How to Relax in Less Than 30 Minutes with Reflexology
As with my book series, The Self’Treating Patient”, I strive to impart helpful tips and strategies to address basic health concerns. Stress relief is what we can all use during these times. Being cooped up at home and not be able to do the activities we once were so free to enjoy.
One topic that is interesting to me is self-healing. When we are saddled by day-to-day life concerns, finding simple ways to help ourselves can go a long way towards living life the best way we can. One interesting alternative therapy is reflexology. There are practitioners who offer this service. For this topic, however, I’d like to share very simple strategies to calm yourself, alleviate the effects of stress.
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The growing popularity of reflexology proves that many fitness fans understand how important their feet really are. Healthy feet enable you to stay physically active and practice good posture, which can protect you from headaches, back pain, and other health issues all over your body.
Reflexology is an ancient healing art that applies strategic pressure to feet, hands, and ears. The underlying theory is that these areas correspond to various systems throughout your body. For example, when you massage your heels, you’re also helping to align your pelvis.
Studies show that reflexology can be effective for relieving anxiety and physical discomfort. On the other hand, its track record is less convincing when it comes to serious conditions like diabetes or cancer, so it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations.
With that in mind, see how you can use these tips to enhance your health and well-being by just rubbing your feet.
How to Practice Reflexology
TIPS: ***Identify which area you want to work on, look and refer to the charts above. Look for the correct reflex spots on your foot. Apply gentle pressure to the area similar to getting a foot massage.
***Contact to points should feel firm, but not painful. Use your fingers and thumbs to gently work the area for several minutes.
***The amount of pressure should just be enough that it can be tolerated, but maintain the pressure or go into circular motions around the area.
***The pressure you apply to these points will stimulate your body to create endorphins that interrupt the pain cycle and relieve stress.
1. Create a peaceful setting. Play soft music and combine your reflexology with aromatherapy. Light a candle and rub on fragrant skin lotion. Sit or lie down anywhere that’s comfortable such as your bed or a chair. Place a cushion behind your knees to avoid hyperextension.
2. Be gentle. Reflexology is safe for most adults as long as you avoid pressing too hard. Take care of bones and joints. Stop if you feel a cramp. Learn appropriate techniques before trying to use your knuckles or props which can be more intense than using your fingers and thumbs.
3. Loosen up. It’s a good idea to stretch first. Wiggle your toes. Lift your feet up starting at the ankles. A good simple trick is to write the alphabet with your ankles, all uppercase letters. Written with both feet beginning with A all the way up to Z. This helps move many muscles in the foot, ankle, and legs. Do ankle pumps, which is also a great exercise for improving circulation in the legs, even utilized for preventing blood clots.
4. Twist around. Give your feet a hug to wring out tension and make your feet more flexible. Wrap your hands around the middle of your foot, and turn them slowly in opposite directions. Repeat the wringing a little higher, and a little lower until you cover your whole foot.
5. Stroke your feet. Place your palm on top of your foot, and stroke it from toe to ankle. This follows the normal blood circulation from the lower extremities towards the heart. Repeat on the bottom side. You’ll stimulate your circulation and raise your energy levels.
6. Consult a professional. Chiropractors and physical therapists are some of the many health care practitioners who offer reflexology. Schedule a session to receive more extensive treatment and learn methods you can practice at home.
Additional Foot Care Suggestions
1. Exercise your feet and toes. When was the last time you gave your feet a workout? Take turns walking on your heels and your toes. Try lifting each toe separately and lowering it back down. Here are simple exercises that help strengthen the foot and toes, improve their flexibility. Another benefit of these exercises is improved balance, as stronger toes can grip the ground surface better.
A. Towel Curls – Place a towel on a tile, wood, or laminate floor. Place feet on top, the heel stays in contact with the floor: then curl toes to bring towel under your feet. Repeat as many times as you are able.
