In Britain the National Health Service (NHS) use foot reflexology for stress relief, not only for patients but also their staff too. So how did reflexology succeed where most complementary medicines fail? Why are doctors less sceptical about the efficacy of reflexology for stress relief.
Staffing shortages and cuts must take some of the plaudits. After an 8 hour shift a nurses feet are in agony. When a paper was issued recommending student nurses have an one hour reflexology treatment three times a week, its fate must have been sealed. That hour of complete relaxation as someone completely focused on the nurses needs for a change, must have been bliss. Once a nurse has experienced how calming a therapy is, of course she will endorse it to her patients too.
The recommendation came after a number of clinical trials had showed dramatic effects on headaches, pain and also anxiety. Since these were main reasons for sick leave in student nurses, it was deemed both an appropriate and cost effective step.
There are many reasons to use reflexology for stress intervention. In Chinese Medicine, they speak of meridians of energy where the life force or chi flows through the body. Each set of flows terminate in various regions of the feet. Each foot is full of points which will boost the health of the patient. For stress relief the most important points are between the first and second metatarsals of each foot. These are the points for the adrenal glands.
These small glands govern our bodies reactions to stress. When we are excited or under pressure in some way they secrete adrenaline which forces our heart rate up. The longer or more often we are in this state, the harder it is for the body to return to its natural state. By stimulating these points the glands begin to calm and the effects of the stress are reduced.
Another bi product of reflexology for stress is the release of endorphins. As the feet are massaged the process of stopping and having some care, taking some time out if you will, encourages our brains to release these hormones. Endorphins are a direct result of the brain registering feelings of happiness, and as they flush around the body they bring about very real effects of wellness. Like any massage, a foot massage is very relaxing. Your heart rate slows and your breathing starts to deepen. As you relax your outlook and mood starts to lift. Emotionally, reflexology for stress relief can be almost instant.
In the National Health Service (NHS), reflexology is recommended to any number of patients. From those suffering from mild depression to terminally ill cancer patients. I don’t think it should be discounted how incredibly soothing it feels to even just be touched, but also clinical studies have show that reflexology will also raise skin temperature too. In the later stages of cancer, patients often find their inability to maintain their body temperature to be one of the most distressing aspects of their condition. Too frail to do anything but lie still, coldness often makes them very disoriented and anxious.
In these patients the effects of using reflexology for stress is a very gentle but powerful gift. The healing touch is blissful in its own right, but as the endorphins flow, their circulation is benefited and they feel a marked difference in their temperature, especially of course in their feet. In those final days when the hours feel like an endless stretch of injections and drugs, patients look forward with pleasure to these respite treatments. For these people reflexology for stress is a blessed relief.