Relief from the feet
Reflexology has been used as a natural healing art for thousands of years in China, Malaysia and India. The technique helps overall health and relieves aches and pains by the application of pressure on the base of the foot, toes, edges of the heel, palms of the hands and upper part of the hands. Reflexology can be an excellent treatment to relieve headaches.
+ In the early 20th century, US physician William Fitzgerald developed the ancient Oriental healing art of reflexology to relieve pains into a usable diagnostic therapy. Modern reflexology has been pioneered and is widely used in the East and West. Today, this healing art is one of the most extensive alternative therapies in the treatment of common headaches.
The art is based on the principle and study of the reflexes in the body –especially on the hands and feet– that correspond to the body's organs and glands. Applying stimulation and pressure to the feet or hands has similar effects to a total body massage.
In reflexology the body is divided into ten zones, based on a longitudinal guide, from the head to the feet. The right hand and foot corresponds to the right side of the body, while the left hand and foot corresponds to the left side. The base of the foot, the palms of the hand are divided into horizontal zones, which are represented as a mirror image of the entire body.
The area of the toes represents the senses. This is where the nerve endings for the head, eyes, ears, teeth, mouth, throat and neck are found.
CAN I DO THESE EXERCISES MYSELF?
Although it's not the same effect as seeing a practicing reflexologist, you can do some of these reflexology massages yourself for positive effects, especially to relieve intense headaches. Special preparation is not necessary, although it's best to do these massages on bare feet, so that you can reach the reflex points more exactly. You should sit in a comfortable position –a position in which you don't have to bend your back too much–, if possible with your knee bent, legs crossed and one of your feet placed on your thigh, so that you can have a better visual perspective of your foot. Over time you may develop further sensitivity with your fingers and so won't have to use your eyes as your guide. You can follow, when first beginning these massages, a fixed routine, paying special attention to the points which are giving you problems (see diagram).
For headaches you should concentrate and apply pressure on the big toe, all the points that correspond to the head are on this toe, located in the higher area of the toe's tip, near the toenail.
Each one represents that when pressure is applied to these reflex points on the toes, the pressure affects the entire area of the head, brain and senses. As a method of diagnosis and treatment, reflexology may be very effective in relieving pain. Reflexology is a pleasant treatment that acts as a healthy, relaxing, and non-invasive therapy, which stimulates the body's ability to cure itself.
POINTS THAT REFLECT THE HEAD
The feet reflects the entire body; this is why when pressing on a certain area of the foot you are in essence working that part of the body. There are specific points located on the toes that correspond to the sinuses, brain, eyes, ears, throat and neck.
EXERCISES AGAINST PAIN
1. Apply pressure with the thumb on all of the tips of the toes to release energy.
2. Press on the point located between the big toe and second toe. This will help to relieve headaches caused by states of nervousness.
3. Apply pressure on both sides of the big toe, right in the hollow area where the toenail begins. This movement is indicated for headaches caused by an inflamed liver.
4. When ovary problems or premenstrual tension causes your headaches, press on the areas that reflect those areas located on the heel.
5. To relieve headaches caused by congestion in the spinal column, apply pressure with the thumb on the place that corresponds to this point, located on the inner edge of the foot.
6. To treat the spinal disk, which when swollen can cause headaches, press on the point that corresponds to the spinal column, in the center of the inner edge of the foot.
7. To treat swollen muscles in the back, apply pressure on the inner edge of the foot, where the heel begins.
HERBS AND ESSENTIAL OILS
To increase the therapeutic effects of healing baths, you can add fresh herbs or a few drops of essential oils to the water. The most common essential oils made from a base of herbs include camomile, ginger, sage, cedar wood, lemon, rose and tea tree oil (see Essential oils from A to Z, on page 31).