Weekly sessions with a reflexologist can help your aging loved one with minor and/or severe pain. In this post, we will take a closer look at reflexology for the elderly along with the benefits and cautions.
What Is Reflexology?
Much like massage therapy, reflexology aims to heal your problem areas. A reflexologist applies pressure to reflex areas in your hands, feet, face, and outer ears, resulting in stimulation in other body parts. They achieve this through using their hands, oils, rubber balls, elastic bands, and other tools. In addition to healing minor aches and pains, reflexology can also alleviate anxiety, depression, cancer-treatment symptoms, and sinus issues.
The following are examples of points to apply pressure and where they can heal through reflexology:
- Tips of toes = Head
- Ball of the foot = Chest and heart
- Heel = Lower back and intestines
- Arch of the foot = Kidney, liver, and pancreas
- Bowel reflexes on palm = constipation
- Area below little finger = shoulder
Benefits of Reflexology
Weekly sessions of 4-6 treatments will start to show benefits for your elderly loved one. These include:
- Relaxation and stress management
- When your elderly loved one is relaxed, they will be able to handle daily problems with ease. Research shows reflexology can also ease feelings associated with anxiety and depression.
- Reflexology is also believed to readjust your circadian rhythms, allowing your body to wake up and fall asleep at proper times. This can be especially helpful for those who struggle with chronic pain or who have racing thoughts.
- Improved energy levels
- The European Journal of General Practice published a study noting that reflexology can boost one’s metabolic rate and in turn increase energy levels.
- If your loved one feels depleted or burnt out, speak to a reflexologist so they can receive help in replenishing low energy supplies.
- Improved circulation
- Reflexology can help your organs receive necessary nutrients and oxygen.
- For example, those with Raynaud’s syndrome can use these treatments to return blood flow to cold or numb hands and feet more quickly. This decreases injury risks by restoring normal sensation.
- Healed cancer-treatment symptoms
- A reflexologist can help reduce side effects, anxiety, and pain from common cancer treatments.
- In addition to improving sleep, reflexology can help reduce nausea, vomiting, and bowel difficulties, contributing to more restful experiences.
- Improved sinuses and nerves
- During a 2002 trial of 150 volunteers, researchers studied the effects of reflexology on those with chronic sinusitis. One group received nasal irrigation treatments while the other underwent reflexology treatments. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, both groups achieved the same positive results.
- Furthermore, the American Academy of Neurology discovered that reflexology can minimize nerve discomfort in those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and reduce fatigue symptoms in women with the disorder.
Cautions of Reflexology
However, there are some reasons why you should proceed with caution while using reflexology. These include:
- Bruising (though a professional reflexologist will be aware of fragile bones, injuries, and thin skin)
- Loss of sensation
- Other underlying health conditions, resulting in a reflexologist providing a weaker session to not cause discomfort