Could Reflexology be as effective as Painkillers?

by admin / 28 August 2013 / No Comments

A new study suggests in some cases it might be! Fans of reflexology have long since sung the praises of its benefits. 

It has been cited as potentially offering relief for a long list of ailments, including headaches, aches and pains and depression, as well as offering a relaxing, stress-busting treatment. Its popularity has soared in recent years.

A recent study by the University of Portsmouth looks set to change that even further, after researchers found that, in certain circumstances, it may be as effective as painkillers.

The small study saw 15 people submerge their hands in ice-cold water. In one session they were given reflexology beforehand, and in another they believed they were receiving pain relief from a TENS machine that wasn’t actually switched on.

Those who had reflexology first were able to keep their hand in the water for longer before it felt painful (40%), and were able to tolerate the pain longer (45%).

Dr Carol Samuel, a trained reflexologist and co-author of the study, says: “As we predicted, reflexology decreased pain sensations. It’s likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.”

Pointing out that this is an early study and more are needed, she adds: “It looks like it may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions

that are associated with pain, such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.” Other less rigorous studies have in the past had similar findings, including 2010 Iranian research which found reflexology was more effective than Ibuprofen in reducing period pain intensity and duration.

So how exactly does it work?

The Association of Reflexologists (AoR) explains there are several theories.

Many believe the therapy works in a similar way to acupuncture, by stimulating meridians (energy lines) in the body through applying pressure to specific points. This is thought to release blockages in energy. Some believe internal organs adjust to the sensory input of a therapeutic touch, and other theories include the possibility that reflexology releases endorphins and encephalins – the body’s natural painkillers. The AoR says Japanese research from 2008, using MRI scans, showed a link between foot reflexology points and a brain reaction, suggesting the link from pressure points to organs occurs through a blood flow reaction in the brain.

People in pain should always seek conventional treatment as medically advised first. The therapy’s is also very good for stress and sleep problems, and people will often have it as a one-off treat.

However in many cases for reflexology to make a real difference, regular sessions are needed.

SPECIAL OFFER: National Reflexology Week take place during 22nd-29th September, and to celebrate this campaign we will be offering Taster Sessions with Jill Roarty on Thursday 19th & Friday 20th for just £15.00 for 1/2 hour treatment.

To book, call the clinic on 01844 215555.

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