Reflexology is a holistic treatment procedure backed by science and is a useful tool to help ease symptoms and ailments associated with many diseases and other health conditions. It is based on the scientific principle that the reflexes in the hands and feet are directly linked to the glands, organs and other parts of the body.
Reflexology –The History
Reflexology is certainly not a new phenomenon, it has been practiced for more than 5000 years by different cultures;but it first originated in China and Egypt, and has quickly risen in popularity across different countries.It is regarded as an alternative treatment to reckon with.
Dr. William Fitzgerald MD was the first one who recognised the benefits of Reflexology, in 1913. He createdit “Zone Therapy”. He made some interesting finds that included the fact that applying zone therapy to the feet had some positive impact on the body, and some aesthetic results to other parts of the body.
His observations were that when he split the body into 10 symmetrical longitudinal zones starting from the top of the head right down to the tips of the toes,organs inside the body were linked to certain areas of the body. He applied pressure to these areas, proving it to be beneficial for the body.
Researcher Joe Shelby Riley in 1924 further augmented the theories on Reflexology. He acquainted the world with the existence of organized horizontal lines which go across the body and published the first ever detailed drawing of acupressure points on the hands, feet and outer ears. Thus, he added the horizontal lines to the longitudinal lines that were first discovered in the U.S. in 1913.
Mildred Carter also wrote many self-help books and articles on reflexology which included “Helping Yourself with Foot Reflexology”, published in 1969. Since then, reflexology has been extensively researched in many countries like Denmark, Switzerland the United States, and Australia.
Many people are confused between reflexology and a massage. But there is a lot of difference between the two. Massage therapy is applied to the whole body to initiate total muscular relaxation, improve circulation and ease muscular tension.
Reflexology, on the other hand, is applied to certain points on the body, known as reflex points in the hands, feet, and ears. The technique involves big hand and finger techniques which impact the different parts of the body, linked to the reflex points.
Reflexology- How Does it Work?
Reflexes on the feet are a mirror image of different organs and glands in various parts of the body. It is not only about your hands and your head, some of the points are in your earstoo, proven to be beneficial for the body.
You can try stimulating reflex areas by applying alternating pressure with your thumbs and fingers. It differs from a normal massage as it is stimulating, rather than having a numbing effect on the body.
When you go for a reflexology session you will be asked a lot of questions regarding your current physical health, your medical history, the number of injuries or the number of surgeries you have had, and your reflexologist will treat you according to that. A general reflexology session can last for up to an hour.
When you are undergoing a reflexology session, you shouldn’t really feel any discomfort in any areas, and if you do, then you may have issues in that particular area.
What is Lyme Disease and What are its Symptoms?
Lyme disease is an illness caused by a tick infection such as the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, or Borrelia garinii. Lyme disease can have a great impact on your heart, skin, joints and the nervous system.
Lyme disease consists of several phases; at the onset of the disease, there is an expanding ring of redness at the site of the tick bite. It is diagnosed at the patient’s clinical signs of illness and the detection of antibodies to the causative bacteria in the blood.
Lyme disease is treated by antibiotics and is medically described in three phases; each phase has distinctive symptoms. The first phase begins with the localized disease, which occurs exactly 3 to 30 days after you get the tick bite that transmitted the infection.
The chief feature of this stage is skin inflammation. The rash is known as the erythema migrans. It affects 70% of people who suffer from Lyme disease. At first, it begins with a tick bite and then it starts getting worse over the next few days. It can then cover an area of up to about 12 inches across. A bit of the area can clear up, making the area look like a bullseye.
Reflexology cannot cure Lyme disease, but what it can do is help with your symptoms. It can be used as an effective tool as it stimulates your circulatory and lymph systems, both of which are a great way to detox. It can also help reduce anxiety and depression issues which usually affect Lyme patients.
The notable signs of early Lyme disease are the following,
- Muscle aches
There are some other symptoms which people with Lyme disease experience, which are more advanced, like a severe joint pain especially in the knees, and a stiff neck which may attack either in the early stages or occur several months after the tick bite.
Searing headaches and sharp, stabbing, shooting pains in your body may keep you awake at night. Other symptoms like dizziness and changes in your heart rate or rhythm are some of other advanced symptoms of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease, if left untreated can even affect the nervous system. Another severe symptom is Bell’s palsy, which results in the loss of muscle function in your face. There may be some movement problems in the arms and legs too.
The traditional Chinese reflexology believes that Lyme disease is an‘external evil’or pathogen that has invaded the body, which results inproducing ‘toxic fire’in the body. When the toxins accumulate in the brain or joints, there are ample physical reactions or lyme disease symptoms like fogginess/irritability and joint pain.
A Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to treatment includes Chinese herbs which eliminate the ‘fire’ element from the body and also strengthen the immune system. Treatment in TCM includes cupping on the back, which pulls out toxins and also improves circulation and/or acupuncture to give a boost to the immune system.
Lyme disease affects the entire body, so there is a multi-pronged approach to healing. Traditional Chinese Reflexology is also used as a complementary tool that enhances the body’s natural healing process.
Chinese Reflexology Points for Lyme disease
Though there are no specific points to mention to treat the Lyme disease. But generally, the Kidney point, which is considered the “root of life” and holds the life force energy, is strongly recommended to eliminate the toxins from the body. Rub the thumbs down the foot to the bottom of the arch of the foot located between the big toe and the next toe. This is the reflexology kidney zone. Apply pressure and rub vigorously in an up and down motion to stimulate the kidney.
Massage the kidney point daily for 30 to 60 seconds either using your knuckles or your thumbs to press and rub.
The other point which really works for Lyme disease is the Liver point as it also helps in detoxing. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, a healthy Liver helpsthe Qi (energy) and blood to flow smoothly through the body. In Chinese Medicine, the Liver is linked with the emotion of anger which increases the ‘liver fire’, increasing the irritability in the body.
The Liver point is found on the right foot. It’s a square-shaped area and is located right next to the Kidney point. The point is located between the big toe and the second toe.Slide your finger along the space found between the first and second toe right to the tip of the joint. The point is located right in the indentation before your finger touches the bone or the metatarsal joint. Apply pressure and massage for 2-3 seconds.
Rub it twice a week rather than massaging it daily. Use your knuckles or your thumbs to massage the area for about 30 to 60 seconds.
Encourage Self-Healing Techniques
Give your body the advantage of self-healing. One way of doing this is through love and compassion. When you are ill, it is easy to harbour negative thoughts as you wonder what is wrong with your body.
Our thoughts and emotions affect us physically. If we think negatively and continue to judge ourselves, we send the wrong messages to our body. This makes it difficult for our body to bounce back.
If you get burdened by these negative thoughts, the first thing for you to do is just, STOP.
Just imagine a small child, if he/she has done something wrong, would you only admonish him/her? Or you would step forward and offer love, compassion and encouragement?
A healthy body and mind are possible only when you try to heal yourself innately, addressing both physical and mental health. Only then would you be able to free the negative blockades in the body which block the flow of energy or Qi.
The techniques of Reflexology and TCM gently promote wellness in emotional, spiritual and physical aspects. It is only then that healing occurs. Reducing stress and increasing relaxation promotes a sense of well being.
Reflexology can also increase oxygenation, stimulate the lymph system and increase blood flow, the very qualities that can initiate self-healing and recovery. So, if you are suffering from Lyme disease, besides treating it with conventional medicine, complement the treatment with reflexology.