B. Heel and Toe Raises – this exercise helps strengthen ankles, stretch the calves, and lower legs which are relevant for balance and gait stability when walking.
Holding on to the counter for support, raise your heels up, on tippy toes. Hold for 5 seconds. Then, go on your heels, raising toes up, off the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 or more times.
2. Wear comfortable shoes. Do your toes have enough room to move around? Properly fitted shoes can protect you from blisters and provide adequate support for your arches. Are you flat-footed, or possess a high arch? Choose footwear accordingly. If shoes are uncomfortable, use shoe inserts to add more cushioning to shoes you already have. This can also save your back.
There is about 3-4 times your body weight load that is transmitted to the spine upon heel strike. This is when the heel comes in contact with the ground when walking. An extra heel cushion or insert can decrease this load to the spine.
Many types are available to purchase. Gel cushions, memory foam, and other shock-absorbing materials. Check out heel inserts and read reviews or other information about them. This is a cost-effective remedy to easing the impact on the feet and spine.
3. Change your socks. Socks can protect you from blisters and odor. Replace them when they wear thin or sprout holes. For more vigorous or active participation in sports, opt for more cushions or one with breathable material that can repeal moisture. Socks complement the use of your shoes.
4. Take a break. Prolonged standing or other strains can leave your feet hot and throbbing. Try elevating them on a pillow or plunging them into a herbal bath.
5. Stay hydrated. Your feet need moisture to fight dry skin. Drink water throughout the day. Dab on moisturizer daily, especially if you feel a blister starting.
6. Talk to your doctor. While reflexology is safe for most adults, your doctor can advise you about conditions, such as pregnancy or diabetes, which may make you more sensitive to touch. Your doctor can also refer you to a podiatrist or other specialists when needed.
Use basic and simple reflexology to help your body relax and heal itself. It’s a quick and easy way to reduce stress, enhance your posture, and strengthen your immune system.
Until the next issue!
Relieve Stress with these 4 Great Tips
Stress can come in many forms and shapes. It happens in everyday life. Traffic, being pressed for time, health concerns, relationships, family, a job can be sources of stress. If allowed to rule your life, it can cause psychosomatic disorders that can manifest in health issues.
Do you feel more stressed out than ever? Is your work life so hectic that you’re starting to burn out? Just faced with a financial crisis? How about the recent pandemic and how it affected your life? I don’t even want to delve into that one. All of us have been affected by it one way or the other.
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Unfortunately, it is up to us to deal with this. Short of paying big bucks for a mental health therapist, let me share easy ways to help alleviate stress. The little things and adaptations we make in our lifestyle can make a big difference. Situations may differ but our bodies react similarly to the physiological effects of stress. So here goes.
If you’re desperately seeking peace and relief from the hustle and bustle of your demanding life, the good news is that you have the power to adopt simple strategies you can use to combat stress.
I am realistic. You or I may never eliminate stress entirely. I talk to people every day with varying degrees of stress. In fact, a life without stress would be pretty boring. The challenges of life often make it worth living. However, employing a few simple strategies to reduce stress will increase your peace and happiness, even in the midst of life’s storms.
Working out can be a great way to relieve stress. Whether you go jogging, pump some iron, or hit the punching bag for several minutes, the physical activity allows you to channel all the frustration you’re holding inside and release it in a constructive manner. Walk it off: by yourself or with someone. You can never underestimate walking outside and seeing nature, the sun, great weather, and just beholding nature in itself.
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Water has a great calming effect on the brain. It may be because we are closely related to water as organic beings. It gives you time to think, promotes circulation that can also reach your brain, filling brain cells with more oxygen for it to function better. Oxygen is found in our red blood cells. With better circulation, oxygen can get circulated better which helps your body get revitalized.
Music can greatly influence your mood. Among its many benefits of boosted memory, it can lighten your mood, reduce anxiety, and even improve your response to pain. Have you heard of how music calms down children with attention deficit disorders? (ADD).
