surgery, reflexology can stimulate healing so that patients can leave the hospital sooner and experience fewer complications. Studies have suggested that patients undergoing a course of reflexology prior to a surgical operation are less likely to suffer from secondary infections as a result of the surgery.
Reflexology is rapidly becoming one of the most popular complementary therapies available today. There are a number of reasons for this: reflexology is simple, safe and very effective; the patient does not need to undress and the therapist uses only his or her hands to give a treatment. Although a therapy in its own right, it works well with other forms of medicine, both orthodox and complementary.
Until recently there has been little research into the benefits of complementary medicine, and, in one way, clinical research seems inappropriate for holistic therapies, which aim to improve the total well-being of the individual, rather than cure illnesses. However, there have been a number of controlled research projects over the past few years which provide evidence that reflexology has an effect on the human body and can help to improve various conditions and general health. Positive research findings also validate reflexology in the eyes of the general public and the medical profession and so increase public demand. As such, there is an upsurge in interest for the development of appropriate controlled research projects, with a long term view to integrating reflexology with the medical profession to provide healthcare at a more holistic level.
The benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increase energy, boost circulation, induce a deep state of relaxation, and eliminate toxins from the body. Moreover, it helps stimulate the central nervous system, prevent migraines, and treat urinary tract conditions. This type of massage speeds up recovery after an injury or surgery, reduces sleep disorders, and relieves depression and pain. It also helps in relieving side effects associated with cancer treatment and even soothe the pain of pregnancy, even the one occurring after delivery.
Whether you work in an office, a factory, a field, a hospital, or anything in between, there is a good chance that you put a lot of weight and stress on your feet every day. It is not always the back, stress can manifest itself in the other parts of our body too. People often opt for massages, so it makes sense that there should be foot massages too, right? Reflexology is much more than a foot massage, but at its foundation, that’s the easiest way to describe the process. This specific area of massage therapy also includes hands and ears, making it a holistic massage.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is an alternative treatment for a variety of conditions and has been in use for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese and Egyptians have documented practices similar to reflexology as a treatment for certain afflictions. It involves the reflexologist applying pressure to specific areas in the hands, feet, and ears that affect certain reflex areas of the body.
Imagine there is a connection between zones of your feet and hands that represent certain areas of your body that can be adjusted or managed through these zones. A lot of the theory behind reflexology has to do with aligning your qi, but even for those who normally don’t invest much in this discipline, there are plenty of studies that have supported the claims of reflexologists.
It is not widely accepted in the medical world, but thousands of physicians across the globe have been using reflexology for generations, with surprisingly positive results. If there are treatments for more than a dozen health conditions affecting various parts of the body, isn’t it worth giving reflexology a try?
Benefits of Reflexology
The health benefits of reflexology include its ability to improve the nerve functions, raise energy levels, increase circulation, and much more.
Improved Nerve Function
As we age, our nerve endings become less sensitive in many parts of our body, particularly in our extremities. That being said, reflexology has been connected with stimulating more than 7,000 different nerve endings in a single session, thereby increasing their function and reactivity. Opening and cleaning out neural pathways can help improve functionality and flexibility in many areas around the body. Neural pathways are like muscles, so it is good to work them once in a while to keep them sharp!
Boosted Energy Levels
By aligning the functioning of various organ and muscle systems, reflexology can increase metabolism and energy creation processes within the body. If you need a boost of energy or are always feeling sluggish, perhaps a reflexology session can help put some pep back in your step!
One of the most well-known and verified benefits of reflexology is an improvement in circulation throughout the body, which means that blood and oxygen are being cycled through the body more effectively. This means more oxygen reaches vital organs, thereby optimizing their functioning and further increasing the metabolism. This also results in faster healing and re-growth of damaged cells.
As mentioned above, reflexology has been known to open neural pathways, and this sort of free-flowing neural activity results in a more relaxed state in the body. For this reason, reflexology can flood your system with relaxation, inducing a state of calmness throughout your body and mind. In this same vein, reflexology is commonly used to cure sleep disorders. Insomnia can be a very troubling condition to suffer through, but reflexology helps your body relax and get back to its normal, healthy circadian rhythms.
