There is a saying that “You can tell a man’s worth from his hands and not his wallet.” True to the saying, our hands suggest the amount of hard work we put in every day. They play a crucial role in our work and life. But do you know that hands also aid in healing diseases? Astounded? Read more to learn more about this technique called Hand Reflexology.
Our hands are of the utmost importance when it comes to sensing, touching and communicating with others. This is perhaps why they are used in reflexology more often. As the reflexologists believe, there are ten reflex points in the body. Five of them are on the left side and the other five on the right side of the body. An examination of the hands can reveal quite a lot about the health, age, and lifestyle of an individual. The quality of the ﬁngernails, in particular, can be viewed as a window to health.
Hand reflexology is a technique whereby specific points on the hands can be stimulated by a massage, for curing various health issues. Reflexology is a traditional Chinese practice that recommends pressure therapy that involves fingers and thumbs to benefit the body. It was introduced in the U.S in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald who was known as a ear, nose and throat specialists and Edwin F. Bowers. According to William, applying the right pressure on the points can have an anesthetic effect on other parts of the body as well. Here are some important statistics about reflexology in general.
What is Hand Reflexology?
Hand reflexology is an alternative therapy that provides instant relief for various diseases. It targets specific areas of the body by applying pressure to certain points on the hands which channel energies. Reflexologists believe these channels, when blocked, cause diseases. The pressure applied through hand reflexology clears these blockages and restores well-being and balance to the body. Hand reﬂexology is a simple and effective therapy which is deeply relaxing and pleasant. Eunice Ingham theory about reflexology suggests that the flow of energy links the organs that fall within the same zone.
What Does Science Say About Reflexology Techniques?
There are some studies that research techniques of hand reflexology and its efficacy in treating some diseases.
- A study conducted in 2017 suggests the effect of hand reflexology on anxiety in patients undergoing coronary angiography: A single-blind randomized controlled trial, researches in detail technique for people suffering from anxiety. The study shows that hand reflexology can effectively decrease anxiety in coronary angiography patients(1).
- In a study conducted in 2014, A pilot study of the effectiveness of reflexology in treating idiopathic constipation in women shows that this reflexology technology has potential benefit for treating constipation in women. The participants noticed fewer symptoms after following 5 weeks of reflexology(2).
- A study conducted in 2015, Revisiting reflexology: Concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner, shows that the participants of this study had reduced symptoms after practicing for 6 months. Almost 25% of the participants experienced no headaches after this treatment.
How Does Hand Reflexology Work?
The studies mentioned above suggest that hand reflexology is useful in treating constipation, anxiety, and headaches. Let us see how it works with each of these diseases.
1. Hand Reflexology for Constipation
Hand reflexology stimulates these acupressure points for constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements and relaxes abdomen muscles by joining the Valley (LI4) point located between the index and thumb finger. Take deep breaths and squeeze the tissue using fingertips. The point gets simulated when you follow it for about one minute. This point, when simulated, also treats diseases like eye problem, toothache, chronic pains, and allergies.
2. Hand Reflexology for Anxiety
When you are stressed about something and need instant relief, you can try the hand reflexology technique for anxiety. It gives immediate relief. You can find the HT7 point where the wrist forms a crease with the hand. While applying a sufficient amount of pressure, hold this point for about 2 minutes. This point treats anxiety and relieves tension.
[Read: Yoga Poses for Anxiety Control]
3. Hand Reflexology for Headaches
Headaches can be treated effectively by this technique, especially if headaches get accused by stress and anxiety. The L14 point, used for treating constipation, can be used for treating headaches too. Also, you can also use the Pericardium 6 (P6) point. You can find it on the crease of your wrist in between tendons. Massage this point for one minute on both hands to get some relief from headaches.
What are the Health Benefits of Hand Reflexology?
Though hand reflexology technique seems relatively simple, people practicing it, experience a wide range of hand massage benefits, like:
1. Boosting Circulation
This technique improves blood circulation by effectively carrying more oxygen and blood to all part of the body. As more blood reaches different organs, metabolism gets increased. Also, the organs function in the most optimized way. Boosting circulation, in turn, promotes regrowth and faster healing of damaged cells.