Music therapy has become relevant to alternative therapies for different ailments. Sometimes, all it takes to gain peace and focus is a few minutes of listening to music that soothes you inside. Different types of music affect your mood in different ways and pick a style that suits your emotional need of the moment can dramatically lower the level of stress you feel inside.
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When you’re feeling stressed, try upbeat music. When you’re down in the dumps, you want something that’ll perk you up and lift your spirits. Few things can lift your mood faster than music. How about picking up that guitar you haven’t strummed in a while? Or tinkering with those white and black keys on your keyboard? Even singing karaoke, or just singing along with the music of your favorite artists can make a difference. Experience music in all its forms. YOu have your own unique way of responding to the music of your choice.
When one is stressed, there are two behaviors in response. To overeat, which can risk unhealthy weight gain, or to under eat, where one can be undernourished and not get the nutrients your body needs to fight stress.
Heard of the proverbial ice cream eating while watching TV after a relationship fail or conflict? Yup, that’s very common. When one feels stressed, there is that feeling of wanting to console that empty feeling through instant gratification such as eating. I have heard of people who shop and overspend, only to realize they don’t really need things they have bought. Even go into debt as one does not think clearly when stressed. Emotion rules. Impulse buying can also be the result of this feeling of wanting to fill a need or an empty feeling.
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If your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition it needs, you’re more likely to feel tired and stressed out.
Breakfast is the most neglected meal of the day for busy people. It is called as so, “Break – the ” fast” from sleeping overnight. Fill that belly and feed that body so you have the energy you need to face the day. And make sure it’s a good one too. Balance out your carbs and protein. It does make a difference. Eating healthy prevents from being sluggish, clouded, droopy, and slow to respond to situations or decision-making.
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Meals and snacks are fuel for your body. Are you eating the types of foods that contribute positively to your health?
Keep track of what you eat in a daily log. This simple step will make you more aware of what you’re eating, which often leads to automatically making healthier choices, like these:
- Drink as much water as possible.
- Add as many fruits and vegetables as you can to your diet.
- Look for tasty, healthier alternatives to junk food.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Small changes in your diet can make a big difference in how you feel and how effectively you handle stress.
Breathing is life. Good gas exchange ensures that your body gets the oxygen it needs to function better. This means move better, think better.
If you learn to control your breathing, you can control the level of stress you feel. Slow, deep breathing takes practice, but a little effort goes a long way. Once you learn to take slow, deep breaths from your belly, you’ll have an unstoppable weapon against stress.
Breathing plays a big part in our lives. Even beyond the obvious biological necessity, it comes into play when exercising, giving birth, easing fears, and even releasing stress.
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Deep breathing slows your heart rate down and relaxes your muscles. It also helps you to calm down mentally. Shallow breaths create a feeling of anxiety within you. Deep breaths fuel your body’s cells with much-needed oxygen and your mind with much-needed confidence in the midst of the challenges you face.
BREATHING TIPS TO OPTIMIZE BENEFITS:
Breathe in through your nose slowly as if trying to fill in your lungs completely. Then, as you exhale, purse your lips as if in a kiss, and count 3 seconds mentally before you completely let all the air out. Repeat this about three times at a time, throughout the day and whenever you get a chance. Doing this deep breathing at least 10 times is also known to lower your blood pressure for a bit.
You can in fact try taking your blood pressure before you do this breathing exercise. After about 10 times, take your blood pressure again. Breathing allows capillaries to open and improve blood flow throughout the body.
With these simple strategies, you can learn to practice peace wherever you are.
Stress is all around us and can come in many shapes and forms. Instead of being tossed about in the midst of your storms, you’ll stand strong and handle challenges more effectively. Life is a gift. Use it wisely.
Experience the confidence and inner peace you deserve by applying these simple stress management strategies today.
Until the next ish!
