As a reflexologist and massage therapist here in Poole, Dorset, I am in contact with clients on a daily basis, both physically and emotionally.
I witness first-hand how touch can transform a person. Some clients arrive feeling very anxious, stressed, upset, apprehensive and guarded but during the first few minutes of Reflexology or Indian Head Massage I can physically feel the person relax and the tension start to seep from their body.
When we hurt ourselves the first reaction is to either rub or put our hand on the affected area. This soothes the immediate pain you feel. When we are comforting someone who is upset our reaction is to touch, hold their hands, rub their arm or put a reassuring hand on their shoulder. We cuddle our children when they are upset and hold the hands of loved ones through illness or death.
Help Is At Hand (excuse the pun)!
In the UK we live in a society were touch is usually reserved for only those closest to us and even then, it may not be a common part of our lives. However, the antidote to a stressful day, illness or woes could lie at the tips of your fingers:
Through massage you are not only relaxing but you are also boosting your immune system. Receiving a 45 minute massage therapy treatment has been found to increase the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help defend the body from disease. Other physical changes include lowering the levels of cytokines, which are molecules that increase inflammation and a decrease in your stress hormone, cortisol.
Massage also aids a restful night’s sleep which is paramount for your body’s ability to heal itself. During this restorative stage of sleep, blood pressure drops, breathing slows down, blood flow increases in the muscles and tissue is repaired.
In studies at the Duke University in Durham, evidence has shown that touch and massage can cut levels of stress hormones, which have been implicated in increasing the risk of a number of diseases. Touch may also increase levels of melatonin and of the feel good hormone serotonin.
Research suggests that stress can lead to an increase in the time it takes the body to heal.
So while some think that Massage and Reflexology are luxury pamper activities it is now starting to be seen as a valuable preventive treatment in health care. Not only can it assist in decreasing pain and tightness in muscles but it also known to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, stress and sleeping disorders.
For more information on Reflexology or Indian Head Massage, or to book a taster session in Indian Head Massage (£15.00 20 minutes)
Please contact me.