Elimination of Toxins
Reflexology has been shown to improve bladder function and reduce urinary tract issues. What this means in terms of toxicity is a more efficient system of eliminating toxins and other foreign substances, thereby protecting your body from the various diseases and health conditions that can often arise from a compromised urinary system.
Nervous System Stimulation
The open neural pathways can benefit our central nervous system in a variety of ways. It not only enhances the brain’s ability to handle inputs more effectively, thereby speeding up our cognitive powers, but also boosts memory.
Reduction in Headaches
Reflexology is primarily used by many people as a method of eliminating pain. As an analgesic treatment, reflexology can reduce the severity of a migraine and headache, simply by relieving tension in the muscles that can often result in these conditions. A headache induced by stress can also be eliminated since stress and psychological factors often manifest in the physical symptoms of a migraine.
The combination of increased nerve activity and circulation, as well as the balanced functioning of the metabolism, means that cells re-grow faster and wounds are able to heal quickly. Also, the pain-relieving qualities of reflexology mean that patients recover rapidly, and are willing to get back into routine life!
Relieves Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Although reflexology isn’t directly connected to curing cancer, it has been known to ease the side effects of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. It helps cancer patients get a sound sleep by reducing anxiety and also reduces the chances of vomiting or other commonly experienced indigestion issues. The more general effects of reflexology, such as clearing neural channels and increasing circulation help patients.
Studies have shown that reflexology can be very beneficial for pregnant women, particularly in terms of labour lengths and their need for analgesics during labour and postpartum recovery time. Beyond that, due to many of the health benefits already outlined above, it can reduce the chances of postpartum depression and can also help a woman’s body heal itself faster and get back to its normal metabolic activity quickly.
Although much of the research on reflexology has been criticized or cited as unprovable, thousands of years of tradition and reports of success speak rather loudly. That being said, reflexology should be considered as a supplemental treatment to formal medical advice and treatment for the conditions that have been touched on in this article.
If you would like a FREE taster session which will last approximately 30 minutes you can book this by clicking on the Price List and right at the bottom you will see a “bookappointment” button. Click on this and select the mini reflexology treatment. It is advertised at £19 but will be free until the end of July. The full reflexology treatment can also be booked this way and that will be half price £19 until the end of July.
Migraines affect twice as many women as men and are experienced by one in seven people in the UK )Migraine Action, 2018).
Reflexology could be a beneficial treatment for people who are experiencing migraines, a recent study suggests (Imani et al, 2018).
A randomised controlled trial was conducted, with 75 male subjects divided into three equal groups, receiving reflexology (intervention), a placebo or no intervention (control) to evaluate the effects of the therapy on nitroglycerin-induced migraine-type headaches.
Researchers collected data using a patient information form created for the study and a numeric rating scale to measure pain intensity.
Subjects in the intervention group received foot reflexology, focusing on the points corresponding to the brain, for 10 minutes on each foot. For the placebo group, subjects to received an ineffective foot massage, focusing on unspecified points on the heel that didn’t relate to the head. Both treatments were repeated three hours later, with data collected at the start of the study and after interventions.
The results showed a statistically significant reduction of headache intensity in the reflexology group when compared with both other groups after treatments.
Why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you this because after Easter I will be studying reflexology so will be looking for lots of local volunteers to practice on. I am also writing about this because I struggle with migraines and headaches; whether it is part of the fibromyalgia I don’t know but believe me when I say I know how debilitating they are.
20 Ways To Get Rid Of A Migraine
Headaches are a common condition that many people deal with on a daily basis.
Ranging from uncomfortable to downright unbearable, they can disrupt your day-to-day life.
Several types of headaches exist, with tension headaches being the most common. Cluster headaches are painful and happen in groups or “clusters,” while migraines are a moderate-to-severe type of headache.
Although many medications are targeted at relieving headache symptoms, a number of effective, natural treatments also exist.
Here are 19 other effective home remedies to naturally get rid of headaches and prevent migraines
Inadequate hydration may lead you to develop a headache. In fact, studies have demonstrated that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines .
Thankfully, drinking water has been shown to relieve headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours. What’s more, being dehydrated can impair concentration and cause irritability, making your symptoms seem even worse.
To help avoid dehydration headaches, focus on drinking enough water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods.
Take Some Magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for countless functions in the body, including blood sugar control and nerve transmission.
Interestingly, magnesium has also been shown to be a safe, effective remedy for headaches. Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraine headaches, compared to those who don’t.
Studies have shown that treatment with 600 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day helped reduce both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
However, taking magnesium supplements can cause digestive side effects like diarrhea in some people, so it’s best to start with a smaller dose when treating headache symptoms.
While having an alcoholic drink may not cause a headache in most people, studies have shown that alcohol can trigger migraines in about one-third of those who experience frequent headaches.
Alcohol has also been shown to cause tension and cluster headaches in many people. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels and allows blood to flow more freely.
Vasodilation may cause headaches in some people. In fact, headaches are a common side effect of vasodilators like blood pressure medications. Additionally, alcohol acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose fluid and electrolytes through frequent urination. This fluid loss can lead to dehydration, which can cause or worsen headaches.
For example, one study compared headache frequency and severity in those who got less than six hours of sleep per night and those who slept longer. It found that those who got less sleep had more frequent and severe headaches.
However, getting too much sleep has also been shown to trigger headaches, making getting the right amount of rest important for those looking for natural headache prevention. For maximum benefits, aim for the “sweet spot” of seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Avoid Foods High In Histamine
Histamine is a chemical found naturally in the body that plays a role in the immune, digestive and nervous systems. It’s also found in certain foods like aged cheeses, fermented food, beer, wine, smoked fish and cured meats.
Studies suggest consuming histamine may cause migraines in those who are sensitive to it. Some people are not able to excrete histamine properly because they have impaired function of the enzymes responsible for breaking it down.
Cutting histamine-rich foods from the diet may be a useful strategy for people who get frequent headaches.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that contain aromatic compounds from a variety of plants. They have many therapeutic benefits and are most often used topically, though some can be ingested.
Peppermint and lavender essential oils are especially helpful when you have a headache. Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples has been shown to reduce the symptoms of tension headaches.
Meanwhile, lavender oil is highly effective at reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled.
Try A B-Vitamin Complex
B vitamins are a group of water-soluble micronutrients that play many important roles in the body. For example, they contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis and help turn food into energy. Some B vitamins may have a protective effect against headaches.
Several studies have shown that the B vitamin supplements riboflavin (B2), folate, B12 and pyridoxine (B6) may reduce headache symptoms. B-complex vitamins contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally treat headache symptoms.
B vitamins are considered safe to take on a regular basis, as they are water-soluble and any excess will be flushed out through the urine.
Soothe Pain With A Cold Compress
Using a cold compress may help reduce your headache symptoms. Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck or head area decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain.
In one study in 28 women, applying a cold gel pack to the head significantly reduced migraine pain. To make a cold compress, fill a waterproof bag with ice and wrap it in a soft towel. Apply the compress to the back of the neck, head or temples for headache relief.
Consider Taken Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance produced naturally by the body that helps turn food into energy and functions as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 supplements may be an effective and natural way to treat headaches.
For example, one study in 80 people demonstrated that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 supplements per day reduced migraine frequency, severity and length.
Another study including 42 people who experienced frequent migraines found that three 100-mg doses of CoQ10 throughout the day helped decrease migraine frequency and migraine-related symptoms like nausea.
Try An Elimination Diet
Studies suggest that food intolerances can trigger headaches in some people. To discover if a certain food is causing frequent headaches, try an elimination diet that removes the foods most related to your headache symptoms.
Aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, citrus fruits and coffee are among the most commonly reported food triggers in people with migraines. In one small study, a 12-week elimination diet decreased the number of migraine headaches people experienced. These effects started at the four-week mark.
Read more here about how to follow an elimination diet properly.
Drink Caffeinated Tea or Coffee
Sipping on beverages that contain caffeine, such as tea or coffee, may provide relief when you are experiencing a headache. Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms.
