Reflexology is an alternative medicine form which focuses on the feet for treatment of pain in other parts of the body. It is similar to acupuncture in that it divides the body into zones which can be treated via reflex points. The feet are where these reflex points are located, and reflexology claims that virtually any organ or body part can be positively impacted by applying pressure to these points.
“Detailed studies over the last few years have concluded that there is no evidence sufficient to support the use of reflexology for any medical condition.”
Proponents of reflexology contend that treatment via the reflex points sends signals to the nervous system regarding the appropriate area. This in turn triggers hormones that can reduce pain and stress in the area. This theory is not accepted by many in the medicinal world, who suspect that the treatment is little more than a good foot massage. In fact, detailed studies over the last few years have concluded that there is no evidence sufficient to support the use of reflexology for any medical condition. Indeed, the claims of benefits to other organs by foot treatment could seem unrealistic to some.
However, for conditions of the feet, such as heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, bunions, etc, reflexology has some interesting connotations simply because the feet are the area needing treatment. Plantar fasciitis in particular can be very stubborn, and some sufferers have found reflexology to be the best treatment for them. Best results are usually obtained when used in conjunction with a podiatrist’s treatment, or ideally with a podiatrist who has a reflexology background. It may be difficult to find this combination, so the best alternative is to find a relexologist who has experience in the foot area. However, repeated treatments are normally recommended, often spanning several months.
Initial reflexology treatment is very similar to a foot massage. From a purely medicinal standpoint, the benefits of this would be improved circulation in the foot and lower leg. Manipulations of the feet could also give some temporary relief for arthritic conditions. The massage relaxes the muscles and ligaments in the lower leg, aids flexibility, and reduces inflammation and pain.
The middle of the bottom of the foot is actually an ideal place for a massage. For one, the arch of the foot is closely related to plantar fasciitis. These muscles take a pounding every day, and get can stiff and inflamed. A gentle foot massage can aid in the recovery of these muscles. Also, the bottom of the foot is rich in nerve endings, similar in density to the face. This enables a massage on the foot to be particularly soothing and relaxing, and can have great therapeutic effect. The muscles in the arches are all very accesible and easy to massage properly.
Reflexology and massage therapy could be a good option to try if you have had little success in other treatment methods for foot pain. Unfortunately, many of these treatments are not covered by insurance plans. Another possibility would be using some self foot massagers which have been very effective for many people. A good selection of these are available here on this site for much less cost than traditional massage therapy.
Image courtesty freedigitalphoto.net/ambro