Wouldn’t you just love to get a better night’s sleep? You know you need it for your health and to help your weight loss efforts. Sleep helps to power down the brain and improves bodily functions. The immune system has the chance to work, fighting off infections and diseases that we’ve picked up throughout the day.
One of the biggest issues stopping us from sleeping is stress. It raises our adrenaline, and our minds run over events. We just can’t seem to switch off, and that means we’re left lying in bed, wide awake but unable to do anything production. All we do is count down the hours, counting just how much sleep we will get if our bodies shut down for the night.
The more we try to sleep, the harder it gets. Our stress levels continue to rise, and we’re left feeling like zombies the next day. We look out for ways that will help us get rid of excess energy and stress levels allowing us to sleep.
The chances are that you’ve already tried many of the options out there. You’ve looked at options like taking a relaxing bath, cutting down on the caffeine intake, and even reading a book or listening to music to take your mind off things. None of them have worked.
Well, what about foot reflexology? This is something you may have heard about in passing, but never really given it that much thought.
It can be an extremely powerful way to relax the body and mind. Here’s all you need to know about foot reflexology and tips to use it so you can get a peaceful night’s sleep in what feels like the first time in forever.
Reflexology to Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep
First, let’s look at reflexology and what it really is. Think of it as a foot massage but targeting certain elements of the foot.
You see, the foot is full of pressure points. There are sections that will help to reduce the stress levels just by pushing onto them. You get sensations throughout the body to relax the muscles and get all the organs working again. The parts of your body that need stimulating instantly get a message that times them to improve function, but your brain gets this sense of relaxation and the need to slow down and switch off.
Many people find that they are soothed into a deep sense of relaxation. They end up in a deep resting state, very much like hypnosis. You’re far more open to suggestions, and your subconscious can take over more frequently. It’s easier to give into the desires of the heart, which at the end of the day is to sleep better at night.
Did you know your foot is home to 15,000 nerves? Just think about when you stand on Lego or a pin, just how much does it hurt? Far more than if you knelt on it or leaned on it with your arm. The number of nerves can have their downsides when the kids haven’t picked up their toys, but they’re extremely useful for foot massages and reflexology. They help to improve the chances of a restful night.
But you need to use reflexology in the right way. You need to find the best tips and the best placements for your hands to make sure you stimulate the right nerves. This is what this guide is all about.
The Best Pressure Points in the Foot
Now that you know about reflexology, it’s time to move onto the pressure points in the foot. Getting certain points will help with different effects. They can help to reduce different types of pain and aid with different levels of stimulation and relaxation.
Foot reflexology even works in children and babies! Did you know that massaging the tips of the toes gently helps babies with teething pain get to sleep? The nerves there help to diminish the pain felt in the mouth! Massaging on the heel can help to reduce tummy upsets.
So, it’s all about finding the right pressure points in your foot to get the outcome that you want.
The Hypothalamus Gland on the Outside of the Big Toe. Just on the outside of the big toes is the hypothalamus gland. This is the gland that controls the appetite. If you’re struggling to sleep because of hunger, then you need to consider massaging this area to encourage the appetite to subside.
This is a powerful option for those who are on weight loss diets. The appetite can cause sleep problems because your brain keeps thinking about the food that it wants but isn’t allowed to have. You’re left feeling deflated, and you’ll find it harder to stick to the diet the next day.
If you manage to curb the cravings and reduce the appetite, you’ll find that peaceful sleep, and your diet is both easier.
Pituitary Gland on the Big Toe. In the middle of the big toe is the pituitary gland. This is also referred to as the master gland, as it controls almost every hormone that passes through your body. It will also control your growth since growth is linked to the hormones.
One of the best ways to get more sleep is by balancing out the hormones. Remember that it’s stress that is causing the biggest issue with your sleeping pattern. If you can control the level of cortisol and balance it out with happy hormones like serotonin and endorphins, you will find that your sleeping pattern will change for the better.
Look out for reflexology tips that include this gland as much as possible.
The Thyroid Gland in the Big Toe Joint. The thyroid gland is often overlooked but controls the metabolism. It helps to balance out a number of calories that are burned, helping you to burn energy throughout the day more effectively.
