Reflexology – can it help relieve IBS?

For those that haven’t heard of Reflexology, many see it as an essential complementary therapy for their IBS struggles. During these difficult times with COVID-19 still very much part of our lives, the added benefit of a reflexology foot massage has been important to many for relieving stress.

So how does Reflexology help with IBS? Although it is not known exactly how Reflexology as a therapy works from a scientific viewpoint, the basic premise is that the feet are mirrors to the body and contain reflex points corresponding to all the organs and systems of the body which can become congested or blocked causing the body to function less effectively. By stimulating these pressure points, the therapist interacts with the corresponding organs, enabling the body to achieve a better level of harmony, balance and functioning.

Reflexology is seen as an ancient science and a modern-day complementary therapy. Reflexologists believe that strong emotions, anxiety and stress can impair the normal regulation of the autonomic nervous system, causing an adverse effect on those bowel functions normally carried out automatically.

Reflexology aims to relax retained tension in the body’s tissues and organs caused by IBS, and balance metabolism in those key organs involved in digestion, namely the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine and colon.

Reflexology is said to provide natural relief from many everyday health conditions through its ability to relax mental and physical tension in the body, improve general circulation and nerve supply, boost the immune system, encourage the elimination of the body’s harmful wastes and toxins, and restore a sense of harmony to the body.

Where to Find a Practitioner?

To find a certified Reflexology practitioner near you, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care allows you to search two accredited registers for complementary and holistic therapy accredited practitioners. Follow this link to search the registers and find a Reflexologist near you:

https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/check-practitioners/practitioner/reflexologist

Reflexology You Can Do at Home?

There are also some simple DIY reflexology massage that you can do at home to help get your mind and body back on track.

Follow these five simple steps to count down to calm…

  1. It’s nice to have an oil, cream or balm, so pick a product that makes you feel relaxed, and that you like the smell of! You can massage without cream if you prefer.
  2. Lightly apply cream to the foot that you would like to start on.
  3. A good wrist/ankle rotation to the right and to the left is a great way to encourage mobility and to release stiffness.
  4. Please remember to only apply as much pressure as feels comfortable to you so that it is enjoyable. Then start by gently squeezing your foot to start to increase circulation.
  5. To start to stimulate your reflex points, you will use a technique called thumb walking. Here you’ll apply pressure to a point, make circular motions and then shuffle a small step forward. See the below guide to find your reflex points.

If Reflexology does appeal to you, it’s important to remember that this is thought of a complementary treatment that can be used alongside other treatments and good habits. Other ways of coping with IBS include drinking plenty of water, keeping a food diary so you can eliminate food that exaggerates the symptoms, avoiding spicy meals, and maintaining a good diet.

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