Reflexology is an alternative therapy that is useful for people to get some relief to from certain health concerns. On today’s show I was joined by Mario Demetriou who said that his first encounter with reflexology was in 2008 when he had a travel agency and decided to look for something more rewarding. He has had reflexology sessions himself for a digestive disorder caused due to stress and he found that it had great results with him.

The basic principle of reflexology is that each part of the hands, feet or face are mapped to different parts or organs of the body and by stimulating the nerve endings we bring back a balance in the body and in the reflexes, which reflects elsewhere in the body itself. The sympathetic nervous system is switched on which allows the body to relax and once the body is in a state of relaxation then it sort of heals itself. He said that each part of each foot is reflected on the respective side of the body. The right foot will have the liver reflex and the kidney reflex will be there on both the feet because there are 2 kidneys in our body.

Mario said that when treating a person if they have pain in a particular reflex, the more that the reflex is worked on the lesser the pain. He said that to start with the pain can be quiet intense and will lessen as the area is worked on.

Sometimes people might confuse reflexology with a massage, Mario said that they are two completely different concepts. A massage is actually working on the muscles while reflexology is the stimulation of nerves. When taking an actual session of reflexology, it might feel similar to a massage said Mario but the effect that it has on the body is completely different to that which we experience from a massage.

He said that reflexology works on a meridian which is quiet similar to acupuncture. But when having acupuncture, needles are used and when having a reflexology session there is only use of the hands and knuckles. It is a technique which is a walking system where the pressure given on the parts of the foot seems like walking over the bottom of the foot. Speaking of the difference between reflexology and acupressure he said that acupressure is placing your finger on a spot and giving pressure on it whereas reflexology is working repeatedly over a part of the foot and if the person finds that there is a certain imbalance in a part of the foot then it is worked upon. But reflexology works on the whole body or the person to be precise. It is a way of treating the whole person rather than the organs.

There might not be a single person in the world who has never ever had a headache, there are many reasons for it, many a times the first thing we do is try to massage the pain away and at times that does work. Mario said that there are different pressure points around the head, if it’s a sinus headache then there are pressure points near the brows, on the side of the head and also on the back of the back of the head. Mario said that when having a headache people unknowingly apply pressure on the points and may feel some relief from the headache. Most headaches may feel better after a while but if someone suffered from a migraine then it’s very painful and at times I have heard of people having the headache for very long durations. Mario said that reflexology can help people who have a migraine problem too. He said that if someone is suffering from migraine headaches, then the thumb or the index finger of the hand is the area which needs to be worked on to stimulate the nerves that can help reduce the migraine headache.

Talking about arthritis Mario said that there are 2 types

  • Osteoarthritis which is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff. It is mainly something that people may suffer from as they grow older. It is the wear and tear of the body according to Mario
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. The hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also cause problems in other parts of the body and can affect people in a younger age too

Reflexology also helps people who suffer from both these types of arthritis. Mario’s mother who suffers from osteoarthritis has also found reflexology to be very beneficial. He said that reflexology works by reducing the tension and pressure in the joints and makes the person feel more relaxed and that in turn helps the person feel less pain in the body.

The sciatic nerve runs from the back all the way down to the leg and into the calf as well. Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of this sciatic nerve. Talking of Sciatica he said that reflexology can help people who are suffering from it when combined with some exercises which can help in stretching the nerve to relieve the pain caused due to the sciatic nerve. But Mario said that there are no self-help techniques to help with pain from sciatica and people would need to take sessions from an experienced reflexologist.

He also spoke about the Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) which is a relatively common condition that causes a tingling sensation, numbness and sometimes pain in the hand and fingers and said that Reflexology can help someone suffering from it. But he stressed that it is very important to get sessions with someone who particularly deals with hand reflexology because carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrist so it’s better to have hand reflexology as opposed to foot reflexology.

Mario said that reflexology can also help someone who suffers from digestive problems like himself. He said that as reflexology works on the parasympathetic nervous system, it supplies the digestive system with blood and enables it to work a lot better. The opposite is the sympathetic nervous system which cuts off the supply of blood to the stomach. At times of stress the digestive system is affected and works better when the person is relaxed. When treating people, a few minutes into the session they can hear the gurgling sound coming from the stomach which is due to the blood supplied to it which helps it function better and is a good sign said Mario. He also spoke the Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system. It can cause bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, diarrhea but reflexology can be beneficial to someone suffering from it along with the treatment prescribed by doctors.

Mario feels that as human beings we are not just physical, we are emotional and spiritual as well. He feels that it’s important to keep all these things in balance. He gave the following tips to people

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a good and healthy diet
  • Try and relax as much as possible

He stressed that reflexology will help people with lot of different conditions but it is not a cure for any health concern and it can be used in addition to the treatment that the person in undergoing. I had a great time talking to Mario and learning about Reflexology.