Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional tension or strain resulting from an adverse or demanding situation or circumstances. It is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand, which can affect both the body and the mind.
It is a normal aspect to experience and can be positive, keeping you alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges
Emotional symptoms include being easily agitated, frustrated and moody, Feeling overwhelmed, loss of control or need to take control, having difficulty relaxing and quieting the mind, low self-esteem, feeling lonely/worthless and depressed,avoiding others. Physical symptoms include low energy, headaches, upset stomach including diarrhoea, constipation and nausea, aches, pains, and tense muscles, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, Insomnia, frequent colds and infections, loss of libido, nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear,cold or sweaty hands and feet,excess sweating,dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, clenched jaw and grinding teeth.
Whilst stressed, the body produces high levels of adrenal cortisone.Prolonged stress means prolonged high levels of adrenal cortisone which may initiate diabetes, ulcers, heart attacks and supress immune system. The body now has to maintain a state of balanced imbalance, which can eventually drain the body of energy, under functioning of organs and undernourishment of cells and tissues. If this state continues it can lead to disease and or chronic stress. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, compulsive obsessive disorders, loss of libido, eating disorders, indigestion, migraines, chest pains, high blood pressure, skin disorders, insomnia, alcoholism, smoking and breathing difficulties.
Reflexology is a very good way to combat stress apart from the relaxation benefits it enhances the immune system, which has a successful response to stress. Reflexology restores homeostasis after the alarm and resistance phase. It aids the body to recover from negative stress and helps the body to recover as much as it can following the exhaustion phase (Pitman & Mackenzie, 2002).
Atkins & Harris (2008) conducted a study in an occupational setting with the aim to investigate if reflexology can manage stress levels in the work place. Their report was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice (2008) 14, 280-287. They reported over half a million people are affected by work related stress, which is thought to be the cause of tension, fatigue, nausea and headaches. It has been recognised prolonged stress exposes the body to risk of infection and the onset of chronic conditions. Which leads to absenteeism in the work place costing organisations around £3.7 billion annually. Many businesses are providing inexpensive solutions to reduce stress. Their study concluded reflexology alleviates and manages stress in the working environment, reduce sickness and absenteeism.
Reflexology works specifically to help the body heal itself and clients often seek a reflexologist for help with common ailments such musculo-skeletal pain, insomnia, hormonal or digestive issues. In many cases they will see their symptoms improve or disappear but, by then, they have discovered how deeply relaxing reflexology can be to their whole being which results in better sleep, peace of mind and less anxiety. Reflexology appeals to many people because it is non-invasive; the only clothes to be removed are shoes and socks. Reflexology helps balance the mind and body and maintains a state of homeostasis that the body needs to run smoothly. When there is a malfunction in the body it is thrown off balance. Reflexology helps to sustain a natural equilibrium in every gland, organ, muscle, tissue and cell in the body through stimulation of pressure points, called reflexes on the hands and feet.
NEPIP a specialised form of reflexology which is more effective in managing stress. It is based on the principle behind Psychoneuroimmunology which is the study of the effects of the mind on health and resistance to disease. The NEPIP treatment works with the theory that each bodily system affects the other and by enabling the flow from one system to another we help the body to interact and communicate, and more importantly to ‘listen’ to itself. This is a truly amazing and unique reflexology treatment for accessing the nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and the limbic system through specific techniques linked with powerful focused intent. It also incorporates the HPA Axis (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), which plays a vital role in controlling the body’s reactions to stress.