Hand & Foot Reflexology Can Relieve Headaches

Hand and Foot Reflexology Can Relieve Headaches

Hand and foot reflexology can help relieve the symptoms of a headache. Reflexology is a system of reflexes in which a map of the body is interposed on the feet, hands, ears and even face. The feet, hands and ears “reflect” the body parts or “are a reflection of the body.” By working with specific finger and thumb pressure on these reflex points, a physiological change occurs in the body. Reflexology is deeply relaxing, improves blood flow, relieves stress and helps the body normalize itself naturally.

The corresponding area to the head and neck on the hand is the thumb and fingers, and on the feet, the toes. The pads are the head reflexes and the long finger and toe areas are the neck reflexes. The top-of-the-shoulder/upper trapezius muscle reflexes are where the toe or fingers meet the hand or foot, in the web areas and around the base of the fingers and toes.

Headaches are caused by different factors. Stress and tension, sinus problems, migraines and intestinal disorders are the most common. Hand and foot reflexology can be specifically targeted to one of these conditions or administered to cover all possibilities. For example, in the case of a tension or stress headache, the reflexologist concentrates on the part of the hand and/or foot that corresponds to the neck and shoulder area, in the long part of the fingers and toes, in the web areas, and around the base of the thumb and fingers and toes, relieving the tension around the neck and shoulders.

By treating the distal portions (or ends) of all four fingers and the thumb, or all the toes, reflexologists are stimulating the head, brain and sinus reflexes. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that reflexology can be used to aid in migraine relief and decrease the amount of medication that migraine sufferers must consume to alleviate their pain.

Hand reflexology has advantages over the more conventional foot reflexology. It can be practiced unobtrusively anywhere, so when a headache strikes, help is immediately available. You can practice it on yourself or on another person. It also is suitable for both the old and the very young. You should avoid working deeply in the web of the thumb when pregnant, because it can stimulate contractions. Otherwise, it is an extremely helpful area to work. There is a meridian point in the thumb web, up against the second metacarpal bone of the hand that is especially good for headaches and migraines. To work the web areas, use a “milking” massage, using your thumb and index finger to squeeze the muscle area of the webs between the fingers, thumbs and toes. Not just the skin, but include the body of the muscle.

Among other techniques, treatment consists of finger and thumb walking techniques, over specific areas of the hand or foot, inching along like an inchworm in little “bites” to stimulate all the reflex points. One treatment normally will relieve a headache, but if you suffer recurring headaches, consider a course of six to eight sessions over a number of weeks. Once this is complete, a "tune-up" treatment once a month can help keep the headaches from recurring. Some people say they feel like they are “floating” after a session, some people feel relaxed and energized and some people feel relaxed and sleepy. It seems to depend on what the person needs at the time. Many people feel that reflexology is more relaxing than a full body massage. I believe when you can get into a deeply relaxed state, is the space where natural healing occurs.

Reflexology is not a substitute for professional medical care but a complement that works alongside your medical team's efforts. Because reflexology also increases the flow of fluids in the body, you may feel thirsty after a treatment, so do drink plenty of water, but avoid alcohol, as you may find the treatment increases its effect. Not only may it increase the immediate effect of alcohol, but it may create more stress on the body organs as the body tries to process the reflexology treatment and clear the body of the alcohol. (Note that alcohol is dehydrating and requires several glasses of water to help the body reestablish hydration)


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