For a stress-free Christmas....

Article by Hazel Goodwin

Christmas is a time when we all want to feel good and look great. It is traditionally a season of joy, of family reunions, roast turkey and Christmas pud, of generosity and openness. Unfortunately it can also be a stressful time with too many expectations, too much pressure and perhaps, for a few, a time of loneliness, regret or depression.

Whether we are looking forward with excitement to the shopping and preparations or with dread to the extra work, Christmas is a festival which makes great demands on our energy. Routines and digestions are thrown out of kilter and stresses can build up on all levels. Stress, as we are frequently reminded, can lead to all manner of ills, to exhaustion, depletion and finally to disease. It can reduce our ability to cope, undermine our confidence and destroy our sense of well being.

This being the case, how can we be sure that we will feel good, cope well and look our best all over the Christmas and the New Year holiday season?

Have you thought of reflexology?

Reflexology is a gentle, non-invasive therapy, deeply relaxing and restoring and a great way to reduce stress and tension. This increasingly popular therapy is based on the concept that all parts of the body are connected by pathways through which vital energy flows, rather like electrical currents which supply power for lighting, heating and cooking in our homes. When the power supply is reduced or interrupted our appliances cannot work. So it is in the body, when our energy is low or tension blocks the natural flow, our organs and systems cannot function properly.

"Reflex" in the context of "reflexology" means the "reflection" of all the structures, systems and organs of the body onto the feet. The sensitive, trained hands of a qualified reflexologist will detect tiny deposits or imbalances in the feet indicating that there are blockages or depletions in the energy channels through the body. By applying gentle pressure to these points with thumbs or fingers, rather like operating an electricity control panel, the therapist can stimulate the flow of energy to all parts, clearing blockages and helping the body to achieve its own state of equilibrium and good health.

If you have never experienced a reflexology treatment, why not try one now and be ready to sail through Christmas?

How can Reflexology help?

The physical, mental and emotional benefits of reflexology make it particularly helpful for all stress-related conditions, even when there is no clinical evidence of disease. By inducing a state of relaxation, tension is released, circulation improved and toxins can more easily be eliminated from the body. And as the body's energies flow there is a renewed sense of health and well being on all levels. Reflexology can benefit, and be enjoyed by, everyone from the youngest baby to a frail ninety year old.

Reflexology is not a miracle cure for deep seated problems and a single treatment will not correct physical disorders which are the result of years of misuse, of poor diet, lack of exercise, traumas, stressful relationships or unrewarding jobs. Reflexology will not change your conditions but should help you cope with them better. Sometimes a number of treatments are necessary before the full benefit is felt.

As relaxation is one of the main benefits of reflexology this can best be achieved by letting someone else work on your feet or your hands, but some self-help techniques can be used to release tension in stressful circumstances. For most people hands are more accessible than feet and it is usually more appropriate to work on your own hands. It is also far less noticeable when giving a self-help treatment in public.

Before starting sit quietly for a few moments and breathe deeply. Relax your shoulders, rest your hands in your lap and place both feet on the ground. The diaphragm and solar plexus are areas most affected by tension and these are the reflexes to work on first of all. To release tension, place the thumb of one hand into the palm of the other and gently press upwards into the space between the knuckles of the index and middle fingers. At the same time take a deep breath in and then breathe out slowly letting shoulders, arms and stomach relax as the pressure of the thumb is maintained for about 10 seconds. The hand being "worked" should be relaxed and curl over the thumb. This can be repeated three or four times on each palm followed by a circular massage movement all over the palms of both hands. Then gently squeeze each finger in turn, rotate the knuckle, stretch the finger and slide your hand off. For the more supple, the same techniques can be used on the feet and rotating the toes and ankle joints helps to release tension in the neck and back.

But nothing works as well as a full treatment by a professional reflexologist. Why not make a New Year resolution to take time out for yourself in 2012 and have regular reflexology sessions to keep you in good shape?

Quiet Reflections ©2017
Aromatherapy, Hot Stone Massage, Facials, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, and Reiki in Gainsborough.

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