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Does Reflexology Really Work?

by Laura Norman


Over the last five decades I have pursued my mission of making the science of Reflexology understood, appreciated and available around the world. I wrote what became a best-selling book on how to use Reflexology for a wide variety of people and conditions. I have worked with thousands of clients and have trained thousands of Reflexologists in my holistic method of Foot, Hand, Ear and Face Reflexology, which promotes profound relaxation to facilitate healing at many levels - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Why the focus on “profound relaxation”? Stress has been shown to be the major causal agent of illness, as summarized by the American Heart Association (from “How Does Stress Affect You”):

• 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.

• 75% to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

• Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.

• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.

• The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

By releasing stress, your body, and your mind, are able to begin the healing process. I have received hundreds of testimonials from clients and graduates serving witness to the power of Reflexology to promote better health and well-being, e.g.,

“My sister was in a near fatal accident and was placed in intensive care, in a coma and on a respirator. The doctors did not know if she would survive or come out of the coma. They told me that if she did, she would probably have to stay on the respirator. I happened to have bought your book, and I worked faithfully on my sisters feet every day, if only for a few minutes. My sister did come out of the coma – and I’m writing now because they took her off the respirator today.”

Yet, there are still times when I meet a new client, or someone interested in our Certification training, who asks, “Does Reflexology really work?” While I could quote many more testimonials, there is substantial scientific evidence supporting Reflexologys effectiveness:

Acid Reflux - 141 male and female participants with acid reflux: 63 in Group A were given one treatment of foot reflexology daily for 10 days. 78 in Group B were given conventional drugs and dietary and lifestyle changes only. In Group A, 74.6% reported complete relief from symptoms, 20.6% experienced some relief and 4.8% had no change. In Group B, 53.8% reported complete relief, 29.8% experienced some relief, and 16.4% no change.

Asthma (Infantile) - 45 children with asthma, shortness of breath, prolonged exhalation with asthma wheezing sound, bronchial asthma aggravated with crying, (both male and female, ages 5 months to 7 years old), were given 40-50 minutes of foot reflexology daily for 2-12 weeks. Results: All symptoms disappeared.

Back Strain - Twenty patients having acute lumbar sprain from 2 hours to 15 days, were given foot reflexology. 25% reported complete recovery after one session; 50% reported complete recovery after 3-4 sessions, and the remaining 25% were symptom-free after 5-7 sessions.

Birth and Delivery - in a four-month study, sixty pregnant women were given reflexology during delivery. The midwives present reported that fifty-eight were greatly relieved of pain. The study concluded that foot reflexology is useful in assisting delivery by reducing the use of drugs to stimulate uterine contractions, and by reducing the need for analgesics.

Constipation - fifty-three participants with constipation, both male and female, ages 7-69, were given foot reflexology once a day for ten days and were told to drink warm water daily. 95% of the patients reported a return to normal elimination, and 4% reported improvement within five days to three months.

Dementia - 3 participants with senile dementia were given daily foot reflexology. After 20 sessions, one 58 year old female with insomnia, dizziness, and poor memory improved greatly. After two months, a 84 year old male suffering from stubbornness, slow reaction and loss of memory of recent events showed remarkable improvement. After 8 sessions, a 58 year old man with headaches and forgetfulness for 20 years felt mentally cleared and reported improved memory.

Diabetes - 215 participants with diabetes and diabetic complications were given 1-6 sessions of foot reflexology. After the reflexology, 130 had no symptoms and normal glycemic levels; 80 had mild symptoms and nearly normal blood/urine glucose; the remaining 5 remained unchanged.

In another study, ten participants with diabetes and related pathologies were given a series of foot reflexology sessions. Their blood sugar remained regulated for two years. Seven were taught how to give self- reflexology, and remained in good health for two more years. Four reduced their medication, and three stopped using medications.

Headaches - in a study of 26 people, both male and female, ages 19-43, with history of headaches lasting 1 hour to 5 months, all were given foot reflexology daily. Seven were symptom-free after the first session, thirteen after two sessions, and six after three sessions.

Infertility - a study of four women, three with primary infertility (never been pregnant) and one with secondary infertility (pregnant once but not able to conceive again), ages 26-30, were given 30-40 minutes of foot reflexology daily for 10 days. Reflexology was not given during menstruation. All 4 women became pregnant after the sessions. Separately, a 37 year old woman, with very few menstrual periods and unable to get pregnant during ten years of marriage, was given foot reflexology. In the first week there was significant improvement in her overall health. She continued and became pregnant five months later.

Insomnia - Twenty participants, male and female, ages 40-70, who reported chronic insomnia for 3-4 years were given a series of ten foot reflexology sessions once a day after unsuccessful treatment with drugs, acupuncture, moxibustion, and physiotherapy. 45% of the study group reported that their insomnia was gone, 35% reported great improvement, and 15% reported some improvement, an overall rate of improvement of 95%.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - In a study with 58 volunteers, both male and female, ages 23-67, with irritable bowel syndrome for up to twenty-five years, were each given 15-30 minutes of foot reflexology twice a day for two weeks. 36 (62%) reported complete relief from symptoms; 8 (13.7%) improved; 5 (8%) somewhat improved; 9 (15%) reported no change.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Fifty-three volunteers were divided into two groups: twenty-seven were treated with foot reflexology, 26 were in the control group, treated with non-specific massage of the calf. Treatments were given once a week for eleven weeks. The reflexology group reported significant decreases in intensity and duration of paresthesia and urinary symptoms as well as significant improvement in spasticity, and some improvement in muscle strength.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - a 1993 study found significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for women given ear, hand and foot reflexology than for the women in the control group who received none.

Panic Attacks - a study compared three different therapies and their curative effects on 61 volunteers. 36 received pharmacological treatment and 25 received reflexology. In a followup two years later, the curative rates with reflexology - 64%; pharmacology - 16%.

Sciatica - Thirty-six patients with sciatica were given 10-20 sessions of foot reflexology. Results: 81% were cured and 19% reported therapeutic benefits.

Sexual Dysfunction - In a study with 37 volunteers, 19 in Group A were given 30 minutes of foot reflexology daily. 18 in Group B were given traditional Chinese medicine only. In Group A 94.7% reported significant improvement and, in Group B, 94.4%. It was also found that foot reflexology can positively affect one’s physiological, psychological, and spiritual levels.

As the evidence continues to grow, Reflexology is gaining more and more recognition throughout the medical community. Well-respected medical doctors and surgeons, including Dr. Bernie Siegel, cancer surgeon at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Cardiologist at Columbia-Presbyterian in New York City, Dr. Justin Wernick, former Chief of Orthopedics at the New York Podiatry College, Dr. Vera Zablozki, Neurologist and Dr. Wang Liang of China to name just a few, report how valuable Reflexology is for treating their patients in conjunction with traditional medicine.

So, does Reflexology really work? Based on the hundreds of testimonials I have received, combined with the many studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Reflexology across a broad range of conditions, plus the growing support within the medical community, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Laura Norman, M.S., LMT, world-renowned Holistic Reflexologist and author of the best-selling book, Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, offers private sessions in Holistic Reflexology and Life Wellness Coaching and Reflexology Training and
Continuing Education Programs in Boynton Beach, Florida, The Berkshires
and New York City beginning July 19th.

Learn more about how Reflexology can transform your life and your career at www.lauranorman.comCall 413-854-2615 • 212-532-4404


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