It isn't surprising that many people have dismissed reflexology. After all, there just isn't any obvious reason why a simple massage of the feet would have any kind of important therapeutic benefit.
Sure, we can all agree that it might be pleasurable - even very relaxing - but, that is about it, right? There is absolutely no precedent for the basic premise of reflexology that areas of the feet correspond to other parts of the body, and, that stimulation of these areas of the feet therapeutically relaxes the corresponding parts of the body!
And yet, advocates of reflexology have made far-reaching claims about reflexology. Some recipients have their arthritis completely cured, been cured of their headaches, back aches cleared up, asthma symptoms relieved, sinuses cleared, have been freed of their P.M.S., ovarian cysts disappeared, stomach ulcer healed and on and on.
In the December 1993 issue of the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a research paper presented by William Flocco and Dr. Terry Oleson, showed reflexology reduced women's P.M.S. symptoms by 46 per cent for the eight weeks of weekly treatments. This was sustained with 42 per cent reduction of symptoms for eight weeks after treatment. It was not as effective as drug treatments, however, reflexology had none of the side effects of drugs. The conclusion was that reflexology should be considered an effective therapy for PMS. This is the first scientifically accepted reflexology research study conducted in North America.
We recently discovered that scientific research of reflexology has been conducted in other parts of the world. For example, we learned that when compared to North America there has been a much more receptive attitude to reflexology in Denmark, with the result that there are approximately 3500 practising Danish reflexologists' vis-à-vis 3000 practising medical doctors. Some of these reflexologists are working in medical settings including hospitals, and large corporations employ some others for their employees. It is apparent that these corporations find the resultant reduced sick leave and improved productivity of their employees' worthy of employing reflexologists.
Simultaneously, three Danish research studies report positive results from reflexology treatment for persons suffering from poor blood circulation, kidney stones and constipation. Another study indicates that reflexology was beneficial for women in a number of different circumstances during childbirth.
Research conducted in Australia evaluated reflexology's benefit for person's suffering from arthritic pain, unexplained internal pain and tension headaches. The study reported positive results. Similarly, in Switzerland, a research study evaluated the benefits of reflexology for persons with terminal cancer, all of whom were suffering from pain. The results showed that reflexology not only relieved their pain, but also added quality to the dying person's life.
And in China, X.M. Wang of the First Teaching Hospital, Beijing Medical University published "Treating type II diabetes mellitus with foot reflexotherapy". This study reports numerous symptoms greatly reduced by reflexotherapy and concludes that it is an effective therapy for type II diabetes mellitus.
In summation, from around the world, scientific research has shown that reflexology is an effective therapy for a diverse range of health conditions: P.M.S., kidney stones, constipation, childbirth, arthritis, internal pain, tension headaches and the pain suffered by persons with terminal cancer, and, diabetes mellitus type II. Maybe it is time to take a second look at reflexology and all the claims that have been made.
It appears that reflexology might be the difference between requiring drugs/surgery, and helping your body to heal itself. In a preventive sense, it's the difference between getting sick and staying healthy.
Reflexology therapeutically reduces stress and tension throughout the whole body. Blood and lymph circulation improves, nerve supply to the cells is improved, and the release of toxins from the body is increased. These physiological benefits facilitate improvement in the body's assimilation of nutrients, elimination of wastes, and the functions of the immune system.
Reflexology is also a very effective complement to other natural health therapies. For example, it can facilitate more effective chiropractic adjustments that hold for longer. Reflexology complements massage and other physical therapies by reducing stress and tension in the internal glands and organs of the body, and, by relieving stress from parts of the body that are too painful to be directly worked on: i.e. whiplash. Reflexology complements nutritional and herbal therapies and colon therapy by facilitating more efficient assimilation and elimination in the digestive system.
By Christopher Shirley
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