Laura Norman at mindbodygreen.Com
What could be sweeter than a night of peaceful, restful sleep? That’s time for your mind and body to restore and heal. But if you’re like me, there are times when peaceful, restorative slumber seems to evade you. Before reaching for chemical sleep aids that may cause side effects and create dependencies, try the natural relaxation effects of reflexology! You can easily give yourself and others a mini-reflexology session to help you shift gently into the sweet slumber you desire.
By stimulating reflex points on your feet, hands, face and ears, reflexology subtly impacts the whole body, affecting the organs and glands. A simple reflexology routine that works on just the feet can help you or a loved one to drift off to sleep naturally. There are nearly 15,000 nerves in your feet alone, one of many reasons that foot reflexology is so calming, soothing and effective.
Reflexologists use a map of the feet where all the organs, glands, and corresponding parts of the body are laid out. Using the chart above, here’s a 15-minute routine in four easy steps that you can incorporate into your bedtime ritual:
1. On the bottom of each foot, “walk” your thumb up from the base of the heel to each toe (imagine your thumb is a caterpillar inching its way up your foot), then press these reflex points with the outer edge of your thumb or tip of your forefinger:
Head/brain (top of each toe) promotes clarity and positive thinking.
Pituitary or “master gland” (center of big toe) stimulates/balances hormone secretions of all other glands.
Pineal gland (outer side of big toe) secretes melatonin which controls our circadian rhythm/sleep cycle.
Thyroid (base of big toe) balances metabolism.
Neck/shoulders (ridge of toes) releases tension
Chest/lungs (ball of foot) calms breathing.
Solar plexus/diaphragm (under ball of foot in the center) encourages profound relaxation and peacefulness.
Reflexology transports you into a state of deep relaxation where you are open to suggestions you give yourself. This is a good time for a pre-sleep affirmation such as, A kind and forgiving world sings me to a peaceful sleep. Also count your blessings and appreciate all of the good times in your day!
Your bedtime ritual can include a nurturing exchange of reflexology mini-sessions with your partner. You can even use these same techniques to help your child go to sleep more easily. Sweet dreams!