What Is Reflexology?
When you hear the word reflexology, you probably think of condensing the body down into map regions on the hands or your feet. Then you can press a specific part on your hand or foot, and it magically heals another area of your body.
Although no research shows that’s what’s happening or that these body maps exist, there are still powerful and propound reflex benefits to stimulating critical regions of the body. Stimulating key reflex points can help us feel more relaxed, reduce muscle tension, and help give a better body awareness of where your body is in space.
How Does Reflexology Work?
Stimulating specific reflex points can help you move better; because how well we move is related to how we sense and perceive our body. And a key component of how we sense our body has to do with our sensory receptors. In particular, we have sensory receptors in our muscles, joints, and tendons that work like position sensors; they tell the nervous system where we are in space and then help make fine-tuning adjustments. For example, you can close your eyes and touch your finger to your nose because of these receptors.
When we stimulate these receptors with pressure, myofascial release, or chiropractic adjustments, it wakes up these nerve pathways and acts as a reset in the spinal cord reflex areas. When we work towards frequently “waking up” these reflex pathways, we can gain the benefits of relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and improving how we move. Stimulating specific reflex points is especially valuable in complementing any rehabilitation routine.
What Are The Best Reflexology Points?
The first body region that has a predominance of these receptors is the bottoms of our feet. If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. We spend a lot of time on our feet walking, so it’s vital to have sensory receptors (position sensors) at the bottom of our feet. When you stimulate the bottoms of your feet, such as with rolling over a ball, you will be waking up those pathways and reflex centers.
Rolling the bottom of your feet with a ball can be done daily or even several times/day. Each session only needs to be 30-60 seconds/side. However, you’re not hurting anything if you choose to do it longer. It’s recommended to especially roll the bottoms of your feet before doing exercise or rehabilitation to warm up the nervous system.
Two other areas of the body with a high number of these position sensor nerve receptors are the base of the skull (upper cervical spine) and around the sacrum (very low back). These reflex areas along the spine can be effectively stimulated with chiropractic adjustments and or myofascial release techniques.