Treating Menstrual Disorders with Reflexology.
Reflexology is a practice that has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, China, and Japan, gaining popularity in Western culture around the 19th century, and with a recurrent resurgence in popularity every few years.
Specifically, reflexology uses the practice of applying pressure to areas of the hands or feet by using the thumb and forefinger.
The premise behind the practice is that areas or “zones” of the feet and hands hold nerve endings which correlate to specific organs, glands, and body functions. When pressure is applied to these specific zones, there is increased blood circulation to those nerve endings, adding nourishment and stimulation to the correlating body system. These stimulated nerve endings send signals throughout the nervous system which are processed in the brain, triggering physiological body responses, often accompanied by deep relaxation.
Although mainstream culture often refers to reflexology as “alternative” medicine, it actually is “complimentary” medicine, as is the case with most holistic practices; never intended to replace traditional medicine, but rather to compliment, or fill in the gaps.
Menstrual disorders respond very well to the benefits of reflexology. Research studies published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Vol. 82, No. 6, December 1993) reported a 46% reduction of premenstrual symptoms in a treatment group who had a series of treatments administered by qualified reflexology practitioners ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8233263?dopt=AbstractPlus)
The participants in the study each kept daily records of premenstrual symptoms before, during, and after a series of treatments, which provided clinical findings that supported the benefits of the reflexology treatment in managing premenstrual symptoms.
Specifically, symptoms of menstrual disorders such as cramping, water retention, and headaches respond very well to this natural treatment. For example, targeted pressure aimed at the zones which correlate to the kidneys can help that system function better to flush excess fluids more efficiently. Pressure and massage of areas related to the reproductive organs help balance hormone production in the body.
There are many reflexology books and websites which contain charts that identify the specific areas of the hands and feet involved in reflexology therapy, and body systems that relate to those areas.
The greatest benefit of reflexology is that it is a natural treatment with none of the side affects common with prescription medications and traditional therapies.
There are several accreditation organizations which oversee reflexology practices, and there are many resources available online. For more information, or to identify a qualified reflexology therapist you can go to the American Reflexology Certification Board website at: http://arcb.net