How will this help you sleep? One of the major benefits is that you reduce the amount of excess energy in your body. It will be easier to burn off the calories throughout the day, lose more weight, and reduce any breathing problems that are stopping you from sleeping. The balancing of the metabolism can also help to control the levels of cortisol entering your system.
Solar Plexus or Diaphragm within the Instep. At the top of the instep in the middle is the solar plexus – sometimes called the diaphragm gland. While it is mostly to help with your breathing, it will also help to reduce the amount of stress in your body.
This is the gland that most people focus on. There are just so many nerves around the instep, and it can be extremely relaxing. You’ll also find it’s easier to reach your instep on your own.
A major benefit is the relaxation element. The reduction in stress means that there is less cortisol in your system preventing you from sleeping. You can combine this with the pituitary gland tips to help completely cut out stress from your body.
Adrenal Gland in the Archway. The arch of the foot is another powerful part of this part of your body. It’s the home of the adrenal gland, which helps with the boosting of energy within the system. If your adrenal gland is out of balance, your metabolism slows down, and the cortisol levels rise.
If you focus some of the reflexology methods on the adrenal gland, you can help to boost energy levels to burn off excess calories. This means you have less energy on a night, so you feel tired and want to be able to sleep. Your mind switches off so your whole body can get the rest that it desperately needs to work the next day.
Urinary Bladder Gland on the Side of the Heel. In the side of the heel, towards the instep, is the bladder gland. As it sounds, this controls the amount of liquid that your actual bladder releases.
Some people find it hard to sleep on a night because they constantly need to pee. Or they have too much water retention, so their stress levels rise. When you balance it all out with the urinary bladder gland, you’ll find that your water intake and release is in line to help you sleep on a night.
This isn’t the favored area for many reflexology massages but is an area to consider now and then.
Colon and Intestines Gland in the Heel. Remember when I said that the heel is a good place to massage to help babies with tummy upsets? That’s because this is the home of the colon and intestines gland. It helps to control the bloating and gassy feeling in the body. And we all know how that can stop us from sleeping.
If the digestive system isn’t working properly, we’re left with a build-up of waste and gas in the body. This is painful, especially if the intestines aren’t linedproperly or we’re eating food that just doesn’t agree with us.
Focusing on the colon gland area in the foot will help to get the digestive system running again. It helps to prevent the build-up of gas, meaning that we’re not in as much pain. There’s no reason for our bodies to keep us up on a night!
Now that you know where to put the pressure and what each part of the foot controls – it’s amazing that this part of the body can control so much, right? – It’s time to look at how to use reflexology to your advantage. Foot reflexology isn’t hard to get used to at all. Here are the top eight tips to help you manage it and start getting those peaceful nights.
Think of Your Foot as Your Body from Top to Bottom
We’ve been through the foot’s glands, but there are high chances that you’ll get them mixed up. One of the best ways to remember the placement of the glands is by thinking of your foot as a body.
The tip of your foot is the head, and the heel is the bottom – your intestines and your colon. You can then work your way around the middle just like the middle of your body. The ball part of your foot is the lungs and heart, while the instep is more like the stomach and the kidneys.
You may find that it is now easier to figure out where you want to apply the pressure or focus on more to help with your sleeping patterns. If you find that digestive troubles keep you up more at night, you’ll want to look at the digestive section of your foot – the heel section. If you suffer headaches or hormonal imbalances, you’ll want to look more at the head and breathing sections of your feet – the toes and ball.
The foot as a spine, just like the rest of your body does. This isn’t in the middle like many people would think. It’s on the inside edge of your foot, on the side. This is where there are many bones, but you also have most your nerve endings. Think about how much more painful standing on Lego here is compared to the middle of your foot!
Like your regular spine, the spine of the foot can be damaged, but it also offers some support. This is the section that you will want to hold so you can carry out the rest of the reflexology. You’ll want to twist the section to avoid causing other problems slowly.
The organs will match up regarding side. Your liver is on the right side of your body, so you’ll find that this is controlled by the right foot. Your stomach is on the left side, so this is controlled by the left foot, along with your heart. This will help you make sure there is a balance, and it’s important to perform the reflexology techniques on both feet – one straight after another.
