[Note from Mantic59: Every now and then I like to present a “diversion” article not related to men’s shaving or grooming. This article from Amanda Roberts is about foot reflexology, the benefits of which I can personally attest to.] Our feet perform loads of work for us. They carry us around every day, take the impact of our morning exercises and endure countless days in uncomfortable and confining shoes. It is important to have a daily foot massage to keep them flexible and strong. In fact, foot massage combined with reflexology has been a significant part of complementary and alternative medicine.
Reflexology promotes health and well-being by stimulating nerve function, blood circulation, speeds recovery, relieves sleep disorders, eliminates toxins and induces relaxation. It can also help soothe pain, ease the treatment of some cancer, reduce depression, and clean urinary tract.
Whether you work in a hospital, a factory or a field, you put a lot of pressure and weight on your feet. A few minutes of massage before going to bed can reduce the risk of numerous foot conditions, such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Here are the top health benefits of foot reflexology.
1. Improves Circulation
Poor circulation often indicates health issues, such as hypertension and diabetes. When your blood flow is not working properly, you may experience cramping, achiness, swelling, persistent coldness and tingling sensation. Certain behaviors that result in poor blood flow include lack of exercise, improper diet, inactivity for long periods of time and cigarette smoking (1).
One of the verified health benefits of reflexology is it boosts circulation throughout the body. As more oxygen and blood are being cycled, vital organ systems can function properly. This increases metabolism and results in faster rejuvenation of damaged cells.
2. Reduces Depression and Anxiety
Food massage and reflexology can help in fighting depression and anxiety. The relaxation benefits of massage are helpful in reducing the symptoms of depression. Certain points on foot are associated with mental health and emotional stability.
According to a 2006 study published in US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, self-foot reflexology massage could be used as an effective intervention for reducing stress and depression responses (2).
3. Promotes Relaxation and Better Sleep
A relaxing foot massage before going to bed can give you a better sleep. Reflexology helps the body improve circulation, unwind and relax the nerves. It is one of the great treatments to overcome insomnia and disturbed sleeping patterns.
To enjoy a deep sleep, apply pressure to the solar plexus reflex. This point houses most of the stress, and it can be found by gently squeezing the top of your foot inward. Press and massage the little dimpled area for a comfortable, deep sleep.
4. Makes Feet Healthier
One of the best ways to keep your feet healthy is foot reflexology. It prevents various types of foot problems by reducing stiffness, soothing pain in the heels or ankles and stimulating muscles around your feet. Massaging your feet with warm coconut or olive oil can provide relief from inflammation and pain caused by Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. It is an excellent home remedy for heel spurs and it can also speed up the healing process of fungal nail infections by improving blood flow.
5. Enhances Nerve Function
As we age, our nerve endings become less sensitive, especially in our feet. It has been found that reflexology can stimulate about 7,000 nerve endings in a single session, which enhances function and reactivity.
Foot reflexology can also open and clean out neural pathways. These are series of neurons connected together to let a signal be sent from one region to another. Activating neural pathways is important to improve the body’s processing of information.
6. Alleviates Edema
Having a regular foot massage can alleviate the effects of edema, which is very common during pregnancy. The feet and ankles tend to swell due to fluid retention. By massaging your feet, the accumulated fluid in the feet returns to the kidneys so it can be flushed out of the body. It is best to have it performed by a reflexologist, but you can also get it done by your partner or a friend.
7. Relieves Headaches and Migraines
Reflexology can help in relieving headaches and migraines by eliminating tension that may have resulted in these conditions. The point can be found in the valley between your big toe and second toe. Apply pressure on these areas to relieve headaches, arthritis, tiredness of the eyes and foot cramps.
While having a foot reflexology massage session for headaches, you can also use an essential oil diffuser for additional health benefits.
8. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a serious health condition that increases your risk of kidney failure, stroke or heart attack. Eating nutritious foods, lifestyle changes and regular massage can lower the levels of blood pressure significantly.
According to a study, foot reflexology can be an effective nursing intervention for decreasing systolic pressure and triglyceride levels (3). If you have hypertension, concentrate on massaging reflexes related to your chest and heart. These points can be found between the base of your toes and the diaphragm line on both feet.
9. Removes Toxins
Another popular health benefit of reflexology is its ability to improve the function of the bladder. It also reduces urinary tract problems, allowing your body to flush out toxins and other foreign substances properly. This protects your body from various infections and other health issues that can often result from a compromised urinary system.
10. Boosts Energy
Chronic fatigue is one of the common culprits of various health conditions. Fortunately, there are many ways to fight this condition, such as foot reflexology. This therapy targets blockages that prevent the natural flow of energy. It also aligns the muscle systems and functions of various organs, which gives you an energy boost.
If you always feel sluggish and you need to increase your energy levels, perhaps a foot massage or reflexology session can help.
Although foot reflexology is highly effective, there are some precautions to consider. Those with certain health conditions such as extreme edema, foot fractures, burns, open wounds, ingrown toenails, varicose veins, athlete’s foot and infections should avoid foot massages.
- Circulation by FootSmart. Viewed at: https://www.footsmart.com/health-resource-center/leg/circulation
- Effect of self-foot reflexology massage on depression, stress responses and immune functions of middle aged women. Viewed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16520577
- Effects of foot reflexology on essential hypertension patients. Viewed at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15502439
About the Author:
Amanda Roberts is a professional blogger and a podiatry student. She is an enthusiast who loves to write on several niches, particularly in foot health, including plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus, foot massage and reflexology. Read more about her blog posts on foot health at Feet Remedies. You can follow her on Facebook.