What is Hand Reflexology and What are its Benefits?
"Every single part of the human body is connected through the nerves through feet, hands and ears." This is what the ancient healing technique of Reflexology believes. The practitioners of reflexology do believe that one can relieve stress, tension, imbalances of the body by stimulating the specific points which elicit a response from the nervous system. Reflexology of hands or the hand reflexology is one form of effective natural therapy which is most popular for being a simple, pure, effective and easy form of massage therapy that can be done easily by self for eradicating various health issues like constipation, muscle pain, shoulder aches etc. In this current article we will talk about hand reflexology, look at the hand chart to know about various key elements including the reflex zones, dermatomes and meridians, know about the benefits of hand reflexology, know the process to do hand reflexology at home.
What is Hand Reflexology?
"Reflexology" is a word derived from "Reflex arc" which represents a neural pathway that guides or controls an action reflex. Before going in to the hand reflexology, let us know about the most amazing things that reflexology does to our body.
- It relaxes the body in various ways. So, it is relaxing
- It slightly enhances the circulation of blood in the body
- It promotes the bodily balance in an effective manner.
Hand reflexology is actually a natural form of alternative therapy or the massage therapy that targets the key body zones of your body right from the palm of your hands. There are people who get instant relief from various conditions by doing hand reflexology and there are also people who get gradual benefits from the technique only by doing it daily.
Key Elements of Hand Reflexology: The Reflexology Hand Chart!
There are some key elements in reflexology which can be known from a reflexology chart. These elements primarily include the reflex zones, the meridians and the dermatomes.
- The reflexologists believe that there are 10 reflex zones in the body, i.e. five zones in the left side and five zones in the right side of the body.
- There are 12 meridians in the body as per the Chinese philosophy
- The Chinese philosophy believes that the dermatomes are the areas of the skin that are primarily supplied by a single nerve system.
It must be noted that though the reflexologists make use of this approach of 'reflex zone therapy" so as to balance the nervous system by following the reflexology feet and hand charts; some hand reflexologists do not know how the reflexology in hand actually works. There are significant differences in the different reflexology hand charts. Some reflexologists also say that the reflex zones in the body are only the "approximates" and may vary from one person to other.
There are many reflexology hand charts available in the internet and one can also find the printable hand reflexology chart easily. Here we have one hand chart for you!
Hand Reflexology vs. Foot Reflexology:
The prime difference between the hand reflexology and foot reflexology is that in case of hand reflexology, one uses the key points in the hands for stimulating the nerve to relieve tension, stress and imbalances of various connected parts/organs; while in case of feet reflexology, the specific points in the feet are used to stimulate the nerves for releasing stress, and correct imbalances in the connected body parts or the organs.
Hands are more flexible and the hand reflexes are much deeper beneath the skin as compared to the feet where the reflexes lie close to the skin surface. This means, one needs to reach deeper and hold for a longer time period in hand reflexology to stimulate a point in the hand as compared to the feet reflexology, where the effect in much efficient and quick.
Benefits of Hand Reflexology:
Below are some of the most crucial benefits of hand reflexology.
- Benefits of Hand Reflexology in Reducing Headaches: The tips of the thumb and fingers are the points where you can stimulate the nerves connected to head and temple region. Thus, by gently massaging and kneading the tips of the fingers and thumbs, you can gradually reduce the headache or an oncoming migraine.
- Benefits of Hand Reflexology in Reducing Back Pain: Hand reflexology is known to benefit you in reducing back pain. The sides of your hand around the thumb portion and the back area of your wrist joint are related to you back. So, you can reduce the back pain by gently massaging those areas of thumb and wrist joint.
- Hand Reflexology can be Beneficial in Reducing Shoulder Pain: Shoulder pain can be reduced by hand reflexology. All you need is concentrate the joints of each finger present on the topside of each hand. You need to massage them in clockwise gently from left to right.
- Hand Reflexology Benefits in Reducing Allergies: Hand reflexology is also known to benefit in reducing allergies. You can do it by applying pressure to the fleshy portion of the topside of your hand palm. You can find extra circulation of blood to the nasal passage and the throat area. This will aid in reducing allergies of throat.
- Benefits of Hand Reflexology in Reducing the Neck Pressure: Hand reflexology can also reduce the neck pressure. The region under the tips of the finger, i.e. the segment of each finger l to be massaged gently for reducing neck pressure.
- Hand Reflexology Benefits in Opening up Sinuses: Massaging the lengths of each finger slowly by focusing on the tips; one can help self in improving the blood circulation to his or her head and ear region, thus slowly oxygen flow can be increased in the portion.
How to do Hand Reflexology: Easy Steps Explained!
Here we shall know about the technique of hand reflexology which can be done by any individual at home.
Before we know about the steps, let us know about couple of other essential things.
- Relaxation Exercise: It must be noted that every reflexology, maybe the feet, hand or ear reflexology; begins with a relaxation exercise. Hand reflexes are the specific spots present much deeper on the body than any other reflexes. Thus, in hand reflexology we are going to stimulate the deeper reflexes in the hand. Adding relaxing exercises adds to the better results in reflexology of hands.
- Knowing How to Reach the Hand Reflexes: One begins with the hand reflexology by exactly knowing the specific reflexes and appropriately reaching them for the effective reflexology. Let us know the steps to reach hand reflexes.
- Apply gentle pressure in on specific spot on the hand with the use of your thumb or one finger.
- Rotate the thumb or the finger without lifting it; so that the pressure is being applied in a circular motion.
- Apply the pressure in circular motion on the spot for about 3-5 seconds.
