Using Reflexology to Relieve Stress and Tension

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Our hands and feet are incredible machines. When you think about what we do with our hands, with our opposable thumbs, and how our feet provide us with mobility, balance, and a foundation, it really incredible. We ask a lot of the hands and feet, which contain more than half the number of bones in the body total. We have 26 bones in each hand and each foot, which totals 104 of the 206 bones in our bodies.

As infants, we learn to explore the world through our hands. Every day, we grasp and release many things with our hands, and balance, walk, or run on our feet. These movements naturally stimulate reflexes which affect the entire body.

Today, since we aren’t walking barefoot, or exploring the full range of motion in our hands as we pursue modern life, reflexology is offered as a complementary therapy to relieve stress and tension. Pressure and massage of certain “reflex” points on the hands and feet correspond to each gland, organ and part of the body and reflexology is based on this. Improving lymphatic drainage and circulation, relaxing muscles, and stimulating nerve connections are additional benefits of reflexology.

A good reflexology session will include techniques such as thumbwalking, deep tissue petrissage, effleurage, stretching, and compression. As a spa professional, you should know how to warm up the hands and feet and work the “whole body” for balance. An effective way to prepare a client for a reflexology session is with massage. Because the foot is connected to the leg, you also need to know the physiology of the foot and lower leg. Foot, lower leg, hand, and arm massage is a great complement to reflexology for these areas, to increase relazation. Massage and reflexology share similar techniques, and therefore complement one another.

Since reflexology is a powerful massage modality, you need to understand contraindications, as well as how to focus on specific areas of concern for the client (particularly geriatric concerns).

As you work with a client to expand range of motion, it is critical to cause no pain. Intention has a great deal to do with the success and effectiveness of a reflexology session.

To learn more about how reflexology works and how to perform effective reflexology for hands and feet, visit Aesthetic VideoSource and view a free training video excerpt, download a pay-per-view copy, or purchase the training on DVD.

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