Acupressure and Reflexology For Dummies
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Acupressure and reflexology can have many positive effects on your life — physically, emotionally, and mentally. Here are some of the major benefits you can enjoy by taking part in bodywork sessions.

You're more relaxed

Acupressure and reflexology both encourage deep tranquility and relaxation by restoring the optimal flow of energy throughout your body, helping your body release the negative energy brought on by stress. By promoting the proper flow of qi (vital force) and helping to remove any energy blockages, which can be stressful, bodywork allows you to enjoy a more relaxed state no matter what you may be doing.

You lessen the effects of stress

Bodywork treatments can also help alleviate the physical symptoms of stress, such as increased muscle tension, which can cause headaches, stiffness, and muscle pain; elevated blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease; or feelings of anxiety brought on by feeling stressed out. Relieving physical symptoms of stress can put your body in a better energetic state to handle whatever stressful situations you can't avoid.

Your life is more balanced

A basic principle of both acupressure and reflexology is the restoration of harmonious energy flow, putting qi in proper balance. In Chinese medicine, all illness and distress in life can be attributed to imbalances of qi. So balancing qi brings you more balance and stability, physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a result, you enjoy better health, a more positive attitude, fewer aches and pains, and better decision-making skills.

You're in less pain

Acupressure and reflexology almost always lessen pain. Obviously, if you've suffered a severe injury or if you're dealing with a debilitating disease, bodywork treatments can do only so much. However, for routine pains caused by minor to moderate injuries, illnesses, and other conditions, the healing arts are often very effective in reducing your pain and making you more comfortable.

You enjoy better relationships

Enjoying better relationships with those around you does tend to happen, for a variety of reasons. First, face it — people who are in pain tend to be a bit crabby. If you feel better physically, you also have a better outlook on life and are probably a much more pleasant person to be around. People are drawn to you and enjoy being in your company. Also, when your energy flow is in sync and you have emotional balance, you tend to enjoy more positive relationships with loved ones and interact better with professional colleagues.

You have more energy

Acupressure and reflexology are both focused on restoring a person's proper balance and flow of qi. As a result, your energy is no longer blocked or slowed down, and you're able to enjoy more of this positive fuel. Pressure point therapies, as well as massage and other bodywork techniques, have the added benefit of increasing the release of endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters released in nerve synapses that stimulate feelings of well-being, relaxation, and inner calm. This combination of beneficial effects provides you with the optimum combination of more energy, greater alertness, and clam relaxation.

You heal faster

The body is designed with self-healing mechanisms that require proper fuel and conditions to work. Physiologically, every cell needs nutrients, removal of waste products, fuel from the food you eat, oxygen, and water. In Chinese medicine, vitality, supplied by qi, is included in that list. All physical substances are supplied to cells by the circulatory system, so when circulation is diminished, cell health is compromised. The principle demonstrated through acupressure and reflexology is that where qi goes, blood follows. When the channels of qi are open, cells receive vitality and circulation is improved, providing the cells with all they need to heal faster.

You nurture yourself

If you're like most people, you spend lots of time taking care of everyone else, and very little time taking care of yourself. Most likely, you often neglect your own physical and emotional needs — even when you're in pain.

Engaging in acupressure and reflexology sessions forces you to treat yourself to some "me time," which you most likely desperately need. This "me time" is far from selfish — the better you feel, the more efficiently you can fulfill all your daily duties and nurture the important people in your life.

About This Article

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Synthia Andrews has been a message and bodywork therapist for 25 years. She is an authorized teacher of Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure, has been on faculty at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy for 16 years, and was a four-year faculty member at the Kripalu Yoga Institute. She is licensed in the state of Connecticut, where she maintains a private practice, and is currently a forth-year student of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport. Her Real love is using acupressure to help abused, neglected, or injured horses. You can find classes with Synthia and other qualified professionals at and

Bobbi Dempsey is a freelance writer for many major publications including The New York Times, Muscle & Fitness, Family Circle, Parents, Men's Fitness, and many others. She is also the author of numerous nonfiction books on topics ranging from diabetes to homemade ice cream. Her Web site is

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