Promotion: Boosting your immune System with Reflexology & Aromatherapy

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Promotion: Boosting your immune System with Reflexology & Aromatherapy
Samantha at the Foot Space Clinic, Morden, discusses the benefits of reflexology and aromatherapy.

In the age of the Covid-19, there is no better time than now to know the health benefits of using natural therapies to boost your immune system. Your immune system is made up of a network of tissues, organs and cells – bone marrow, spleen, thymus and lymphatic system which is your body’s first line of defence against viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. 

Researchers have found that our emotions (fear, frustrations and anxieties) can affect immune function. Unfortunately, stress is related to every aspect of our modern-day lifestyle. It lowers the ability to fight infection by decreasing the number of white cells responsible for fighting infection; the lower the white cells the higher the risk of getting sick.  Stress also increases inflammation in the body which further weaken defences, making you more susceptible to colds, flu, chronic disease and even food allergies. It is therefore important to try and minimize negative emotions to help keep the immune system healthy.

REFLEXOLOGY

Whilst it is difficult to pinpoint an exact start date for reflexology, there is evidence to suggest that for 3,000 years Chinese practitioners have used reflexology to re-balance Qi (the life force that flows through energy channels) to treat numerous health conditions. In Ancient Egypt there are wall paintings found in the pyramid of Ankhmahor, known as the ‘physician’s tomb’ depicting early signs of reflexology dating back to approximately 2,500 B.C; and Native American tribes are also known to have practiced a form of foot therapy for hundreds of years.

The principles of this ancient therapy are that certain areas on the soles of your feet or hands – known as reflex zones – contain millions of nerve endings that correspond to other parts of the body.  The theory is that all systems and the organs of the whole body are mirrored or reflected in miniature on the feet, hands, ears and face.  By applying pressure on specific points corresponding organs, nerve endings and energy pathways are stimulated encouraging the body to heal itself thus improving circulation, reducing stress and restoring the body’s natural balance.

Reflexologists do not claim to diagnose or cure.  It is an individualized treatment tailored to your needs.  My clients say they feel extremely relaxed during and after a treatment.  Although there is inconclusive evidence to back up reflexology’s effectiveness, my clients say that their general health and wellbeing improves substantially.

AROMATHERAPY

Essential oils are such a helpful tool for your family’s wellness.  They can help with supporting physical and emotional well-being. The use of essential oils for therapeutic, ritualistic and spiritual purposes dates back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and Indians.  Distilled essential oils have been used as medicines since the 11th century when Avicenna isolated essential oils using steam distillation.

During the early part of the 20th century a French chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé is credited with coining the term aromatherapy.  Other highly respected 20th century aromatherapists include Mme Maury, Robert Tisserand and Jean Valnet.

Many essential oils have a remarkable ability to support the immune system and increase the rate of healing.  These oils help to fight infection by stimulating the production of white cells and they can be used in conjunction with herbal remedies also designed to improve immunity. 

Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from various parts of plants and then distilled. The highly concentrated oils can be inhaled directly or indirectly or applied to the skin through massage, lotions or bath salts. Aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating small receptors in the nose which then send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotions.

A lymphatic massage that uses essential oils is one important way to support the immune system. A lymphatic massage involves deep strokes that work from the extremities towards the heart. Lymph nodes are located around the body, particularly in the throat, breasts, under the arms and groin. They are like filtering centres for cleansing the blood. The lymphatic system moves cellular fluid through the system, cleansing the body of waste produced by the body’s metabolic functions. Rosemary, grapefruit and lemon are particularly good at stimulating movement and supporting the cleansing action; essential oils that support the immune system are bergamot, lavender, tea tree, lemon and thyme.

A diffuser or oil burner, when combined with immune boosting essential oils, can help to ward off viruses, and cleanse the air of germs and impurities. Essential oils containing antibacterial and anti microbes can help remove airborne pathogens before they invade your body.  Diffusing these oils regularly at home and in the office to clean the air can also help to boost your immune system. 

Regular reflexology and aromatherapy sessions not only help to strengthen the immune system but can address many other health problems. However, it is recommended that reflexology and aromatherapy should be used in conjunction with advice and guidance from your GP particularly if you have any serious existing conditions.