The amount of people living in the UK with mental health problems is unfortunately continuing to grow(1). The problem is exacerbated because mental health issues are not as well understood as other areas of health. However, there is evidence showing that certain activities such as exercise and mindfulness meditation can be as effective as conventional medicine in preventing and alleviating anxiety and low mood(2,3). Reflexology has also been shown to reduce the anxiety state(4).
The Mental Health Organisation health statistics report that one in four will experience mental health issue in the course of a year and that women are more likely to suffer than men(5). As a reflexologist I am permitted to state that reflexology may improve wellbeing. The UK government has defined wellbeing as ‘a positive physical, social and mental state(6). Clients are more likely to discuss their physical ailments rather than emotional issues. This means that when I work I focus my attention on the client’s mental wellbeing as well as any physical symptoms.
Low mood may be related to abnormal interactions between neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain such as in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Stress also appears to be a contributory factor to mental wellbeing. So, during my treatments I would aim to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and calm the sympathetic nervous system, by using a variety of different techniques.
- mental health.org.uk/publications/fundamental-facts/
- JAMA Internal Medicine, online 6 Jan 2014
- Mc vicar, C.R. Greenwood, F. Fewell, V.D’Arcy,S. Chandrasekharan and L.C. Alldridge. Evaluation of anxiety, salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion following reflexology treatment: A pilot study in healthy individuals. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2007 Vol 13; Number 3, p 137-145
- Department of Health (2010) Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our strategy or public health in England. London: The Stationery Office