Stress. Depression. Anxiety…1 in 4 of us will have a mental health problem at some time in our lives. Think of all the people you know – friends, family, colleagues – and consider that one quarter of them will have some experiences struggling with their mental health, whether now or in the past. That’s a lot of people.
One of the main benefits of Reflexology is to relieve stress and tension, simply by working the reflex areas on the hands, feet, or face. It shifts people out of the infamous ‘flight/fight/freeze’ response of the sympathetic nervous system, and soothes them into the ‘rest and digest’ parasympathetic. Having worked in Shrewsbury Mental Health services, I have seen what impact stress can have on a person’s life. Constant stress suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and disrupts sleep. Long term, we may become unwell.
Dr Gabor Mate says it brilliantly in his book ‘When the Body Says No’ and in his YouTube talks: stress affects our body’s very own tissues, and can even be used to predict chronic physical health conditions. The body carries the emotions, the bad habits, the hurt, even when we don’t realise it spiritually or emotionally. In cases of trauma particularly, the part of our brain that connects to our visceral selves is practically turned off.
In his book, Gabor recommends using Yoga as a means to reconnect to our physical selves through engaging in slow and purposeful movement, and so reintegrating the physical self with our holistic self to better move through the stress that may surround us. I have found Reflexology works in a similar way: stimulating the thousands of sensory receptors in the reflex areas in the hands, feet, or face, brings us out of our thoughts and back into our bodies. Reflexology can activate the body’s natural healing abilities, help dispel toxins which may have built up in our systems, and promotes homeostasis: the body being in balance. The body is wonderfully adept at healing; we just have to let it.
There’s alot of advice for those struggling with stress or mental health problems. My years in mental health services has taught me the importance of self compassion, of giving ourselves what we need, when we can. Mindfulness, yoga, exercise, meditation, meaningful social connections and a balanced diet are just some of the aspects we can consider in trying to become or stay well. The wonderful part of Reflexology is that you don’t have to do anything beyond be present in the room and prepared to give it a chance.
I’ve had a lot of feedback from people I’ve treated saying how much better they felt after a Reflexology treatment, and I’m so pleased to be able to offer the people of Shrewsbury and Shropshire an opportunity to explore their own healing journeys.
If you’re suffering from mental health problems please do visit your GP. I can also highly recommend the MIND and Rethink websites, too, if you’d like further information.
Here’s the link for just one of Gabor’s videos, though I’d recommend watching many more: