Do It Yourself Reflexology for Seasonal Allergies and Colds
By Sherri Oustalet, ARCB
There are 26 bones in a human foot and 27 bones in a human hand. They’re chock-full of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. The hands and feet are our much used, often neglected extremities. They work, lift, run, jump, paint, build, cook, clean, tap-away at computer keyboards and pianos, and slide-the-surface of I-Pads and dance floors. They change diapers, wipe tears, pray and love. And, they are the home of thousands of nerve endings, those minute marvels of nature that detect temperature and touch, transmit sensory information to the brain and impact our physiology through “reflexes” – areas on the hands and feet that correspond to specific glands, organs, systems and parts of the body.
Reflexology is an ancient art and science dating back to early Egyptian times some 4,000 years ago, traveling far and wide from Africa and Asia to Europe and America. It’s a complementary therapy that promotes deep relaxation in the body and offers help to the body’s own healing processes. Through alternating pressure using thumb and finger techniques on reflex points, it’s possible to balance the body naturally, increase blood flow and oxygen to cells for metabolism, repair, and detoxification, and assist muscular, lymph and nerve function. The icing on the reflexology cake? Endorphins are released by the brain, providing pain relief and a sense of well-being.
So what can you do when Spring is quite literally in the air and those pesky seasonal colds come a-knockin’? When you feel a runny nose, itchy eyes, stuffy head, sinus pressure, and sore throat coming on, add reflexology to your get healthy repertoire. Here are a few simple “Do-It-Yourself” reflexology moves if you’re too busy to schedule a reflexology session with your friendly neighborhood reflexologist.
Reflexology TLC for seasonal colds and allergies…
With your thumb and index finger:
- “Milk” the webs of (flesh between) the toes or fingers, and then squeeze each web for about 25 seconds, 1 – 3x every day. This is the upper lymphatic reflex. Hold longer between the 3rd and 4th digits to give the eustachian tube reflex extra attention.
- What’s the eustachian tube? It’s the “fine tube that connects the middle ear to the outer world in adults. It drains excess fluid into the throat and is responsible for ventilation and the equalization of the middle ear and atmospheric pressure.” So if you get a nasty seasonal cold, are congested, and your sinuses feel like they could just burst, the Eustachian tube comes in quite handy. As does the Eustachian tube reflex.
- Hold and apply pressure to/squeeze the necks of each toe or finger, 1 – 3x every day. These are the sinus reflexes.
- Hold and apply pressure to/squeeze the upper portion of the thumb or head of the big toe for 25 seconds, 1 – 3x every day. These are the head, brain, and pituitary reflexes, among others.
- Using just the thumb, you can also rub in an upward motion along each toe or finger, 1-3x every day. You’ll be working the sinus, neck, and head reflexes, among others.
- With your thumb and middle finger:
- For allergies only: on the sides of the heel, place your thumb tip on the inside (medial) heel and middle finger tip on the outside (lateral) heel. Press inward, basically pinching the sides of your heel. Hold for 25 seconds, 1 – 3x every day. These are the reproductive reflexes for women and men.
Note: for allergies, it’s helpful to “work” the same reflexes as for seasonal colds plus the reproductive reflexes as noted. In addition, working the adrenal and colon reflexes helps alleviate allergy and cold symptoms too. But, these reflexes are tricky to pin-down for the non-reflexologist so I did not include them in your “Do-It-Yourself” protocol.
A holistic tip from your reflexology tomato: when you “work” your reflexes, it’s helpful to hold the intention in your mind and/or visualize healing for whatever the specific health issue.
Enjoy exploring your feet and hands!! And, take care of your body, mind, and spirit with Reflexology. Rest, relax, rejuvenate, and receive help with allergies, arthritis, asthma, back and neck issues, blood pressure, digestive disorders, insomnia, muscle tension, PMS, menopause, respiratory problems, sinusitis, TMJ, stress disorders, neuropathy, symptoms related to pregnancy, chemotherapy side effects, and more.
Please note: Reflexologists do not practice medicine, diagnose medical disorders, or prescribe or adjust medications. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used as a complement to most types of medical treatment or therapy. The benefits of reflexology have been professionally researched and clinically proven.
Major NYC hospitals include reflexology as an adjunct therapy in their oncology/cancer care and orthopedic units and to help people with chronic health conditions.
Reflexology foot “maps” may slightly vary from map-to-map with respect to reflex locations. I use and reference only “Ingham Method” reflexology foot maps in my work. The illustrated image on this page is not an Ingham Method map.
Sherri Oustalet is an ARCB nationally certified Reflexologist for feet and hands with a private practice in NYC – Blue Sun Reflexology. For over nine years, she has provided reflexology in clients’ homes and offices, and for special events, primarily in Manhattan.