- Then, move the thumb or the finger to a new spot just next to the spot where you have been working and repeat the same again for about 3-5 seconds.
Steps on How to do Hand Reflexology:
Step 1: Relaxation Exercises:
Below are the steps of relaxation exercises explained.
- Using slight massage oil, gently rub around the wrist of your right hand. Make sure you are moving slowly using wide gentle outward sweeping movements of the thumbs.
- Now, maintain the same motion, move the thumbs into the palms of the hands, working slowly from the middle or inside of the palm to the edges. Do the same for about half a minute.
- Now, turning your hands over, gently use your thumbs across the top of the hand from between the knuckles or the bottom of the fingers to the wrist. Though this is very much relaxing, it must be noted using excess of pressure may be painful.
- Next, you need to hold one finger at a time and give it a very gentle slow side to side twist in a manner that the knuckle bone joint gets rotated. Make sure there is no cracking noise while doing this. Then, slide your hand up so that the same can be done to the second joint of the finger and repeat gentle rotating of the joint and then again repeat the same on the top joint of the finger.
- At last, give the hand a last squeeze very gently, pat off the oil with a towel and repeat the same steps with the other hand.
Step 2: Stimulating the Hand Meridians:
The meridian points in hands are Lung meridian, colon or large intestine meridian, heart constrictor meridian, Triple burner meridian, Heart meridian and small intestine meridian. Triple burner meridian relates to three main body cavities and the organs inside it. All other meridians are linked with the respective organs.
You need to stimulate these hand meridians as described in the steps of reaching the hand reflexes and doing the reflexology of hands. Apply gentle pressure for 3-5 seconds in a circular motion in clockwise direction and then in anti clockwise direction, on each of the meridian points in the hands.
Step 3: Hand Reflexology on Fingers
The fingers represents various organs from your neck up which includes the glands, skull, brain, ears, facial skin, hearing and sight etc. The toes represent the all the same areas as that the fingers. However, the difference between doing reflexology on fingers and reflexology on the toes is that the fingers offer a greater area for doing the reflexology on.
Let us talk about the hand reflexology technique on the fingers below.
- Start the process at the top of the thumb on the right hand and move downwards to the base of the thumb. Begin again at the top of the thumb and again move downwards. Just repeat the process of reflexology over a new area on the thumb.
- This must be continued until the entire thumb gets stimulated with this hand reflexology technique
- Repeat the same thing to the index finger, and then to rest other fingers on the right hand. Make sure you are paying attention to every single part of the available skin on the fingers from the inside to the outside.
Step 4: Hand Reflexology on Palm
The palm represents your body torso. You can notice that your palm has various shades of color; it is generally lighter in the middle and is darker around the top and the side edges of the palm; the top pink area represent your chest, the light area in the middle represents the stomach and the liver portion while the bottom padding of the palm of your hand which is nearest to the wrist represents the digestive system of the body. The shoulder area is represented by the portion just under the little finger on the front and the back of the palm of the hand.
Below are the steps to do reflexology on the palm of the hand.
- Before going through the steps, one must remember that it requires the right hand laying flat on a soft surface, like a plain table with the palm of the hand facing upwards.
- Start the reflexology on the soft padding under the fingers and move downwards over the area, then upwards and then move sideways
- Follow the similar pattern for the centre of the palm.
- Using the similar technique and pattern of the reflexology, do the outer edges of the hand, i.e downwards from under the little finger to just above the hard bone present on the wrist.
- Again, use the same technique and pattern and do reflexology from the base of the thumb across the outer edge of the hand, over all the soft padding between the palm and wrist. This is actually a crucial area which relates various things including the spine, and the digestive system.
- Finally, rub your wrist from left to right once and then once from right to left. Make sure you do it very gently.
Step 5: Hand Reflexology on Back of the Hand
You now need to turn the hand over in a way that the palm faces down. Here, you need to follow the same steps for doing the hand reflexology on the palm top. It must be noted that this portion is very sensitive and thus you need to do the reflexology in a much gentle manner.
Below are the steps explained.
- Work down in one direction, from the knuckles to the wrist until every portion of the hand has been done with the reflexology.
- Gently do the reflexology around the wrist bone and also along the wrist.
Step 6: Repeating All Similar Steps on the Other Hand
All the steps explained above must be repeated gently on the other hand to be benefited from the hand reflexology on the palm.
Step 7: Relaxation Exercises
It is essential to end up the reflexology with the relaxation exercises. So, below are the steps for doing the relaxation exercises at the end of the reflexology of hand
- Apply a little amount of massage oil to the skin and gently rub from the knuckles to the wrist in soft slow motions for around half a minute.
- Next, rub gently around the wrists for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Now, turn the palm of your hand and face up, apply small amount of massage oil and using your thumb, gently go for sweeping movements across the palm.
- Next, wring out each finger very gently.
- Repeat the above steps on the other hand
Step 8: Add Water to your Hand Reflexology Technique
"WATER has two aspects of it. When mixed with anything, it is NEED and when alone it is LIFE." Water is very much important for the body because it actually enhances the circulation of blood that helps the body get rid of the wastes in a quicker time; but water is the element in which the waste travels in; so make a note to have enough of water in your body while doing the hand reflexology so as to get rid of any excess body waste from the blood system and to avoid flu like symptoms running for a day or two.
- Take a big glass of water while doing the hand reflexology
- Take rest for the rest day and keep up the water by drinking plenty of it.
Now that we are known to the steps of doing hand reflexology, it is pretty a simpler task to begin with the pure and simple technique of reflexology of the hand in a proper manner with adequate water and experience the benefits by self.