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.