When you are carrying out foot reflexology, you will mostly focus on all elements of your feet at the same time. But this just helps you figure out where to focus most of the time, especially if you just have a short space of time to wind down on a night. Spending time on other sections of the foot will just help to take care of all possible reasons for thelack of sleep on a night.
Use Thumb Walking for Light Pressure
The chances are that you’ve seen people dig right into the muscles and the glands to get the pressure in. You don’t really need to do that with the foot. Remember that there are thousands of nerves within the foot. They can be stimulated with just the slightest pressure.
Rather than digging your hand right in, you just want to apply light pressure through thumb walking. Yes, it will just take your thumb to get into the glands and help make them work properly for a better night’s sleep.
You can practice your thumb walking with a pencil, pen, or another similar item. Push the pad of your thumb down and then bend it, so the tip of the thumb is now in pen. Straighten the thumb again, so the pad is back down, without releasing the pressure from the pen. It’s like a rocking motion and as you do that the thumb will move forward on the surface.
Thumb walking is the most commonly used technique in foot reflexology. It’s effective while also easy to do. It’s also less pressure on your hands so you can do it for longer periods of time. Just the process of bending and unbending your thumb will make it walk all by itself, and you won’t feel fatigue in your hand as quickly.
By using the thumb, you can also get into the smaller sections of your feet. Could you imagine trying to use the heel of the hand in the joint of your big toe? You wouldn’t be able to get right into the joint, and you’d miss the gland. There’s just no real benefit to doing any of the foot reflexology. You’d find the same around the outside of the big toe and in some parts of the instep.
It is possible to use the rest of the hand, and there are certainly some techniques that require it. However, thumb walking will be the easiest to get used to.
You will still want to put some pressure on the foot. Light touches will lead to you jerking your feet back as this is one of the most sensitive and ticklish parts of thebody. Ticking your feet isn’t relaxing. In fact, it causes the exact opposite response. You will find that you’re most likely to set off more adrenaline and cortisol in your body, which will leave you struggling to sleep again!
If Using Lotion, Warm It Up!
This tip is often forgotten about, and it makes the foot reflexology massages less effective! The cold lotion will be felt more on the feet because of all the nerve endings. You know what you’re like when you’re cold – this leads to you tensing up and release more stress. Your body tries to counter the cold, and it causes problems with the blood flow.
Long story short, not warming up the lotion that you use will lead to the body not getting all the relaxing benefits of the massage. It’s easy to warm up the lotion too! You just must rub it in your hands first and let your natural body temperature do the job.
But don’t you get the same response with cold lotion on your hands? You’ll find the response isn’t as bad as it would be on your feet. While there are many nerves in your hands, there aren’t as many as there are on your feet.
Do you really need to use lotion? This isn’t a necessity, but it can be useful. The feet are walked on all day, so the skin will be hard. It can be painful to run your hands across the callous skin, so using the lotion helps to smooth the way. You’ll reduce the friction while also hydrating the feet as you massage.
Look out for lotions that are either scentless or will work with the relaxation benefits. Lavender or Sandalwood are two powerful options.
Massage oils aren’t as effective as moisturizing creams and foot creams. The problem with massage oils is that they tend to be sticky, so they leave residue behind. You’ll need to use more, and you are left with a horrible feeling on your hands. When you use a lotion or cream, you get rid of the sticky feeling and will find you keep the moisture in place without using as much cream.
The lotion is useful when doing the wrist twist technique, which we’ll cover soon. The wrist twist can cause something like a Chinese burn on foot because of the friction. With lotion, you will find it easier to get the hands moving around smoothly.
Start at the Top and Work Your Way Down
Start with the top of your foot, like you would start with the top of your back for a massage. This will help to target some of the more common problematic areas within the body that affect sleep. I keep saying that stress is a major reason for the lack of sleep, and the head and upper body sections of your body will affect the stress levels.
You can start by rotating your toes. Just gently twist them side by side and work on each individual toe. Your toes work with your senses, which can help to reduce stress and unwind the mind. Stretch out the base joint and just hold them up for a few seconds. Don’t try to dislocate. You just want to help release some of the pressure on the joints and need to move with a slight twist.
