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      News — Reflexology Blog

      What Reflexology can do for PMS & Menopause

      What Reflexology can do for PMS & Menopause

      For those that want to find a way to treat PMS or symptoms of Menopause with foot massage, this might be your favorite article. There is more than just anecdotal evidence that massage can treat symptoms like tenderness, fatigue, discomfort, bloating, and even irritability, mood swings, and hormonal imbalance. As someone who may not experience all of these symptoms during PMS, the acute benefits of massage can still be worthwhile - stay tuned. For sufferers of these symptoms outside of PMS or (Peri-)Menopause, this article may still help assess foot massage as a realistic component to treatment.
      Immature jokes about females needing foot massage during PMS, and men storing points away by performing said foot massages, aside, there is some truth to this concept. First of all Foot Massage feels amazing. Even if you’re a bit ticklish or have sensitive feet thanks to medical conditions, the right technique for foot massage can bring instant relief from pain and instant relaxation for just about anyone receiving the massage.

      The real question then is whether or not there is scientific evidence that foot massage can improve quality of life, and treat acute symptoms during PMS, or Menopause.

      Quickly it’s important for readers who aren’t 100% sure, that we specify the link between menopause and PMS. Generally speaking, this article is more about pre-menopause and PMS (premenstrual syndrome), rather than specifically menopause. In the stage of menopause, typical symptoms of PMS monthly will be reduced significantly, and generally ceases to exist. Every woman is different, and there are many cases where this does not happen by the book - in that case, there are some symptoms and quality of life benefits in that menopause stage.

      Foot Massage

      Furthermore, other concerns can come along with menopause that can be treated effectively with a foot massage. Suffice it to say we should be able to cover several of these carryover symptoms in this article. Note: unfortunately, the scope of this article is not sufficient to discuss nuanced, or small occurrence topics surrounding this core topic. Several of the key clinical studies that address this topic, do talk about outlier situations, however. 

      Studies include the following:


      Some benefits of foot massage for treating symptoms of PMS and other similar conditions

      • Even over the counter medicine can be very hard to handle in the body - especially over the long-term, where many hundreds or thousands of doses of pain medicine can be detrimental to internal organs and gut culture - having an alternative is important for many. According to this clinical study, a viable alternative exists (you guessed it: foot massage). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208937/ 
      • Tenderness occurs usually as a result of muscle fatigue, or inflammation for the most part. Massage can directly reduce both causes of that tenderness
      • Foot massage has an immediate benefit on well-being and comfort/relaxation. This can be a big factor in reducing anxiety and irritability

      Reflexology and why it matters for this topic


      Most of the clinical studies that cite foot massage heighten the concept that reflexology was the focal point. Reflexology has its detractors, but you can find huge support anecdotally for it. Clinical studies throughout the years attempt to prove efficacy and are getting more thorough and not surprisingly to proponents of the techniques, the studies are overwhelmingly showing scientifically-backed success in treatment. It’s also been around far longer than Western medicine, and while it may not have provable science backing every facet of treatment, it is more than legitimized at this point.

      What to do to start benefiting from these concepts

      • Don’t hesitate to get a good foot massager. It’s going to save you valuable time and energy if you are self-soothing. It is also a workhorse that makes life much easier.
      • Focus on the specific region of the foot that corresponds to the areas you feel need addressing. This may mean multiple reflexology points (for instance if you have abdominal cramping or headaches, they may require different pressure points)
      • Identify key points for your specific symptoms, e.g.the middle of the bottom of the big toes (pituitary gland), or the small pocket behind and beneath the ankle bone, which corresponds to the ovaries. 
      • Recognize the overall value of whole foot massage if reflexology seems too complicated in your moment of need - any genuine attempt at putting specific pressure on the feet will have some value
      • Consider utilizing further points of the body to alleviate other corresponding symptoms (e.g. ears and hands, etc.)

      The Effects of Reflexology on Blood Pressure

      The Effects of Reflexology on Blood Pressure

      Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine often clash on the surface. But when it comes to matters of the heart, there may be at least one indulgence that improves health while offering relaxation too. With the stresses going on around most people on a day-to-day basis, blood pressure concerns are at an all-time high across vast segments of the population. We want to discuss how the humble foot massage can have a drastic positive impact on blood pressure.

      Checking Blood Pressure

      Let’s start with an odd question that may help to illustrate an important point. 

