Foot massage or Reflexology is a therapy that helps and heals congestion in other related parts of the body, through the feet. It also helps in maintaining and restoring your body’s natural equilibrium. However, you can’t cure any severe illness or a life-threatening medical disorder with reflexology.
According to the core belief of reflexology, our feet contain several reflex points that correspond to every part, organ, and gland of our body. Reflexologists also found an image of the body mapped onto the foot, and they believe that manipulating a part of the foot can correspond to a part of the body, such as the brain. It can improve the flow of energy to that specific part, promoting its healthy functioning.
History of Foot Massage
Foot massage is done worldwide, but the Chinese (including Thais) have been practicing the art of healing with foot massage for as long as 5,000 years. It was even mentioned in an ancient Chinese medical book in the Emperor Wendi’s reign, and an Indian Ayurveda Book “Massage is a self-healing method”. Foot massage also appears to have been a medical treatment in ancient Egypt, which was evidenced by a wall painting that was found alongside other medical procedures’ paintings in the tomb of a high-ranking Egyptian official, dating back to about 2330 B.C.
Later, the foot massage and its benefits were spread into Japan, and it was also brought into western countries around the late Manchu Dynasty (1643-1912 A.D.), when westerners started to get in touch with the Chinese.
Research on Foot Massage or Reflexology in Western Medicine
Very little high-quality scientific research has been done on the effectiveness of reflexology. Most western scientists are skeptical about the existence of meridians and Qi (consider them as an energy highway) in feet because these entities cannot be measured or observed. However, scientists actively worked on a related practice of acupuncture and demonstrated that acupuncture has a significant effect on how the brain functions.
Acupuncture gets such results by acting on the nervous system, and it also appears to activate the pituitary gland and different parts of the brain in a way to affect the body’s production of brain chemicals, proteins, and hormones.
So, how Does Reflexology Works?
Technically, there is a difference between a simple foot massage and reflexology. However, many of the benefits are the same. The person giving a foot massage, stimulates and applies pressure to the foot or certain parts of the foot, hence increasing circulation and promoting specific bodily and muscular functions.
A person’s hands and feet are much more sensitive than most people realize. A professional reflexologist can detect slight changes in specific points on the feet, and he/she can work on those points to affect the corresponding organ or system of the body.
Here are some benefits of Thai foot massage:
- Relieves pain and stiffness caused by exercising or using muscle for an extended period.
- Boosts blood circulation system in the body
- It helps prevent and cure symptoms of constipation, asthma, stress, sinusitis, headache, and migraine.
Benefits of Foot Massage on Brain
According to traditional Chinese medicine, manipulating specific reflex points on the feet that communicate directly with the brain, can stimulate the flow of vital energy to our brain and promote a balance of the brain’s processes. However, more well-designed scientific research is required on this topic to test the validity of this claim.
Here are some benefits of foot massage on the brain:
- Relieves stress
- Promotes a state of deep relaxation
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Relieves headache including migraines
- Reduces anxiety and depression
Stimulating Reflex Points for Brain
The reflex point for the brain on the foot is the tip of the big toe as well as the tips of the second and third toes. You will find the reflex points for the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and pineal gland on the pads of the big toe. All of these are important for brain function. You can further find out more detail about the reflex points on a reflexology chart, which is a visual map of all the reflex points on the foot.
Also, to receive the benefits of foot massage for the brain, you can use a few different techniques. Begin the therapy by lightly stroking the reflex point with a downward motion using your fingertips. You can also do finger-walking in which you massage the area by pressing in up and down motion with your thumb and forefinger. Another technique is that you apply firm pressure to the reflex point with your fingers for about one minute.
Who Can Benefit from Foot Massage?
Foot massage is suitable for everyone. However, most people use it for relaxing their mind and body. It is an effective tool for:
- Sleep disorders
- Back pain
- Digestive disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
However, there are some restrictions as well, which are as follows:
- You should not receive a massage until at least one hour after having a meal.
- A foot massage can be given every day, but the total amount of time of both feet in a day shouldn’t exceed 45 minutes.
- Only 10 minutes of foot massage should be given to the patients who used to suffer from a heart attack.
- Foot massage should be given with quite an accuracy and by professionals to avoid the wrong reflection, which may cause muscle infection.
- After taking a massage, one should drink a glass of water to eliminate any toxin and lactic acids developed during the massage process.
- Menstruating and pregnant women and people who are bleeding internally or externally are not allowed to receive a foot massage.
- Both masseur and the person receiving a foot massage should not wash their hair, hands, feet, or take a bath within one hour of massage to prevent the body’s elements from the effects of coldness.
Simple foot massage, reflexology, or Thai foot massage are all different but same in terms of advantages. It has several benefits, including stress reduction that can also be received with the help of massage oils. If you want healthful functioning of your brain, relaxation, and other benefits through a natural therapy, you should definitely receive a Thai foot massage from a professional.
We hope that this article has helped in extending your knowledge about the art of foot massage and its several benefits on our health.