2. Increase in Flexibility
This technique increases the flexibility by easing joint movement. It improves mobility. It is recommended for older people who have rheumatic arthritis.
3. Pain Relief
As hand reflexology’s pain relief is very rapid and fast, patients recover soon and get back to normal life earlier than before. It can also cure difficulties, such as carpal tunnel caused by constant use of computers and repetitive motion.
[Read: Massage for Sciatica Relief]
How Can You Practice Hand Reflexology at Home?
Hand reflexology is an easy technique that can be practiced at home by anyone. Keep in mind some rules before practice hand reflexology.
- Know what relaxation exercise is: In reflexology, the starting point is relaxation exercise. By adding these exercises, you can reap the full benefits of hand reflexology.
- Know how to reach the reflexes of hand: By knowing how to reach reflexes appropriately and understanding specific reflexes, practicing becomes easier.
Here is a step-by-step procedure to practice hand reflexology at home:
- Relaxation Exercises
- Stimulating the Hand Meridians
- Hand Reflexology on Fingers
- Hand Reflexology on Palm
- Hand Reflexology on Back of the Hand
- Use massage oil and gently rub on the wrist of your right hand. Move slowly by using outward moving action of the thumb.
- Maintain same motion and move towards inside, to edges of the palm for about half a minute.
- Turn your hands and gently use thumbs from the bottom of your fingers or in between knuckles to the wrist. Do not exert much pressure.
- Gently twist all fingers to the side so that the knuckles get rotated. While doing so make sure that you don’t hear any cracking noise.
- Squeeze very gently and remove extra oil. Repeat the same procedure on the other hand.
[Read: Ear Relexology]
Stimulating the Hand Meridians
There are different meridian points in hand, each one pointing towards each organ. Simulate these meridians by applying gentle pressure for three to five seconds, in clockwise and in an anticlockwise direction.
1. Hand Reflexology on Fingers
The fingers represent organs above your neck such as ears, nose, eyes, etc. Here is how you can practice hand reflexology on your fingers.
- Start from the right thumb and move downwards to the end of the thumb. Again repeat the same procedure over a new area on the thumb. Continue this until the entire thumb is simulated.
- Repeat the same procedure to the index finger and all other fingers on the right hand
- Pay attention to every part of the skin available from inside to outside.
2. Hand Reflexology on Palm
The palm represents body torso. It represents the stomach, liver and the other digestive systems of the body.
- The right hand should lay on a flat surface with the palm facing upwards.
- Start with under the fingers and move downwards, upwards and the sideways
- Follow the same with the center of the palm.
- Do the same thing with outer edges of hand.
- Continue the same technique from the base of the thumb across the outer edge that is over the padding between the palm and wrist. This area relates to the spine and the digestive system.
- Rub your wrist gently from the right and from left.
3. Hand Reflexology on Back of the Hand
In this method, you can perform reflexology by turning your hand down. The back of the hand is a very gentle area. It is necessary to exercise caution before practicing reflexology here.
Here are the steps
- Work down in a single direction, from the knuckles to the wrist.
- Practice this until every part of the hand is covered.
- Also, practice reflexology under the wrist.
The above procedure has to be repeated on the other hand as well. After reflexology gets completed, follow the relaxation exercise mentioned in step 1. Drink a large glass of water after this procedure and keep drinking water for the rest of the day.
Things to keep in mind while practicing hand reflexology
Here are some precautions to be followed before/while practicing reflexology.
- Avoid hand reflexology if you are pregnant. Some points can induce contractions, and so this practice is generally avoided.
- Do not stop other treatment/methods recommended by the doctor.
- Consult doctor beforehand, if you have specific conditions like thyroid, gout, low platelet count, epilepsy.
- Drink lots and lots of water.
This ancient technique is a simple and instant solution for pain relief. Hand reflexology, also known as hand massage, relaxes you by helping the immune system. Can you imagine treating a headache without a tablet or a pain relief balm? Hand reflexology can do it for you by just applying some pressure to certain hand reflexology points. Moreover one doesn’t have to go to a practitioner. You can practice hand reflexology at home, provided all steps are followed correctly and with caution.