Reflexology is the use of pressure points found in the hands and feet to relieve pain, ease symptoms of illness or otherwise affect change in a person. Pressure points on the feet are believed to connect to just about every part of the body, helping relieve everything from headaches to bad moods. Here are some of the key pressure points and the precautions that should be taken when using pressure point therapies.
An example of a pressure point is the big toe, which reflexologists believe corresponds to the head, or the other four toes, which correspond to the sinuses. Pressure on the toes brings relief to those corresponding areas of the body. Another pressure point, this one on the hand, is the web and muscle between the index finger and thumb; squeezing here for a minute or two should relieve headaches.
The best way to learn the pressure points is to consult a reflexology chart. These can be found in alternative bookstores or online (see Resources). They give a detailed picture of the foot, showing which regions of the foot affect which parts of the body.
Foot massage is believed to aid in relieving pain and assisting internal organs to regain their normal function, such as encouraging movement in the bowels or calming an irregular heartbeat. While very few hold reflexology as a cure-all, many believe it has significant benefits when performed properly.
Special care should be used when performing pressure point therapy on certain people. Some pressure points may lead to sudden or urgent bowel movements, or may stimulate the uterus, which could lead to premature delivery in pregnant women.
Find a Therapist
There are several websites available to help those seeking qualified reflexology practitioners. Consumers should look for training and certification to ensure the treatment they are about to receive is performed by someone who has been educated in the technique (see Resources).
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