Many people find that the toe twists movegreat for relieving headaches. Stress headaches are a common problem, and too many of us reach for the painkillers first. Wouldn’t it be better to remove the problem naturally before you resort to over the counter drugs?
You also improve the blood flow with this move, which will help with the relaxation of all your muscles. Your joints get extra blood, so the glands around the area will be supported.
Thumb walk along the tips of each of your toes, except for the middle one – this doesn’t have as many benefits as the other toes. Walk along the base of your toes too.
Put as much pressure on the toes as you can stand. It shouldn’t be painful, as this will send signals to stress. You want to focus on enough pressure to relax all the points rather than hurt them.
Pay close attention to the big toe. This is the most beneficial toe out of the five, as it houses the more of the glands. It is also the best for boosting the mood, so you cut down on the amount of stress that you fell daily.
Help Your Mental Alertness Next
Once you’ve worked on the toes, it’s time to move on the ball of your foot. Remember that this is the home of your thyroid gland, which helps to control your metabolism. A good metabolism will burn calories, boost weight loss, and limit the amount of stress that you feel.
You have two options for massaging into this section of the foot. You can stick with the thumb walking, or you can rub into the section with the heel of your thumb. Either way, put enough pressure to get into the muscles but don’t cause yourself pain! Yes, I know it is easy to put a lot of pressure into this part of your foot because you get just the right angle.
This area can also help to control your nervousness. If you are worried about the events of the day or something coming up the next day, spend an extra couple of minutes on this part of your foot. Get your heart rate down and relax your whole mind. You will find it harder to sleep when you have a lot of worries.
You’ll also find that the gland helps with the controlling of cholesterol and dry skin. You’ll be a healthier person because of the foot reflexology on it.
This gland is known as the third ovary because it is just so powerful for women’s health. Make sure you treat it that way. You wouldn’t put excess pressure on your real ovaries, would you?
You can move on from the thumb walking with this part of the foot. Gently wrap your hand around, so your index finger and thumb almost touch – they don’t have to touch, but you want to grip firmly. Now twist the foot gently from side to side.
This movement can help to improve blood flow to the whole foot. You’ll also find that it helps to stimulate your mental alertness more. Doesn’t this counter the benefit of sleeping? Not quite. While you’re more alert, you will also be more in tune with your body and subconscious. You’ll find it easier to fall asleep.
Don’t forget the side of your foot around this area and up to the toe. This will help you especially if you have a cold or flu symptoms. It helps to unblock the sinuses so you can focus on better breathing to relax your whole body.
Continue Your Focus on the Spine of the Foot
Your body’s spine is the home for thousands of nerve endings and transmission centers. It will send messages from your brain to all the other parts of your body – and it does this million of times in a day. Well, the spine of your foot is very much the same. Okay, so it doesn’t transmit as much in the short space of time, but it will transmit a lot. So, you want to focus on this part of the body.
Any abnormal tension will be released when you focus your thumb walking on this part of your foot. You’ll improve the blood flow around your body, reduce tension in all your muscles, and even help to reduce constipation, headaches, and menstrual pains.
You don’t have to do too much to look at this part of your foot. You can just run your thumb up and down, putting enough pressure to feel it without causing pain. If you like a little extra pain, then you can apply it but watch out for the way your body tenses when you do this.
Those who have back pain will find that running their hands along the spine of the foot will help. It’s an easy position to sit in, and you’ll focus on all the tiny nerves that can lead to pain in the spine.
When it comes to sleep, you’re reducing the tension. You help to send relaxation messages directly to all your muscles while getting rid of the reason for much of the tension – pain that you feel in your body. At the same time, you support the hormonal production and balance, releasing the stress and adding more of the good hormones back into your system.
Move all the way up and down the spine of the foot, like you would with your body’s spine. You will work on every single nerve that way. The spine follows the same pattern as the rest of the foot – the toes are for the head, and the heel is for the digestive system.
You can work on a part of the spine if you need to. If you find that digestive issues are more of a problem for your sleeping pattern, then don’t be afraid to focus more pressure and more time on the heel section of the foot’s spine. If headaches or hormonal imbalances are your issues, focus on the spine further at the top!
