Reflexology for Headaches

At least 78 percent of the adult population will experience a tension headache at some point in their lives; 13 percent of the US population–or 29.5 million Americans–suffer from debilitating migraines. Headaches create, and intensify with, physical and emotional stress, and they can affect sleep, work performance, and appetite. Reflexology, however, is one clinically proven remedy to relieve the nagging pain headache’s cause.

Reflexology maps depict the relationship between the human body and the reflexes in the feet. A reflex is a specific area that when worked, produces a change in the body. The reflex is not on the skin, but in the tissue. Reflexes should also not be confused with acupuncture/acupressure points. A few reflexes are as small as a pinhead, but most are larger. When pressure is applied to often tender points on a foot, change takes place in the areas to which these reflexes correspond throughout the rest of the body.

The trained reflexologist understands the anatomy of the head, neck, and shoulders, and can locate the reflex of any muscle (or other structure) in the feet. By using reflexology techniques to work the reflexes, the entire head and neck (and all structures therein) are worked quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Reflexology When Massage Is Contraindicated
Reflexology can be performed safely and effectively in situations where massage is contraindicated. For example, immediately following an accident, injury, stroke, or surgery, the tissue in the head and neck may be inflamed, bandaged, painful, or in a state of recovery. The reflexive action of reflexology offers a means to ease discomfort and support the healing process to the injured area without touching it.

The following examples illustrate that reflexology is appropriate when other bodywork is contraindicated, as it works reflexively on the targeted area, relieves pain, and promotes the healing process without applying pressure directly to the site.

– A woman in her 70s, who comes regularly for massage for discomfort in the head, neck, and upper shoulders, presented with bandages on her neck from recent skin surgery. Working her neck was contraindicated. Reflexology released her muscle tension, and improved mobility and circulation in her head and neck.

– A dental procedure resulted in a severe head injury. Symptoms included jaw dislocation, misalignment of cranial bones, absent or slurred speech, lack of tone on right side of head and face, and debilitating pain throughout the affected areas. Reflexology was absolutely essential in relieving and controlling head pain during all phases of the healing process.

– A nurse practitioner in her 40s, underwent chemotherapy and radiation for cancer. She requested reflexology to reflexively work the upper chest to relieve pain from a recently inserted stent. Within a few minutes of working the shoulder and upper chest reflexes, all her discomfort subsided and she slept peacefully. Her medical doctor and oncologist fully supported her use of reflexology. The client advocated to her medical team and colleagues how reflexology–more than any other form of bodywork and comfort care–relieved her symptoms of pain, anxiety, and fear.

Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology is not massage, and massage is not reflexology. However, these two distinct and powerful forms of bodywork are highly synergistic for working with headaches.

With reflexology, therapists can quickly affect areas where massage is contraindicated, including postsurgical and injury sites, as well as areas inaccessible with massage, such as the endocrine system, for example. Reflexology can work deeply and safely with ease, while also reducing the amount of soft-tissue therapy required to benefit the client. Within minutes, a reflexologist can evaluate, then lessen or release tension in various areas of the body, including those areas that contribute to muscle tension and headaches. Ultimately, either on its own or integrated with other therapies, reflexology encourages all systems of the body toward balance.

The Answer?
Reflexology can be used either alone or in conjunction with other body therapies to address clients’ issues with ease, comfort, and care. When massage is contraindicated, reflexology might be the answer to your needs.

from Massage by Paula S Stone