Ancient Egyptians practiced reflexology
It is common to feel tired and have muscle fatigue or body aches. Between stress at work and home, it is easy to forget about yourself and your essential needs.
We all know the importance of taking care of our bodies. A sound body can contribute to a sound mind. We know how exercise and a proper diet assist in physical and psychological well-being. But, what about massage and acupressure? Is there any evidence to suggest that acupressure is good for the psyche? What exactly is reflexology? How do the benefits of reflexology go beyond relaxation and contribute to actual healing?
We know little about the physical mechanisms of reflexology. However, we do know that reflexology has been around since ancient Egypt as evidenced in the popular painting displayed above which shows concentrated foot and hand massage. In this depiction, the hieroglyph translates as тАЬDonтАЩt hurt meтАЭ to which the practitioner responds: тАЬI shall act so you praise meтАЭ.
Thousands of years ago, Chinese physicians also concentrated on the hands and feet as points of healing due to their awareness of nerve endings being located there. The Chinese knew these nerve endings were connected to the rest of the body. Their logic was that if pressure were focused on these nerve-ending points in the hands and feet a channeling of energy (or тАЬchiтАЭ) would take place, enabling better energy flow and circulation to the rest of the body.
This correction of energy flow, in turn, could contribute to the easing and possible elimination of pain. To the Chinese, pain could often be an indicator of congested energy or energy blockage along nerve meridians or even vital organs. Releasing such a blockage could ease pain. This is still the philosophy behind reflexology today.
Currently, NIH (the National Institutes of Health) is conducting a study regarding the relationship between breast cancer patients and reflexologyтАЩs effects on their quality of life. This study is scheduled to be completed in May 2010. Recent NIH studies with cancer patients who had metastases showed that they found immediate pain relief from reflexology.
It is clear that at the very least reflexology reduces the level of stress we house in the body. And there is certainly clinical evidence linking stress to poor health. If nothing else, we can all use a little more relaxation these days. Reflexology offers a simple, affordable, non-invasive option for pain management. Also, it just plain feels good.