As a physiotherapist massage makes up a pretty significant portion of my days work, and a lot of people may find it odd but I find giving massages strangely therapeutic… most of the time; the 100kg footballer wanting a deep tissue massage maybe not so much. The worst part about it is that I get insanely jealous of the person on the table thoroughly enjoying an hour of zen time while I am lost in thought about what I would do to trade places with them.
In light of this I have been promising myself that I will treat myself to a massage for several months now. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to put aside an hour on a weekend to achieve this but somehow Saturday and Sunday roll by and on Monday I find myself in the familiar daydream about when and how I can get myself a massage over the coming week.
I finally did it. Thursday night late night shopping of all places, in search of an outfit for the races, next minute I was dozing off in a reclining chair enjoying a 40 minute reflexology foot massage. Best $45 I ever spent. (and no I didn’t find a dress for the races that day). While in my sleep like state I did manage to notice that there were certain points on my feet that were incredibly painful compared to the rest and I couldn’t help but be curious about what these particular points meant in the world of Chinese medicine. Unfortunately I didn’t get any groundbreaking information from it:
- Base of both my heels: This zone represents the lower back and legs. Makes total sense I am always stiff and sore in these areas because I am on my feet all day and do a fair bit in the way of running / weights training
- My left arch: This area represents the stomach and adrenal glands.
- The top and side of both my big toes: This represents the head and neck region. I am often stiff and sore through my neck and shoulders given that I do a lot of massage and work with my arms.
My very western orientated medical brain doesn’t really believe that releasing pressure points in the hands and feet can treat the range of medical conditions it says it can BUT I am trying the whole be ‘open minded’ and the more I read about it the more it interests me.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a form of massage that involves releases pressure points in the hands and feet which coincide with certain areas of the body. Basically our feet and hands are maps which correspond to parts of the body including our organs and vital systems such as the nervous and circulatory system.
By releasing these ‘reflex points’ you can help to stimulate circulation and muscular function to the corresponding area which can assist with relaxation and reducing stress on that particular organ or gland. The deeply relaxing nature of this form of massage can alleviate stress that builds up through everyday life and we all know how much stress can negatively affect our body’s ability to function at its optimal level!
Reflexology is not a stand-alone therapy but when used in conjunction with proper medical treatment it can help to alleviate stress which in turn improves our ability to heal both mentally and physically.
Sessions should last between 30 minutes and an hour and should not cause pain. For the best response consistency with treatment is important. A treatment cycle is once a day for 6 days in two week intervals and you are expected to note changes in your condition throughout this period. Immediately following a treatment you can experience nausea, tiredness or a worsening of your condition; this is normal and only temporary.
Reflexology can also be used purely as a one off at the end of the day it’s just a deep trigger point massage for your hands and feet and what a bonus if you de-stress your organs and vital bodily systems in the process.
Personally: I’m on the fence: I’m certainly not advocating you book a reflexology session to treat your chronic medical condition BUT I’m most definitely getting another foot treatment in the next week!
Scientifically: Medical evidence is limited, clinical trials have produced mixed results.
Are we walking on the solution to many of our health problems? It’s an interesting thought to ponder on a Monday.