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Proprioceptors' Role in Reflexology

Posted on July 24, 2017 at 2:36 PM Comments comments (101)
There are a lot of questions to why and how reflexology works so well to help balance the body.  While modern medicine has yet to pinpoint the exact science to the reasons why exactly this therapy works there is quite a bit of information discovered that could be part of the answer.  Proprioception is one piece to the puzzle in the theory of reflexology. 

Proprioceptors are specialized sensory receptors on nerve endings that provide information about where the body is in space.  They aid in judging body position and changes in the locations of neighboring body parts in relation to one another.  They also provide information about muscle contraction and tendon tension.   These nerve endings play important roles in walking, running, and fine tune skills and keeping our bodies in balance.  They are located in muscles, tendons, and joints.  The feet are made up of 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. In fact, the feet, hands, and head are where the bulk of nerve ending are found, which connect back to the central nervous system.

When you get a reflexology treatment, all those nerve endings are being stimulated.  In a safe, relaxing environment your nervous system can make the most of the messages being sent back and forth throughout your body via your feet and hands.  Chronic muscle contraction and tension can lesson and ligaments can relax.  After a reflexology session you feel lighter and more balanced.

We are continually learning how everything is connected and that the body works as a whole to stay healthy.  In addition to reflexology, walking and running barefoot, and yoga are great exercises to help stimulate these nerve endings and stay balanced.

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed.  I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Reflexology Stands the Test of Time

Posted on July 11, 2017 at 9:33 AM Comments comments (3)
Did you know that modern reflexology is actually based on an ancient form of foot and hand therapy? And by ancient, we are talking pretty old.  While we don’t know exactly how or when reflexology first came to be practiced, the oldest evidence of foot and hand therapy dates back to Ancient Egypt.  Ankhmahor, physician to the pharaoh, had foot and hand treatments portrayed in his tomb in a pictograph, which dated back to around 2330 B.C.  That’s over 5,000 years ago!  And not only Egypt, but also East Asia has ancient records dating back thousands of years. Archives indicate Chinese physicians diagnosing and treating illnesses through the hands and feet.  Pretty cool, huh?  And yet, as ancient times fade away, foot therapy continues!  Around the late 1200s Dominican and Franciscan missionaries are credited with introducing Chinese foot therapy to Europe.  AND…across the Atlantic, Incas, Mayans and North American tribes are known to have practiced and passed down pressure therapy on the feet and hands for hundreds of years.  With so many different cultures and civilizations practicing some form of foot and hand therapy throughout the ages, the question arises…Does it work in modern time??  YES!!  Thanks to the tireless efforts of reflexologists worldwide, modern reflexology has a serious place in integrative health and well-being.  It is used worldwide as a complementary and alternative therapy in the healthcare community and is continuing to be established as a true integrative health treatment.

Reflexology portrayed in Ankhmahor tomb
Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share a brief history of reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone has an understanding and interest in reflexology.  I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Reflexology for Wedding Day Jitters

Posted on July 10, 2017 at 12:54 PM Comments comments (2)
As spring is approaching, wedding season is hastily coming! Anyone who has been part of a wedding knows the anxious pre-wedding jitters that can come with the big day.  The location is booked, the guests are invited, and the menu is finalized.  Still have that anxious feeling?  Reflexology is the perfect pre-wedding relaxing treatment to warm up those cold feet and calm wedding day jitters. Reflexology lowers stress and brings the mind and body into a relaxed state. It’s important to remember that remaining calm and relaxed helps you stay in the moment of your special day. By allowing your mind and body to relax you can enjoy the big day to the fullest.  It also helps soothe post wedding tired feet and fatigue.

Reflexology Helps Headaches

Posted on February 14, 2017 at 12:19 PM Comments comments (3)
Almost everyone has suffered from headaches and can sympathize with how they can put a damper on your day.  Headaches can be triggered by a number of different causes.  Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, hormone imbalances, eyestrain, neck problems and sinus congestion can all be factors for a headache. Reflexology can help alleviate some or all of these symptoms!  A reflexology session may alleviate a headache by releasing tension around the cervical spine, reducing stress, improving circulation and nerve function, and assisting the body in maintaining homeostasis. 

