Recently, I was getting a foot massage from my wonderful husband after a 12-hour day of being on my feet at work. I could feel certain areas on my feet that were really sore. Of course, I’ve always been aware that we have pressure points on our feet but never thought much of it until I about jumped up when my hubby applied pressure to the middle of my foot.
I never paid much attention to foot massages before, only that it felt good being part of a full body massage in a day spa. Since I use essential oils for just about everything else in my life, it got me thinking, why haven’t I been applying them to my feet? I started to research foot reflexology and was surprised to learn that there are pressure points in your feet that represent various organs, bones, and muscles of the body. This was intriguing but I asked myself, why didn’t I know more about this? Hasn’t reflexology been around for a long time? Do others know about all of the health benefits of foot reflexology? Which is how it lead me here to share it with you.
How Does Reflexology Work?
Reflexology works with the central nervous system. According to research by British scientists done in the 1890s, it was shown that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs when applying different amounts of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears. It is known to help relieve stress, which in turn helps the body heal and regenerate itself, bringing it back into balance. People who practice this technique are called reflexologists.
There is a method to the treatment, and it all revolves around the charted areas of your foot. A reflexologist will use a diagram like the one shown here, massaging the feet using specific thumb and finger hand techniques. The theory behind it is that the feet are a microsystem of the body and by applying pressure to certain parts of the feet, you can have a different effect on the corresponding part of the body.
What are the Health Benefits of Foot Reflexology?
Reflexology can be a natural approach for anyone looking to relieve stress and anxiety, reduce pain, improve their mood and their overall well-being. Some people have even reported that it has helped them get over colds and bacterial infections, improve digestion, ease arthritis pain, boost their immune system, boost fertility, and recover from back pain. It’s non-invasive and comfortable to receive, and I am happy to have found a reflexologist here where I live who practices these techniques.
When applied by a professional, this ancient form of massage can encourage relaxation, improve circulation, increase energy levels, promote nervous system stimulation, and even revitalize nerve function. I’ve been getting massages for years, but can’t believe I never knew anything about foot reflexology and all it has to offer for our general well-being. With all of these health benefits, I realized that I needed to start doing more self-care for my feet, so I decided to start using essential oils daily on the bottom of my feet as well.
Using Essential Oils with Foot Reflexology
Essential oils are effective on the feet because the pores on the bottom of our feet are some of the largest on the body. The large openings are ideal for application and absorption, allowing the oils to quickly pass through layers of skin and release their benefits into the bloodstream. When essential oils are applied to the feet, studies have shown that traces can be found throughout the body in 20 minutes or less! Applying essential oils to your feet allows the benefits of the oil to reach multiple organs, systems, and areas of your body that are in need of support, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
According to the reflexology chart above, you can visualize which parts of your feet are believed to be connected to which areas of your body. Massaging an essential oil into that specific area of your feet could provide a direct response to that area in the body. My favorite essential oil to use is Lavender for its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, and I absolutely love its sweet floral aroma. In the winter, my feet get really dry and I’m always applying lotion however, using the oil daily, I’ve noticed my feet stay soft and smell like I just walked through a lavender field. It’s also a great oil to use before bed as it can help promote a restful night’s sleep.
Best Ways to Apply Essential Oils to the Feet
Many will say you should dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil first, such as fractionated coconut oil, and then apply it to the feet. This is done to reduce the possibility of skin irritation. I do agree with that on other parts of your body however the skin on the bottom of your feet is one of the least sensitive areas of your body, therefore oils of all strengths can be applied safely and directly without dilution if desired. In fact, applying oils to the feet is the safest way to apply for babies and children, but I would also advise extra caution and dilute first for little ones. (Always check with your health care professional prior to starting any new treatment) I also do a small patch test on my elbow before applying a new oil if I’m unsure how it with react with my skin. I highly recommend doing this.
How to apply? Apply 2-3 drops directly with a dropper and rub into your feet. Another alternative is to fill a roller bottle with the oil of your choice, then roll it on your feet and rub it in. You can also keep the roller bottle in the refrigerator, then roll on as needed. It wakes your feet up and gives a nice cooling effect which is great in the summer months.
Here are some essential oils that I love using for sore and tired feet:
Lavender – Can help relieve stress and tension and promote better sleep. Helps relieve dryness and moisturizes feet.
Lemongrass – Is effective against fungi, such as athlete’s foot. Used to treat migraines in foot reflexology.
Rose Geranium – Relieves symptoms of stress and anxiety. Also works great as a moisturizer. A great addition to base lotions and massage oils.
Peppermint – Cooling and helps reduce tension and swelling in the feet, while also energizing the body.
Frankincense – Relieves stress. Has a soothing sensation and aroma that can promote feelings of relaxation and a balanced mood.
There is some confusion about the true origin of this powerful therapy, sufficient to say that reflexology has stood the test of time and was practiced in China and Egypt as long ago as 2330 B.C. Even then, it was found to have helped people to better health. Essential oils have also been linked back to biblical times as a first resource for wellness. It’s also stated that Lavender (my favorite) was used for purification rituals, for healing, and used as oils and perfumes by high priests and nobilities. In fact, it is referenced more than a hundred times in the bible.
In today’s rushed lifestyle, where we are sometimes last on the list to take care of ourselves, I think we don’t give enough credit to our feet and underappreciated feet need love. Mine certainly did and I was happy to find this balance of essential oils and foot reflexology to have happier and healthier feet, which also helped with other ailments I was feeling in my body. One could say that it all starts with the feet. They take us to where we need to go and if we show them some self-care and love; they will love us back.
If you have any questions about using essential oils or have tried foot reflexology yourself, please leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear how it worked for you.