Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, and if the smallest fraction of blood supply is cut off from one or more parts of the body, the effects soon become evident. More than 1,000 times a day, blood circulates through the body's many miles of veins and arteries.
Stress and tension tighten up the cardio-vascular system and restrict blood flow. Circulation then becomes sluggish, causing high and low blood pressure.
By reducing stress and tension, reflexology allows the cardio-vascular vessels to conduct the flow of blood naturally and easily, and assists in the elimination of toxins and impurities.
Reflexology has been known to produce good results with diabetes, especially if the treatments begin shortly after being diagnosed.
Diabetes is caused by a deficiency of insulin production in the pancreas. Some of the ailments suffered by diabetics are: bad circulation, peripheral neuropathy or damaged nerve, numbness, retinopathy, constipation, rectal dysfunction in males, and heart problems.
Reflexology improves circulation, boosts the immune system and instigates healing forces. The Diabetes Association has endorsed the effectiveness and results gained from reflexology. Many patients have reduced their medication under the supervision of their physician. Since reflexology effectively reduces stress, diabetics who have regular reflexology treatments maintain balanced sugar levels.
Approximately 400,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis in the U.S., with approx8mately 200 more being diagnosed each week. It is estimated that 2.5 million individuals may suffer from MS worldwide. It is an autoimmune disease that attacks the Central Nervous System consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Myelin which protects the nerve fibers, enabling them to function, is destroyed or damaged causing a disruption of electrical impulses from the nerves to the brain.
Common symptoms include: bladder and bowel dysfunction, dizziness and vertigo, difficulty with memory, attention and problem solving, fatigue, balance problems and difficulty in walking, numbness or "pins and needles", pain and vision problems. Other less common symptoms include: headaches, hearing loss, itching, seizures, spasticity, tremors, speech and swallowing disorders.
Reflexology has become increasingly popular in the treatment of MS. The Complementary Medicine Clinic at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel-Hashomer, Israel conducted a study with 71 persons diagnosed with MS for an eleven week treatment period. 53 Reflexology volunteers received pressure on specific points in the feet and a massage of the calves. The control group received a nonspecific massage on the calf area. Symptoms were assessed in a masked study in the beginning, in 6 weeks, at the end of the treatment phase and again at a three month follow-up. The Reflexology group showed significant improvements at the end of the study period for scores of paresthesias (numbness, tingling), urinary symptoms and spasticity (a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted). Muscle strength scores for the group showed borderline improvement. The improvement in the intensity of paresthesia remained significant at the three month follow-up. Subjects in the control group showed no significant improvements on any of the outcome measures.
A pilot study of the effects of foot and hand reflexology applied to paralyzed clients began in 1980. Foot and hand reflexology techniques were applied to a quadriplegic client and two paraplegic clients. The work consisted of 220 hours of sessions, 338 hours of sessions and 358 hours of sessions applied over a time period of three to five years.
From this work it was concluded: (1) A possible mechanism within the existing nervous system explains the workings of reflexology: the integration of autonomic-somatic information by the body. Such a mechanism allows the body to coordinate the involuntary internal reactions of the autonomic nervous system with the actions of the musculo-skeletal system for the purposes of survival. (2) The application of pressure, stretch and movement technique to the feet can effect a physical change within the body. (3) An interruption of the body's imaging process occurs in paralysis. The imaging can be changed by the exercise of locomotive components, pressure, stretch and movement.
A major observation was that pressure techniques applied to the feet elicited (1) what we came to recognize as a segment of the stride mechanism and (2) a direct response of the autonomic nervous system. Specifically, the spasming of paralyzed limbs in response to pressure applied to the feet of the paraplegic clients came to be conditioned into a series of sophisticated movements consistent with the positioning of hips, legs, ankles, and feet for walking. Pressure technique applied to one foot elicited movement of both limbs, each appropriate for a segment of stride in opposition to the other.
The response of the quadriplegic client differed from that of the paraplegic clients. Pressure technique applied to the sole of the foot, base of the toes of the left foot elicited movement of particular digits of the right hand, as if the client was playing a guitar. Responses were elicited from left foot to right foot and vice versa but paled in contrast to the left foot/right hand response.
Secondly, a stereotypical internal organ response was elicited in all three clients from general work on feet. The response varied from client to client but seemed to be internal body adjustments. One client shivered and her teeth chattered, yet when asked, she would report no sensation of being cold. One client perspired on one side of the head. One client perspired below the level of spinal cord injury and experienced intestinal tract grumbling. The responses developed over time and were extinguished over time.
Aside from immediate responses to reflexology work, none of the three clients experienced a bladder or kidney infection, a common occurrence, during the course of the work. In addition, the quadriplegic client experienced a gradual return of the ability to sense pain, heat, cold, light touch, and deep pressure. This ability varied over his body seemingly from dermatome to dermatome. The pain sensation developed into discrete localization of pain. He reported the ability to sense fullness in the stomach next followed by sensation of the need to empty the bladder. Kunz K, Kunz B, "The Paralysis Project," Reflexions, Vol. 8, No. 1, J/F/M 1987. http://www.reflexology-research.com