When using reflexology to help with your headaches, it’s important to try and understand why you are having the headache.  Is it hormonal? Or, is it sinus related or due to eye strain?  Once you can pinpoint a specific trigger, you can more effectively use reflexology to help by focusing on specific reflexes.

Reflexology, Reflexology by Katie, ConnecticutThe big toe is the direct reflex for the brain/head.  So it’s wise to work the big toe aka Hallux for any headache.  In fact, working ALL of the toes is a good idea.  The toes hold the reflexes for the brain, sinuses, eyes, ears, face, throat, and the lymph nodes from the neck up.  Releasing tension in these areas would greatly help if suffering from a headache.

Along with working the direct reflexes associated with the head, it is helpful to work secondary reflexes that are associated to any areas that could be contributing to the headache.  For example, if the headache is hormonal related, working the endocrine system reflexes and reproductive reflexes would be beneficial.  If it is stress related, work the solar plexus reflexes and adrenal reflexes.  Lung reflexes are always helpful to release tension in the chest and promote deep breathing and relaxation.

 A full reflexology session that works all the reflexes is the most beneficial for stopping a headache in its tracks. The next time you see your reflexology therapist; ask them to show you the different reflex points and techniques to help alleviate your headaches!

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share the benefits of reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed.  I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Try Reflexology to get a Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on February 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (6)
Stress, depression, and illness can cause tension throughout the body.  Chronic tension in the body will inevitably cause a blockage of your natural energy flow within the body. This can result in a state of physical and mental imbalance.  This imbalance can cause you to have sleep disorders.  Reflexology can help!  Reflexology balances out the body by allowing energy to flow more smoothly and encourages relaxation throughout the entire body. Deep relaxation helps prepare the mind and body for sleep. Once your body is in a more relaxed state, you will experience a deeper level of sleep!

If you are going to try reflexology to help improve your sleep, it’s best to plan your therapy about an hour to two hours before your scheduled bedtime.  Reflexology naturally relaxes your body and mind to the alpha state of relaxation. (See previous blog regarding the alpha state of relaxation.) Mentally and physically you will already be halfway to falling asleep after a reflexology session.  If you can stay in that relaxed state before your bedtime, falling asleep will already be that much easier.

A full reflexology session is the best avenue if you are going to try reflexology.  However, if you don’t have the time to go for a session with a certified therapist, you can most certainly give yourself reflexology!  Here are some areas to work right before bedtime:
Reflexology, Reflexology by Katie, Reflexology for Sleep 

1.    Brain/Head reflexes
2.    Chest/lung/respiratory reflexes
3.    Solar plexus reflexes (Star)
4.    Adrenal reflexes
5.    Sciatic nerve reflexes

For additional sleep preparation, try some natural lavender essential oil or lotion.  Lavender has a naturally calming essence and is absorbed easily through the feet.
This is a great technique for anyone who has trouble sleeping, or a sleep disorder.  Reflexology allows your body to relax and prepare for sleep.  With optimum relaxation, your body has a better chance of repairing itself and awaking more refreshed.

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share the benefits of reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed.

How Reflexology Helped Me Find the Joy of Giving

Posted on February 10, 2017 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (0)
We all know that well known phrase, “There is more joy in giving than receiving.”  Most of us were taught it as young children.  However, how many of us were told this as children, and yet we never felt that joy or happiness we were promised when we had to share our toys? It’s funny now to watch a little kid being told to share when they really don’t want to.  Well, now as an adult I am closer to understanding the true meaning of “the joy of giving.”  And I have reflexology to thank for it!