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Patrick Diver, Owner of Strength Clinic at www.mystrengthclinic.com .(I requested this friend to share his take on stress.)
For over 15 years, Patrick has led the way to exceptional fitness results for a diverse range of Orlando men and women and has supervised over 25,000 injury-free workouts.
A graduate of Missouri State University with a B.S. in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training, Patrick’s first certification came from the National Athletic Trainers Association and was followed by certifications from Superslow innovator Ken Hutchins (Superslow Exercise Guild) and YMCA research director Wayne Wescott (Nautilus).
Patrick also speaks regularly and has been featured on Fox-35, News Channel 13, and had given over 150 fitness talks to many of Central Florida’s most successful companies including Darden Restaurants, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, Universal Creative, and the Orlando Economic Development Commission.
Besides a passion for helping men and women realize their best physical potential, Patrick competes regularly in cycling with multiple states, regional, and national championship medals to his credit, and enjoys playing guitar and taking care of his dog, named Dog.
Stress: Is it good, bad, needed, or unwanted?
I believe most things in life necessitate a balanced approach: The Yin and Yang if you will. I think stress falls in this umbrella as well. We need a certain amount of stress in life. Without it, it is easy to become stagnant and cease growing.
In my field, muscle tissue is a good example. You’ve probably heard that when you add and develop muscle tissue, your metabolism gets a boost. What does this mean exactly, “get a boost?”
This means that the body burns extra calories. That’s one of the good side effects of strength training – and one you have probably heard of. That is the reason for the current craze in fitness, body-building, and the obsession for the perfect body.
Your body, however, wants to be efficient. It doesn’t really want to burn extra calories because, in the days gone by, it might have been difficult to find those “extra” calories.
So, if it’s not using muscle to full effect – in other words, if they are not being utilized or stressed on a regular basis to maintain function, then the body will get rid of what it views as metabolically “expensive” tissue.
So in this case, stress is not only desired but absolutely crucial to continue living a high quality of life.
Of course, the application of stress has to be measured.
Where people get into trouble, whether it is pursuing fitness goals, managing work/life balance, or even dealing with emotions, is when they take on too much stress, without having a means for downtime, rest, and recovery. We become engrossed with stress.
I account for this in my Ironclad Rules. Rule #7 is to: Keep a Relaxed-Focus. This is another way of saying the same thing.
The continued pursuit of success in life will be difficult to achieve in a negative or overly stressful environment.
A certain amount of calm and objectivity is needed.
However, you can’t allow yourself to be so calm that you blow things off or shirk responsibilities – hence, Keeping a relaxed focus.
So, while too much stress will ultimately shut down any system, too little stress will yield undesirable results as well.
Like most things in life, it is really about balance.
Stress is unavoidable. It is a significant part of our daily responsibilities and existence. Although there may be a few lucky individuals who claim they have a stress-free life, it may be because they have learned to navigate its complexities and have adapted effectively. A few have found the equilibrium in the midst of the chaos of daily existence.
We, as mammals of the highest cognitive faculties, possess that capacity to adapt. Though we deal with stress in many different ways based on our psyche and predilections for survival, there is hope. We are ultimately responsible for actions that will allow us to prevail. Just take that step.
As the song goes, “learning to love yourself, is the greatest gift of all,” carries a profound meaning that we ourselves often forget. Many among us tend to get inundated with the need to take care of others and take on responsibilities because we feel we have to. This often becomes a burden that sooner or later snowballs into something that is overwhelming. These stressors soon take away the joy out of life.
Find that balance. Take care of yourself. Find what works for you.
This simple book just provides an overview of the options. There are more out there by individuals who found that key to a productive life and an efficient way of navigating life’s complexities. Study and learn. Adapt.
Yes, stress can be perceived as unpleasant. Yet, most people find and discover their own strengths in times of adversity.
As Kelly Clarkson’s song goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Cliche, but its truth rings true. ~~~***~~~