      Have you ever gotten a small pebble stuck inside your shoe? Do you remember how sharp the pain was when you noticed it? That’s because the bottom of the foot has an incredibly large number of nerve endings. That is simultaneously why feet can ache after standing all day, and why additional pressure on certain parts of the foot can have a dramatic effect on soothing those aches. Basically, the foot is sensitive to pressure and yet, receives manual therapy and its benefits easily. 

      Anyone who has ever had a legitimate foot massage for therapeutic purposes doesn’t need to be told that relaxation is a side effect. Furthermore, anyone with stress and heightened blood pressure knows that clinical studies https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0964339799800032?via%3Dihub and common sense both tell us that an increase in relaxation is a very good combatant to overall stress levels and absolutely (at least temporarily), lowers blood pressure.

      Foot Massage

      But there are some important things to understand about these studies:

      that have been performed and the presumed courses of enhanced treatment of stress through practices like reflexology and other massage techniques. We will highlight some of them below. 

      • Reflexology is just one method that can help to alleviate blood pressure symptoms (like elevated blood pressure numbers, change in physical comfort caused by stress or elevated blood pressure, etc.)
      • You can do this type of foot massage by yourself or have it performed on you, with excellent results either way
      • Effects can feel immediate, and can be long-lasting
      • When combined with other techniques, including aromatherapy, enhanced results can be attained
      • This is not a complete treatment for elevated blood pressure, rather a way to improve overall symptom manifestation and work in harmony with other treatments
      • While efficacy can be achieved with this method, it doesn’t mean that you may not ALSO need “western medicine”, or pharmaceutical treatments in some cases. This is not intended to be given as medical advice and you should always seek the advice of your qualified medical practitioner 
      • There are several other proven methods to improving your blood pressure symptoms in short and long-term scenarios. One other way might be deep breathing therapy. Yet another could be reducing sodium, caffeine and alcohol intake
      • While every person is different, and one of the most important relationships between Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure readings is the difference in the extreme spread between them, this type of therapy can improve both numbers independently - seen by most medical practitioners as a positive thing 
      • Certain areas on the foot are believed to correspond to different parts of the body. This is usually linked in some way to the architecture of the skeletal and muscular system. (See below for a quick reference to the body part correlations.)

      The reference to Reflexology is an important one, mostly because it is the “hardest science” we have with relation to the impact of pressure on body parts, on reduction in overall stress levels. It is still not a fully understood practice - even some 4000 years after historians believe it emerged on the scene.  

      Reflexology Chart

      For the purpose of this article, it’s important to understand that reflexology and those who practice it, rely in putting pressure on key points on the body, in this case the foot, to effect change in other parts of the body. 

      Here are some common correlations between where on the foot to touch, and where you might find ancillary relief. Not all reflexology has immediate returns, though many techniques will. 

      • The heel and the ankles on both sides can be linked to the reproductive system.
      • The ball of the foot can be linked to the chest and upper abdomen. 
      • The arch of the foot can be linked to the internal organs that have to do with digestion and the gut.
      • Along the toe-line, on the bottom of the foot, starting just above the ball of the foot and ending just below the pinky toe can be linked to the upper back, shoulders and lower neck.

      Interestingly, while you may not feel the immediate effects in those corresponding areas, you often CAN feel the effects immediately. Regardless, it’s important to note that when you are in a focused, yet relaxed state, your body’s natural inclination is to lower it’s heart rate and relax the system that moves blood through your body. It can also heighten the amount of blood flow in areas where pressure is being used, which can aid in therapeutic benefit at that location. There is absolutely a harmonizing effect as a result of treatments like these when used properly and for acute symptoms. 

      What’s the takeaway? Science is proving more each day, that stress, inflammation and other deteriorating factors are leading to quality of life issues for many people. Furthermore, the heightened risk for damage to organs, like heart disease, and chronic fatigue can cause lasting problems that can eventually lead to death or other severe consequences.

      Stress Massage

      So in a few sentences:

      Stress is not good. Foot massage can immediately reduce stress. When stress is addressed in real time, it can lead to other ancillary benefits, such as improved sleep, improved quality of life and better functionality. When used with a bevy of other options, foot massage can form the core of a smart self-care routine that can put you in a better state of mind, and improve the way you feel with very little downside. Oh yeah, and foot massage feels amazing, too.

      Benefits of Reflexology for Asthma

      Benefits of Reflexology for Asthma

      Have you tried everything to get your asthma or the symptoms of chronic asthma under control, and still feel a bit underwhelmed with the net result?