Reflexology by Katie, Reflexology therapistWhen I received my education in reflexology, one of the first places I began utilizing reflexology was at the local hospital in Norwich Connecticut.  At the hospital they have a department called CHI (Center for Healthcare Integration).  In addition to the traditional medical care at the hospital, CHI offers complimentary alternative therapies such as massage, reflexology, reiki, and healing touch per the patient’s request.  CHI relies on therapists to offer their skills to the patients on a voluntary basis since the hospital has no funding for the program.

In the beginning of my time at the hospital, I admit I was nervous and wasn’t use to the hospital setting.  However, I had great mentors and nurses that helped and encouraged me in learning all of the hospital safety and health procedures.  Some of my friends and acquaintances would ask me why I was going to volunteer my time and energy. My response at the time was, for the experience and practice of my new reflexology knowledge and skills. However, once I actually started providing reflexology to patients it was a whole other ball game.  I cannot describe the joy that comes from giving reflexology therapy to patients.  Their smiles and thankfulness truly make the time I am there worth it.  I have gotten to know quite a few patients in the radiation department where I routinely provide reflexology therapy.  I know that they are going through a difficult journey.  My only goal is to provide a sense of relief and comfort however small it may be for them.  Afterwards, when I see their smiles, and they embrace me in their hugs and gratitude, I truly understand the joy that comes from giving.

I have found something that I enjoy giving and it has changed my life!  It has taught me more about compassion and generosity.  Giving of yourself and time for a cause is meaningful, no matter how small. No matter what your skills are, you can make a difference in someone’s day.  Whether it is coaching little league, being a big brother or sister, helping at an animal shelter, or being there for a sick friend, you can truly make a difference.  And not only will it bring a little happiness to those you are helping, it will bring joy and happiness to you as well.

Special thanks and gratitude to Paula Novak and Amy Dunion at The William W. Backus Hospital for their guidance.  And also special thanks to Elysia Bates who is a wonderful reflexology mentor.

What is Reflexology?

Posted on February 9, 2017 at 12:29 PM Comments comments (1)
While reflexology therapy has been around for quite some time and is continuing to grow as a complementary therapy in the medical field, I still find myself trying to explain to new friends and clients what reflexology is, in a way that they can easily understand.  So I thought I would break it down in a way that is a little different than it is usually explained and hopefully it will be easier to understand. 

First let’s start with the definition of “reflex.”  Reflex is described as an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought.  So for example, we touch something extremely hot (stimulus), our “reflexes” take over and we quickly remove whatever it is that we are touching.  That is a reflexive response from our nerves sensing the extreme heat and responding accordingly before we can think of the correct action ourselves.  Our nerves can create reflex actions as they collect information about external conditions in relation to the body's internal state; analyze information; and initiate appropriate responses to satisfy the body’s needs. Remarkably, the nervous system transmits such messages to the brain at speeds of 180 miles per hour!

So now we know that nerves can create reflex actions and that they send messages to the rest of our body. This brings us to reflexology and the feet.  The feet are destinations for a majority of nerves in the body.   It is said that the soles of the feet have more nerve endings than almost any other part of our body. Makes sense, doesn’t it? They are easily tickled, are more sensitive to heat and cold than other parts of the body, and have you ever stepped on a Lego?! Ouch!! Or better yet, have you ever stubbed any of your toes and instantly you can feel it shoot up to your head? The thousands of nerve endings located in the feet are indeed connected to the rest of our body and supply reflex messages to corresponding areas of the body.

I’ve been describing less than ideal examples of stimulus to get my point across. So let’s switch it up now and talk about the good kind of stimulus, also known as, reflexology! Reflexology is a therapy that uses firm and gentle pressure to stimulate the nerves and reflex points on the feet.  The toes, for example, are known reflex points for the head. Reflexology maps and charts show all the reflex points on the feet. Below is a foot chart for the Universal Reflexology method.  Applying pressure using thumb, finger, and hand techniques to the reflex points on the feet stimulates thousands of nerves and blood vessels that are connected and run all throughout our body.  Correctly stimulating a reflex point on the foot promotes health in the corresponding areas of the body that are connected to the reflex.  This type of therapy is a beneficial stimulus to the nerves and nervous system as it releases endorphins into the body which results in the reduction of stress, tension, and pain.  It feels good and is good for you!

