All of a sudden the weather has started to turn - we’ve gone from being immersed in those beautifully warm, colourful autumnal days, to being plunged into something much colder and darker.
Many people find this time of year quite difficult, with the long wait for those first buds of spring seemingly endless. I know that I used to find this time of year hard too, but as I sit here in my cosy cottage, listening to the rain battering the windows and the wind howling down the chimney, I don’t mind at all. I am ready for winter and I am ready to support my clients through it.
I have been working as a qualified reflexologist for over five years now and there is something almost primal about giving people a warm, comfortable, safe place to snuggle up and melt into hibernation mode for an hour or two. It brings me great pleasure.
But reflexology, the ancient practice of working on pressure points in the feet or hands to improve health and well being, does so much more than this. Here are five ways that reflexology can support you through the winter months.
1. It’s great for your mental health and well being
Taking time just for you is not selfish, it is an important part of self-care, which in turn allows you to continue to do all of those tasks you need to do every day.
Reflexology offers a calm, quiet place for deep relaxation. Many of my clients often fall asleep during treatments and I see it as a compliment that they feel so relaxed in my treatment room they are able to drift off to sleep. I often see a significant change in people from when they enter the treatment space to when they leave, their shoulders generally drop and they seem much calmer and more focused. There is much to be said for the benefits of simple, positive human touch.
2. It can support with improving and maintaining sleep patterns
Reflexology, possibly for its relaxing qualities, improves both quality of sleep and sleep patterns for many clients. Reflexologists work the reflex points for the pineal gland, which is the gland that produces melatonin, a hormone which affects our sleep/wake patterns.
“Two amazing nights of sleep so far, thanks to a wonderfully relaxing session of reflexology. Goodbye insomnia. I feel like a new person.”
Client feedback, September 2018
Melatonin levels are often unbalanced during the darker winter months, which disrupts sleep and can contribute to insomnia and conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder.
3. It can support your immune system
I’m not about to claim that reflexology can cure coughs and colds and other nasty winter bugs, if I could do that, I would be a rich lady. But I can say that having regular reflexology throughout the winter can help to boost your immune system.
As reflexology is great for relieving stress, it reduces levels of cortisol and other glucocorticoids, which depress the immune system, thus helping it to function more effectively.
4. It can help with digestive issues
Another system to suffer during periods of stress is the digestive system. This is linked to the body being in ‘fight or flight mode’ too often. The body does not prioritise the digestion of food in case it needs to suddenly run from danger. Add to that some of our dietary choices over the festive period and all that comfort eating through those cosy, dark winter evenings and it’s not surprising really, that our digestive system struggles.
Reflexology, in effect, deactivates the fight or flight response and allows the digestive system to get back to work. The aim of reflexology is to clear blockages and restore balance and homeostasis within the body.
5. Feeling chilly? Reflexology can help with that too!
As with all types of massage, reflexology helps improve both cardiovascular and lymphatic circulation. It encourages blood to flow to all of the body’s organs as well as helping to lower blood pressure.
If you are someone who always has cold hands and feet, by massaging these extremities we are also helping to improve the circulation to them, so reflexology helps you to feel warmer even in the winter.
There are many more benefits of reflexology that I could mention, but the best way to discover what reflexology can do for you, is to book a treatment with your local reflexologist. Click here to visit the Association of Reflexologists ‘find a practitioner’ page.
I wish you all a warm, cosy and healthy winter.