It also helps increase the effectiveness of common medications used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. However, caffeine withdrawal has also been shown to cause headaches if a person regularly consumes large amounts of caffeine and suddenly stops. Therefore, people who get frequent headaches should be mindful of their caffeine intake.
Acupuncture is a technique of Traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body. This practice has been linked to a reduction in headache symptoms in many studies.
A review of 22 studies including more than 4,400 people found that acupuncture was as effective as common migraine medications. Another study found that acupuncture was more effective and safer than topiramate, an anticonvulsant drug used to treat chronic migraines.
If you’re looking for a natural way to treat chronic headaches, acupuncture may be a worthwhile choice.
Relax With Yoga
Practicing yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, increase flexibility, decrease pain and improve your overall quality of life. Taking up yoga may even help reduce the intensity and frequency of your headaches.
One study investigated the effects of yoga therapy on 60 people with chronic migraines. Headache frequency and intensity were reduced more in those receiving both yoga therapy and conventional care, compared to those receiving conventional care alone.
Another study found that people who practiced yoga for three months had a significant reduction in headache frequency, severity and associated symptoms, compared to those who did not practice yoga.
Avoid Strong Smells
Strong odors like those from perfumes and cleaning products can cause certain individuals to develop headaches. A study that involved 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odors, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches.
This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and common in those with chronic migraines. If you think you may be sensitive to smells, avoiding perfumes, cigarette smoke and strongly scented foods may help decrease your chance of getting a migraine.
Try An Herbal Remedy
Certain herbs including feverfew and butterbur may reduce headache symptoms.
Feverfew is a flowering plant that has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that taking feverfew supplements in doses of 50–150 mg per day may reduce headache frequency. However, other studies have failed to find a benefit.
Butterbur root comes from a perennial shrub native to Germany and, like feverfew, has anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies have shown that taking butterbur extract in doses of 50–150 mg reduces headache symptoms in both adults and children.
Feverfew is generally considered safe if taken in recommended amounts. However, butterbur should be treated with caution, as unpurified forms can cause liver damage, and the effects of its long-term use are unknown.
Avoid Nitrates and Nitrites
Nitrates and nitrites are common food preservatives added to items like hot dogs, sausages and bacon to keep them fresh by preventing bacterial growth. Foods containing them have been shown to trigger headaches in some people.
Nitrites may trigger headaches by causing the expansion of blood vessels. In order to minimize your exposure to nitrites, limit the amount of processed meats in your diet and choose nitrate-free products whenever possible.
The only bacon now that I eat is nitrate free.
Sip Some Ginger Tea
Ginger root contains many beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances.
One study in 100 people with chronic migraines found that 250 mg of ginger powder was as effective as the conventional headache medication sumatriptan at reducing migraine pain. What’s more, ginger helps reduce nausea and vomiting, common symptoms associated with severe headaches.
You can take ginger powder in capsule form or make a powerful tea with fresh ginger root.
Get Some Exercise
One of the simplest ways to reduce headache frequency and severity is to engage in physical activity.
For example, one study in 91 people found 40 minutes of indoor cycling three times per week was more effective than relaxation techniques at reducing headache frequency. Another large study including more than 92,000 people showed that a low-level of physical activity was clearly associated with an increased risk of headaches.
There are many ways to increase your activity level, but one of the easiest methods is to simply increase the amount of steps you take throughout the day.
Try CBD Oil
I’m relatively new with CBD oil and I am trying different varieties. I have used the capsules from CBD Brothers (online store) and so far they have been amazing. I am now trying the Simply CBD drops and they don’t seem to work as well and although it is supposed to be lemon flavour it doesn’t have a nice aftertaste so be prepared to drink something afterwards to get rid of the taste. I will do a more thorough article about CBD oil in a separate post.
Ultimately, many people are negatively impacted by frequent headaches, making it important to find natural and effective treatment options.
Yoga, supplements, essential oils and dietary modifications are all natural, safe and effective ways to reduce headache symptoms.
While traditional methods like medications are often necessary, there are many natural and effective ways to prevent and treat headaches if you’re looking for a more holistic approach.
I hope you liked 20 ways to get rid of a migraine helpful and if you have any to add to the list please do so.