Universal Method of Reflexology, Reflexology by Katie, Stonington CT

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed.  I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Reflexology and the Alpha State of Relaxation

Posted on February 5, 2017 at 11:03 AM Comments comments (2)
I often let my friends, family, and clients know that reflexology induces a state of relaxation known as the alpha state.  But what does that really mean and why do I always let everyone know about it?   Because it’s an important part to staying and keeping healthy.  It’s good for you and here’s why….

First, it’s important to understand how the mind works at different frequency levels or brainwaves.  There are four predominant brainwave states that science uses to measure and categorize the frequency of our minds at a given time: beta, alpha, theta, and delta.  Beta is the highest level, and delta the lowest, in terms of frequency.

Beta is the state where our mind usually operates in daily life.  We are awake and have full conscious awareness and attention to everything around us.  Higher states of beta frequency, however, typically equate to anxiety and stress.  Our conscious minds can react negatively to situations and over think.  This leads to increased cortisone production, heart rate, and can lead to hypertension.  If you experience high beta state too often you can feel agitated and tense.  Ideally, we do not want to experience the high beta state on a regular basis, especially if we are concerned about our health.  If you are in a high stress job, under pressure often, or have anxiety or restlessness on a daily basis it’s important to take time to lower your brain activity for your own well-being.

Alpha state is a more healthy frequency for our conscious minds. It is a state of physical and mental relaxation.  We are partially conscious and aware of what is happening around us, however our subconscious has partial dominance as well.  It is called the state of “aware relaxation” and it has many benefits.   In this alpha state we are able to absorb information, gain clarity of thinking, decision making and memory.  Our imagination, intuition and higher awareness are actually stimulated from being in alpha state.  Alpha waves lower cortisol levels and increase DHEA and Melatonin, hormones that slow the aging process and improve sleep. In all, the alpha state has its advantages. Reflexology, massage, music, meditation, and reading are just a few ways to help us to the desired alpha state. With reflexology therapy, a session typically gets my clients to the alpha state within 10-15 minutes and allows them to remain in alpha state for the remaining 40-45 minutes.

Theta state is the third frequency level.  This state of mind is a deeper relaxation state.  The subconscious mind is active and our conscious mind is turned off.  Theta state happens during dreaming sleep (REM), very deep relaxation, and meditation.   We find our creativity and spirituality in Theta state and can have visualizations.  What’s exciting is we can remember the content that is 
produced in theta state if we have alpha waves to connect the gap between theta and beta brainwaves. If we want to remember what our subconscious is trying to tell us, we need alpha waves as the bridge to the theta.  Many of my reflexology sessions have facilitated in reaching theta state halfway through a session.

Delta state is the deepest of relaxations and sleeps.  It is a dreamless sleep.  The physical body recuperates and repairs itself at a higher level in this state.  It is an unconscious state of mind; however some can be in a waking delta state.  This is usually seen in advanced states of meditation.  A number of reflexology sessions reach delta state depending on the environment of the session.

Alpha, theta and delta states are where we achieve deep relaxation.  By learning the best way to lower our minds to these three states, we can gain positive mental, physical, and emotional well-being.  And to those of you that think the few hours a night when you sleep is enough, it is documented that you will not be reaching your optimum level of health, physically and emotionally that way.  And worse, it can have a negative impact on your overall health.  So if you are someone that functions mostly in high beta state and is usually stressed, anxious, and “over thinking,” it is really beneficial to find ways or techniques to achieve alpha relaxation. Reflexology, massage, meditation, music, yoga, and reading are just a few suggestions and methods.  It will positively change your life for the better!

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share the benefits of reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed.  I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Earthing Is Good for Your Soles

Posted on June 29, 2015 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)