There are many reasons why people use complementary or alternative therapies. Many complementary therapies concentrate on relaxation and reducing stress. They might help to calm your emotions, relieve anxiety, and increase your general sense of health and well being. Many people say complementary therapy lets them take a more active role in their treatment and recovery, in partnership with their therapist. Many patients like the idea that complementary therapies seem natural and non-toxic.
So could natural therapies Reflexology and Reiki help with your health and wellbeing goals?
Reflexology and Reiki
Although Reflexology and Reiki are individual therapies practised in a completely different way, they are both energy-based therapies that improve health and wellbeing and help to reduce stress levels and aid relaxation.
Here's everything you need to know about them.
As more and more of us are feeling stressed in our daily lives, feel emotionally drained at times and complain of feeling physically tired, it's no wonder that holistic therapies are getting more attention from those seeking a solution. There are a large number of holistic and alternative therapies to choose from these days, but Reflexology and Reiki remain the most popular.
Tuning into your whole body with reflexology
Reflexology is a natural and non-invasive healing treatment that uses pressure points on the feet, hands or face to balance out the whole body. It's based on the philosophy that your feet, hands and face are like mini-maps of your body, and therapists gently massage the feet, (hands or face) to ease the tension in various areas and unlock the energy channels in your body.
Every organ and part of your body is interlinked to a corresponding area of the feet and hands. By massaging specific points, it's believed that therapists can help to revitalise natural energy pathways, reduce blockages, and trigger the body's healing process.
Reflexology aims to alleviate tension, promote relaxation, improve energy levels and encourage sleep. Releasing this tension, which has built up over time, allows the energy trapped in those reflexology points to release, once that energy is released the body can then begin to heal itself. Some clients feel immediate relief, for example - shoulder tension is relaxed, while others notice changes in their symptoms a day or two later. Some feel very tired at first, while others feel an energetic boost. Tiredness comes about, as the body lets go of tension, similar to how we feel on the first few days of a holiday.
It's also a great way to work on the physical, emotional and spiritual body using a small area. There is an instant feeling of connection, relaxation and calmness and many people start to feel grounded.
Finding harmony with Reiki
Reiki, on the other hand, is a form of healing energy that originated in Japan. It's based on the idea that energy is all around us, and each of our cells has its own energy centre. When this internal and external energy flows freely, we can enjoy a sense of peace and harmony. However, when this flow is disrupted, by stress, illness or trauma, the cell's energy is blocked, creating a negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
Reiki therapists work to change an individual's energy level to a more positive free-flowing state, helping to restore balance. Reiki works on a deep level of healing - it aids relaxation, assists in the body's natural processes and encourages emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
Reiki healing can take us deep into a trance-like state. In this state, our body feels separate from our mind. The therapist can then work to balance the energies of mind, body and spirit since the mind chatter of the conscious mind is asleep, a little like what happens in meditation and hypnotherapy. We return to waking consciousness feeling calm, relaxed and refreshed. Changes in physical symptoms can also be apparent for days after treatment and sometimes longer.
A Reiki treatment is safe, involves no massage or manipulation, and can be administered either hands-on or hands-off. The therapist will start by either placing the hands on (or over) the client. The hand positions are then moved around the body to complete a full treatment. In this way, the Reiki energy will flow through the therapist's hands to the areas of imbalance. The therapist may stop and focus on different areas where Reiki energy is needed, or on the area which has been affected by illness or trauma.
Using the two together
So, essentially, Reflexology and Reiki work to restore balance and enable energy to travel freely around our bodies. Like many complementary therapies, the two can be used alongside each other to feel the benefits of both. When these two treatments are combined in one session, it can be very beneficial.
Reflexology is used to target known areas of physical discomfort, and the Reiki takes the treatment deeper. When a reflexologist is also a Reiki practitioner, some Reiki energy will always be flowing through the feet via the hands of your therapist. However, when they are deliberately combined, the relaxation is often much deeper and may also create a quicker response time.
I have been practising Reiki since 2007 and reflexology since 2008, and feel these therapies go hand in hand. Using these therapies in my business has allowed me to offer my clients so much more. For example, if clients are incredibly anxious, I can use Reiki to help them calm down and let the energies to do their work.
They can be used together in other ways too. Some therapists say that they use reflexology to open up the energy pathways and therefore allow the body to receive the Reiki healing more easily. I use Reiki to focus on mental and emotional issues and reflexology to focus on more physical ailments. Either way, therapists can agree that these treatments complement each other well.
A heap of benefits
An effective way to alleviate stress
Induces a deep state of relaxation
Promotes good health and wellbeing
Treats body and mind
Promotes a calm, peaceful sense of wellbeing
Reduces stress and tension
Ability to cope better with life challenges
These two therapies have a whole host of benefits for all sorts of people. Reflexology is often used for more physical aches and pains and can relieve tension in problem areas such as the neck and back. However, it can also help on an emotional level and eases anxiety, hormonal imbalances, stress, tension, and sleep issues.
Because it supports our inner energy, Reiki can help with a variety of issues from pain and anxiety to fatigue. It also helps with menopausal symptoms, insomnia and anything else the client might be suffering from. It can help to support your emotional wellbeing by supporting social connections. It allows the individual to open up to new possibilities and enhances the capacity to love. In this way, it can help to improve your relationships and give them a new lease of life.
Scientific research can also back up these benefits. Studies have suggested that massage (such as reflexology) can help to lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. According to the results of a 2013 study by the University of Portsmouth, reflexology could be as effective as painkillers as a method for pain relief.
The uses of Reiki have been proven as well. Researchers at the University of Texas have found that the therapy can reduce both anxiety and blood pressure levels, and these results were also confirmed in a 2004 study by the Institute of Neurological Sciences, South Glasgow University Hospital.
Taking time out to take care of your wellness needs is always beneficial. Complementary therapies on a regular basis, i.e. once a month, can prevent many ailments, as it lowers our stress levels, something science is now beginning to recognise but has long since been known by complementary therapists.