Years ago, a client under the care of a talk therapist for depression reported to me after one of his weekly foot reflexology sessions that, in his mind, reflexology was just as therapeutic as, if not more than, his weekly counseling sessions.
I was naturally elated to hear that, and curious to know more. So, I asked him to say more.
Before, I share what he said, I wonder if you know that reflexology was first practiced in Russia in psychiatric wards with those suffering from mental illness; not with people dealing with physical health challenges as it was elsewhere in the world. What my client was sharing obviously was not without precedence.
Okay, here is what he said:
“In my appointments with my psychiatrist, I am learning how certain repetitive thoughts have created feelings in me that have developed into this depression I have hid and battled for years. The process is insightful, sometimes painful, and yes, it is helping. But, when I receive reflexology, I don’t have to revisit past memories and painful experiences; I don’t have to try to understand anything about myself. There is never an expectation from you that I share anything about what is going on; only an invitation. I just get to experience myself in a way I never have before. I get to relax deeper than I ever have, and just feel myself as safe and tension-free. That is the most healing thing I can think of, because it has shown me who I really am, beneath the depression.”
I don’t know if I have ever heard such a heartfelt testimonial about the power of reflexology. That incident was years ago, and yet it remains vivid in my memory.
I have since used reflexology on many occasions with people suffering from depression and anxiety. I find it is a wonderful complement to talk therapy – and one that people really enjoy, too!
Here are the reflexes that I focus on, and why. Try it with the next person you see who would like to see their mental state improve.
- Central Nervous System – so as to invite the autonomic system to shift into a parasympathetic or theta state, where deep healing can occur. I also like to start and end the session holding both solar plexus points to relax all the organs in the torso.
- Endocrine system – the body’s slower communication system. To balance hormones involved with emotions.
- Diaphragm – to initiate deep, relaxed breathing. Emotions affect our breathing. (Think about when your breath might tremble with anger, or stop briefly because of fear.) Conversely, we can affect our emotional health through conscious breath. The breath is the link between the body-mind.
Noreen Linton. says
Where are u in Garvagh? I suffer from depression & Anxiety. Had it done in hospital after having my second baby because I couldn’t sleep. I loved it.
Karen Ball says
Noreen: I’m glad to hear that you have had positive results with reflexology. I am in Saint Augustine, Florida, USA.
Kelly Sanders, BS CST, LMT, TRS, CNA, RCR, llp says
Excellent comment; I too am a registered certified reflexologist a cranial-sacral therapist, a licensed massage therapist as well as a therapeutic recreation specialist. I’m near Nashville, TN
Barb Bodkins says
Reflexology helps all areas of life we as reflexologist can’t cure but we do help the healing process and I love watching my clients feel better, it’s awesome
Karen Ball says
It is so rewarding, isn’t it, to see clients improve with reflexology. Love it!
Lori Read says
Hello, I am a Certified Reflexologist with the Ontario College of Reflexologists, in London, Ontario, Canada. I have been certified since 2011, had a practice in my home until 2017, and now work at Massage Addict two nights a week, as their Reflexologist. I had a client recently suffering from Anxiety and Depression and I assured her she had come to the right place. I also encouraged her to engage in Talk Therapy with a Psychiatrist, Psychologist or Social Worker to complement the Reflexology treatment (s). Hopefully she will return for more. She was deeply relaxed throughout her treatment. I worked the entire body, of course, as the Ontario College of Reflexology dictates must be included in a 1 hour routine, but I did spend a bit more time on Hypothalmus, Pituitary Gland, Thymus Gland as well as Endocrines and gave the spine some extra TLC as well. I worked extra on head/brain reflex points. I also encouraged her to introduce some type of physical activity, be it walking, running, swimming, cycling into her daily routines. Lori M. Read, Certified Reflexologist.
Karen Ball says
Thanks for sharing that, Lori. It sounds like the woman got exactly what she needed, including some good referrals.
Caroline dunne says
Hi I’m only new to this page I suffer from low mood depression I am attending doctor and has prescribed me antidepressants which I’m taking for couple of years now. I have read your comments and will give the reflexology a try.
Karen Ball says
I hope that you see some relief from receiving reflexology, Caroline. Regular daily movement is also known to help.