Reflexology is the alternative medical practice of using pressure and massage on the feet to treat other parts of the body. Reflexology is commonly used to treat sciatica, which is the inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the buttocks down the back of your thigh.
Enlist the help of a friend or a licensed reflexologist to treat your sciatica. You will need another person to help you stretch and immobilize your leg, as well as locate the proper pressure point on the bottom of your foot.
Locate the nerve reflex point for the sciatic nerve, which is located on the piriform muscle just forward of the heel bone toward your toes. The piriform muscle stretches laterally across the width of your foot.
Lie down flat on your back when you use reflexology to treat sciatica, preferably on a sturdy massage or examination table. You should be high enough off the ground so that your partner can stand comfortably in front of you and raise your leg at the same time.
Position your partner at the side of the table with his back turned to you. Your partner should be on the same side as the irritated sciatic nerve. Have your partner use his inside arm to slowly lift your leg straight into the air, with your knee only slightly bent.
Raise your leg until the pain in your sciatic nerve appears, and then return your leg to the table. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times, raising your leg higher each time until the nerve is stretched out. You should feel the pain of your sciatica move slowly up your leg, toward your buttocks.
Have your partner use his outside arm to find the piriform muscle near your heel, and apply gentle pressure using his fingers and palm. You may want to use online resources, such as Ofesite.com, to find a reflexology chart to help you identify the precise location of the piriform muscle (see Resources below).
Repeat this exercise as needed to treat your sciatica. By stretching out the sciatic nerve and applying pressure to the piriform muscle, many people experience instant relief from pain.
Reflexology should not be used to treat serious illnesses or diseases. If your sciatica does not improve with the use of reflexology, consult your physician immediately.
Tips and warnings
- Reflexology should not be used to treat serious illnesses or diseases. If your sciatica does not improve with the use of reflexology, consult your physician immediately.