Reflexology and Hypertension
High blood pressure is defined as having intermittent or persistent elevated blood pressure. Readings greater than or equal to 140/90mm Hg is considered HBP. Having HBP increases risks for heart attack, angina, stroke, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease and death. Hypertension has been called the “silent killer” because it usually produces no symptoms by itself. Reference is made to subtle signs occasionally observed such as shortness of breath after mild exercise, headaches or dizziness, swelling of the ankles during the daytime, excessive sweating, anxiety and occasional nosebleeds.
For someone with hypertension, a reflexologist would work on specific reflexes related to the condition, which would encourage the body’s natural self-healing powers such as the diaphragm to promote relaxation in the chest cavity and better breathing, the solar plexus which also encourages deep relaxation, the kidney and thyroid for their role in regulating blood pressure, the pituitary gland since it secretes hormones that help control blood pressure, and the adrenals which work at normalising the circulatory system. Reflexes of organs that may eventually become affected such as the heart, brain and eyes may also be targeted.
In 2013 I conducted a small case study on the effects of Reflexology on hypertension and its symptoms. During the study seven people with high blood pressure were used. Overall there was a decrease in blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure seemed to decrease more than diastolic blood pressure after Reflexology treatments; however diastolic blood pressure did stabilize after Reflexology treatments with less erratic fluctuations measured after treatments than before. Blood pressure symptoms such as dizziness, swelling around the ankles and feet, muscle cramps in the legs, fatigue and headaches also improved with Reflexology. I concluded that Reflexology has a beneficial influence on patients suffering from hypertension, both in terms of objectively recorded blood pressure readings, and subjectively reported blood pressure symptoms.
Including reflexology sessions into one’s regular routine can not only complement conventional medical treatment, but can also serve as an efficient preventative healthcare tool.