Get a Tennis Ball or Golf Ball
When it comes to your instep and your heel, you may find that thumb walking just isn’t enough. You need extra pressure over a larger surface area. The instep is also usually the most ticklish part of the step. Well, you don’t need to touch the areas with your hands if you don’t want.
Instead, grab a ball. This can be a golf ball, a tennis ball, or something of similar shape and size. If you have kids, you may find that they have ping pong balls or similar lying around the house.
You want to use the palm to move the ball on your foot. This allows for enough pressure to help do some good, without struggling to keep the movements fluid – and fluidity is important. If you need to practice, you can roll the ball around on a table top with the palm of your hand.
If you still can’t get it, you can lock your fingers around the ball. You’ll push it in and move it around rather than circling it around your foot. This can be useful as you get to the sides, where it tends to be harder to control the movements.
When you use the techniques around the instep and heel, you will work on the urinary and colon glands. This helps to reduce your water retention and improve your digestive system, which is two commonly overlooked areas when it comes to better sleep. You’ll also find that you get a bit of an energy boost to help you get rid of the excess that is keeping you going throughout the day.
Focusing within the instep is also a good way to give your whole body a boost. This helps to reduce the stress in your body and get rid of some of the adrenaline. You’ll start to feel sluggish, and this is the perfect time to get yourself to bed!
Work on One Foot First
Don’t try to work on both feet at a time. Spend your time working on the right foot first – on all the different glands in the foot. You can help to relax the whole of the right side of your body and boost your liver production.
Once you’ve finished with the right, you can then move to the left. It’s best to work this way around since this keeps the symmetry in your body for each of the functions. The left side also controls the heart, so you’ll work on slowing the heart rate down at the end to help you fall as sleep better.
You can do the techniques while you watch TV, while you read a book, or even before or after your meditation session. It really is completely up to you.
Spend the same amount of time on both feet to get the best results. I know that you’ll want to get it over and done with on the second foot, but you keep treating it the same as your first foot to get all the benefits of foot reflexology.
Combine with Exercise and a Good Diet
This isn’t really a tip. It’s just something that will help you make the most of your foot reflexology. There are many people who will focus solely on the reflexology to help balance their hormones. They want to reduce the stress so quickly, but they forget about the other events and factors in their life.
You won’t get the best benefits of foot reflexology if you don’t focus on the rest of your lifestyle. Make sure you follow a good, healthy diet. This will help you get all your nutrients to curb stress level increases and support all your organs. You’ll find that a good diet works with the metabolism benefits of foot reflexology to reduce weight and boost skin conditions.
Exercise is also powerful. Doing this before foot reflexology will help to get your body in the best shape, to begin with. You’ll find that your muscles are more receptive to the relaxation techniques and your body has also started to reduce the stress hormones that built up throughout the day. You don’t have to exercise just before, but try to fit it in daily. Even just a walk in the fresh air is better than nothing.
It’s Time to Add Foot Reflexology in Your Life for a Better Sleep
Poor sleep is often caused by a hormonal imbalance. We have so much stress in our lives that our brains just can’t shut down. The brain must deal with everything that happens in a day. Even when we sleep, the brain doesn’t really stop. It’s the subconscious that takes over as it processes events that we need to remember, details that need to be stored long term, and problems that need solutions as soon as possible.
The hormones will affect the brain’s abilities. If you have a large amount of stress, the conscious brain takes over. It tries to find the solutions for you, meaning that your brain can’t shut down and let the subconscious get to work. Remember, your subconscious can reach into the memories and find a time that you had a similar situation.
Foot reflexology gives you the ability to balance out your hormones. You’ll cut the levels of stress to a minimum, so your subconscious finds it easier to take over on a night. At the same time, you’re opening your body up to suggestion. You’re letting your subconscious step forward, even when you’re awake.
Following the above tips will help you get started with home reflexology. You can find the best areas to massage and the best ways to perform those massages. You’ll find the best options for your specific reason for not sleeping.
Carry out foot reflexology daily. You will find that you have a more peaceful night’s sleep daily.