      You might do as many have done before you, and look to an interesting and novel concept for helping your body cope with asthma, which has low risk and high rewards, and seems to be gaining traction thanks to the science behind it. You might be surprised to learn that there may be some emerging relevant data that backs the countless anecdotal scenarios that show foot massage can help alleviate symptoms of asthma and help to control it over the longer-term. 

      Foot Massage

      Let’s take a peek behind the curtain on this topic so you can see the ins and outs of how foot massage might be linked to improving asthma sufferer’s quality of life. It’s important to note that many treatments didn’t start from a scientific base, and lacked early hard scientific backing for their efficacy. Many treatments for chronic illnesses, started as temporary relief mechanisms that eventually had enough testing and proof to substantiate why they were so useful. Foot massage might currently fit into this category, but recent studies are improving the underlying datasets and proving there is a reason for the results. Take this study
      [http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?pe08019] for example, involving massage of all types, including foot massage on severely asthmatic children and teens.

      This all points to the conclusion that there is burgeoning legitimate clinical data to support the concept that foot massage can have a dramatic positive impact on asthma, especially in conjunction with “traditional” treatments.

      Here is some data from a separate study
      [http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/gjhs/article/view/56086] that says this is true.So why does this work, and how can you benefit from the positive effects on treatment of asthma with foot massage?

      Why does foot massage work for treating asthma?

      It’s important to understand how many chronic problems with health start with inflammation and stress in the body’s systems. Asthma is essentially that - a chronic disease that manifests symptoms that are triggered by different mechanisms, but which cause acute inflammation in the airways.

      “Chronic” means that something is persistent or recurring. “Acute” in this definition means more drastic, temporary, and specific conditions.

      Foot Inflammation

      Massage is a time-tested treatment for chronic and acute inflammation, though it is also important to understand that inflammation is almost never able to be completely controlled by massage alone. Many other factors can cause inflammation to persist and symptoms to show up. 

      Given that information, the most important way to treat asthma is to reduce inflammation, and attempt to control the frequency with which severe acute inflammation can occur. In the case of severe acute symptoms, patients use things like oral corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Reflexology and massage in general center around this concept. Not only do they provide a mechanism to tell the brain to send blood flow to the surface of the skin in areas where the massage is happening, they also can be linked to reducing inflammation through other means.

      Reflexologists believe that there are points in the foot that correspond to the lungs and bronchi. Specifically they state that this is the pad of the foot that is adjacent to the ball of the foot and reaches to the outer edge of the foot at the base of the pinky toe. Anecdotally, this has been experienced as a true methodology for decades in comprehensive accounts. Clinically, studies are beginning to show the same thing.

      Reflexology Chart

      Adding pressure to that area can alleviate symptoms relatively quickly, though, the treatment is not generally suitable for emergency situations where a bronchodilator or other rescue medication may be necessary. Rather, this is a practice that can improve conditions both acute and chronic as part of a treatment plan.

      But quality of life is extremely important too. Foot massage is also quite relaxing. The body can be “reset” in a sense when relaxation is taking place. We know the regenerative effects of a good night’s rest. Similarly, we see things like hiccups subside with prolonged calming, and moderated breathing; other triggered symptoms can generally see positive effects from relaxation. 

      Foot massage can reduce inflammation, and more obviously, the pain from inflammation immediately in practice.

      How can you start to benefit from these types of foot massage therapies for treating your asthma?

      Foot Massage

      • Set up a routine for daily foot massage, even if that means multiple times a day. (After all, who doesn’t have enough time for a foot massage?)
      • Find a way to incorporate a quality automated massage device that can help you to pinpoint trouble spots on your feet to improve consistency in the massage techniques
      • Consider learning about placement and pressure with regards to the lungs and bronchi in reflexology
      • Evaluate your stress and inflammation levels and understand that even minor
      • inflammation can trigger major episodes
      • Work with a partner to mutually ensure stress relief through proper foot massage (see our other articles about how this can benefit you even more)

      Some additional points to consider:

      Asthma Attack

      Some asthmatic reactions can be life threatening. Massage is not to be considered a rescue remedy. 

      Treatment may or may not show immediate results, however it is a relatively accepted notion that continued use of proper massage techniques are able to reduce stress and inflammation.

      Foot massage is a low risk, high reward venture that is likely to have some quality of life benefits, and can help reduce inflammation, including the type associated with chronic asthma.