What Is Foot Reflexology?
The idea of applying pressure to specific parts of the body to promote better health dates back over 5000 years. However, reflexology is a relatively new technique in western medicine. Hand and foot reflexology gained mainstream attention in the early 1900s after a physician created the zone therapy concept. Zone therapy involved the application of stimuli to areas of the body to improve the flow of energy.
With foot reflexology, the foot is separated into 12 separate zones. Reflexologists believe that these 12 points are connected to an energy channel or nerve pathway that travels to the top of the head. Hence, stimulating the 12 points in the foot may stimulate nerves and promote blood flow. Improving circulation through these channels may help reduce pain, stress, and tensed muscles. Hence, it is commonly used by those who suffer from stress, digestive issues, muscle pains, and fibromyalgia.
It is now a form of alternative therapy but it still has a place in Western medicine. Many chiropractors and physical therapists use foot reflexology as part of their treatment plans for dealing with a wide range of issues.
How Does Foot Reflexology Help Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain
The effectiveness of reflexology has not been thoroughly evaluated through clinical studies. However, many fibromyalgia sufferers use foot reflexology as part of their pain management plans.
Only one major study has explored the benefits of reflexology for treating fibromyalgia pain. In 2010, Gunnarsdottir and Peden-McAlpine published the results of a study involving six women suffering from fibromyalgia. Four of the six women experienced reduced pain after ten weekly foot reflexology sessions. These patients also experienced fewer migraines and headaches after their reflexology sessions.
Besides fibromyalgia, researchers have examined the therapeutic benefits of foot reflexology for treating various health issues. One study found that reflexology may help reduce fatigue and alleviate pain in cancer patients and multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers.
Other Benefits of Foot Reflexology for Fibromyalgia
Besides helping to relieve pain, foot reflexology may offer other benefits for fibromyalgia sufferers. By relieving additional fibromyalgia symptoms, patients may find it easier to cope with the pain.
Some of the possible benefits of foot reflexology for fibromyalgia include:
- Relieving muscle tension – Applying pressure to specific points on the foot may help relieve muscle tension through the body. Releasing this tension can therefore lead to reduced pain in the areas of the body targeted by the pressure points.
- Improving blood circulation – Reflexology can also help to improve blood circulation. Increasing circulation through key areas of the body may help decrease the intensity of pain.
- Reducing fatigue – Several studies have found that reflexology may help fight fatigue in cancer and MS patients. Fibromyalgia patients also gain the same benefits. Fatigue and overall exhaustion are common symptoms of fibromyalgia
In conclusion, foot reflexology is a type of alternative therapy. While it is rarely used in place of the treatments offered by your doctors, foot reflexology may be combined with your existing treatments to provide additional pain relief.