Reflexology for Headaches, Digestive Problems and General Self Care By Miley Flowers, LMP, CPMT

 In Massage, Physical Therapy

If you suffer from headaches, digestive problems, or just plain stress, reflexology can be an easy way to engage in self care and remedy some of these conditions.  Reflexology is more than just a foot massage.  It’s based on the idea that the feet contain points on your feet, hands, and ears that correspond to various body systems.  Applying pressure to these specific points can be helpful in identifying and treating certain illnesses and ailments as well as provide general stress relief.

It is helpful to start by warming the entire foot up with a gentle foot massage with no lotion or oil.  If you apply lotion or oil, it may cause your fingers to be slippery when doing reflexology.  Each point you work on should be done with your thumb in a bent position.  You can hold constant pressure or do small circular motions on each point.  When applying pressure to reflexology points it’s important to remember that pain is not the goal.  Only apply as much pressure as is comfortable.

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Headache Relief

Headaches slow us down and can increase stress throughout the day if we are chronic headache sufferers.  One of the best reflexology points to work in the case of a headache is located at the base of the inside of the big toe.  Apply pressure to the point as pictured below, starting with light pressure and slowly increasing to a deep pressure as tolerated.

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You can also relieve headaches by applying pressure on both sides of the webbing between your thumb and forefinger.  If you are pregnant, this area should be avoided as it can induce premature labor.

Digestive Problems

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, and general bloating can affect us in different ways and contribute to stress as well.  Along with a healthy diet, reflexology can aid in easing the symptoms of digestive problems.  As we know, digestion is a complex process that occurs through several of our bodies’ organs and the process can be disrupted in any of these organs.  It is essential that if you have any issues with digestion, that you work the reflexology points for all of these organs to ensure the highest success.

Digestion starts in the mouth and then on to the esophagus. So, begin by working those areas as designated in the picture below.  Then move on to the stomach and small intestine and finally the colon (or large intestine).  Small circular motions can be helpful when working on the small intestine and the colon to increase the circulation and help get things moving along.

In addition to these primary organs of digestions, there are several peripheral organs that aid in digestion such as the liver (which provides bile to emulsify fat) and the pancreas (which provides digestive enzymes).  If your digestive problems are extensive, it will be worthwhile to work on these points in addition to the primary organ points and see your physician for further advice.

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Sources: (Wendy Coad)

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