Essential Oils and Reflexology

Reflexology and Essential Oils

One area to use Essential Oils, Foot Reflexology:

WHAT IS FOOT REFLEXOLOGY?

Foot reflexology, also known as foot zone therapy, is an alternative medicine concept, where pressure is applied to different areas of the foot believed to correspond to different organs in the body.

For example, the upper balls of the foot are said to correspond to the lungs. The heel of the foot is said to correspond to the reproductive organs. The big toe of each foot is said to correspond to the head, including the pituitary gland in the brain.

The main concepts of foot reflexology are as follows:
» Tender spots on any part of the foot may mean the corresponding organ is unhealthy or facing blockages.
» Injuring any part of the foot may also cause damage to the corresponding organ.
» By massaging and manipulating tender spots on the feet, damages and blockages in the corresponding organs can be healed.

Foot reflexology does not claim to be the cure to any health problem. But it simply makes a valid case for stimulating and awakening different body organs by applying pressure on the foot zones.

Much to skeptics’ doubts, foot reflexology does not pose any adverse health effects but rather helps to stimulate and induce healing. If anything, a good foot reflexology massage can help you relieve pain, unwind and relax.

COMBINING ESSENTIAL OILS AND FOOT REFLEXOLOGY

Many of us interested in the natural health world are aware of the power of essential oils. Extracted by gathering the precious minuscule oils found in plant materials, essential oils are rich in unique compounds that have amazing healing properties.
One common way of using essential oils that is commonly found around the internet is using essential oils by applying them on the foot, as a part of foot reflexology healing.
This is actually a great idea and another good way to use essential oils. However, in today’s article let us clear some common myths that are fervently pushed around the internet when it comes to essential oils and foot reflexology!

MYTHS ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS AND FOOT REFLEXOLOGY:

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding the use of essential oils in foot reflexology, which ends up making the science of reflexology seem bogus and lose credibility.
“THE FEET ARE THE BEST PLACE TO APPLY ESSENTIAL OILS”
Actually, no. The feet are a good place to apply essential oils, but they certainly aren’t the best!  In fact, the average rate of absorption of products applied on the skin is 10%. But the feet have an absorption rate lower than this because of the thicker skin.
In fact, the places with the highest absorption rate are the face and neck, where skin is thinner.

“ESSENTIAL OILS CAN BE APPLIED NEAT ON THE FEET” 

This one almost cracks me up, except for the fact that applying essential oils neat or undiluted can be downright dangerous!
Just because the skin on the soles of the feet is thicker, is no excuse to dabble with essential oils at 100% concentration. Not only may this cause irritation or allergies in the long term, it can also lead to toxicity and sensitization.

“ESSENTIAL OILS ARE ABSORBED INTO BODY ORGANS WHEN APPLIED ON THE FEET”

Wow. So when essential oils are applied on various foot zones, the oil particles just magically find their way into the corresponding organ?! Another big fat NO.
Yes, essential oils molecules are very small and can easily be absorbed into the blood stream. But believing that the oil makes its way directly from the foot zone to the matching organ is nothing more than magical thinking.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Want to apply essential oils to your feet? By all means, go ahead! Essential oils are a wonderful way to massage your feet and be used in foot reflexology.

They are more than just pretty scents, and provide medicinal qualities such as alleviating mental problems, relieving pain, reducing inflammation and more!
Here are some guidelines to follow:
Make sure you dilute essential oils correctly before applying them to your feet. Avoid using essential oils on babies. If you must, make sure you dilute them at a lower concentration than what you would use for yourself. Always remember to go to your doctor if you are facing any concerning health issues. Getting a proper diagnosis is important. You may then start using natural remedies such as essential oils, along with your prescription medication, to begin your healing process.

Find the most power with combining essential oils with reflexology points, both on the hands and feet. This practice definitely gives you more bang for your buck and that is why I wanted to include charts for everyone to have that uses essential oils.
Reflexology with essential oils is a great way to benefit from a foot massage. One of the best ways to benefit from essential oils is by applying them topically to the bottoms of your feet.

Reflexology With Essential Oils Can: 

Support body systems (immune system, digestive system, endocrine system, etc.)

Support the body’s natural defenses

Support a normal mood

Boost stamina and energy

Promote relaxation

Help manage normal stresses we experience in life

Support mental clarity

Promote overall health and wellness

Essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin, which is not surprising considering the skin is the largest organ of the body. You can apply essential oils neat or diluted, depending on the oil and the user (for example, dilute for infants and children – check out the Essential Oils For Babies post for more information on dilution for infants and children).

Neat implies you are directly applying the oil on your skin, while diluted means you are mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.

Applying essential oils to your feet is a great way to absorb the oils into your body. With over 2,000 pores in each foot, they have some of the largest pores on your body. They can be applied using Young Living’s Vita-Flex foot chart (image shown above) to support a particular body system.
When applied topically, it takes only 2-3 minutes for an oil to reach the bloodstream, 20 minutes to affect every cell in the body, and 2 ½ hours to fully metabolize. Wow! Incredible right?!?

Support Body Systems With Essential Oils:

1. Lavender Essential Oil: Promotes calmness and relaxation. Supports a healthy nervous system and healthy skin. Complements body and skin care products.

2. Peppermint Essential Oil: Supports gastrointestinal system comfort, promotes healthy bowel function, enhances healthy gut function and supports the digestive system.

3. Lemon Essential Oil: Supports a healthy digestive and immune system. Enhances flavors of food and water.

4. Frankincense Esssential Oil: Highly regarding since ancient times, it is rejuvenating and supports healthy, aging skin and normal mood. It is grounding and supports inner balance. It calms and soothes the body and mind.

5. Copaiba Essential Oil: Promotes calmness and wellness, can be used as a daily health regimen. Supports healthy digestion, immune health, the body’s natural response to injury or irritation.

6. PanAway Essential Oil (a blend of wintergreen, helichrysum, clove and peppermint essential oils): Supports a healthy muscular-skeletal system. Soothing and stimulating.

7. Thieves Essential Oil (a blend of clove, cinnamon bark, lemon, eucalyptus radiata and rosemary essential oils): Supports the immune system. Great for cleaning or in a DIY Thieves Spray.

8. Purification Essential Oil (a blend of citronella, lemongrass, lavandin, rosemary, tea tree and myrtle essential oils): Freshens air, eliminates odors and deodorize carpets. Promotes healthy looking skin.

9. Digize Essential Oil (a blend of tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise and patchouli essential oils): Supports digestion and wellness.

10. R.C. Essential Oil (a blend of cypress, spruce and 3 eucalyptus essential oils): Supports the respiratory system.

11. Stress Away Essential Oil (a blend of copaiba, lime, cedar wood, vanilla, ocotea and lavender essential oils): Combats normal everyday stresses. Promotes calmness and relaxation.

There are a few specific reflexology points and oils that I would like to touch on because I have found tremendous value in adding specific oils with specific reflexology points.
Sleep
Oregano oil is perfect for the pineal gland. We are now seeing that many people on autopsy have calcification of the pineal gland, and oregano oil is known to help combat this to promote optimal sleep patterns. The pineal gland is the part of the brain that is responsible for releasing melatonin and is vital for sleep and awake cycles. I recommend then that people use the “Head” reflexology point on the bottom of the big toe and put a drop of oregano oil on this part of the foot before bed.

Digestive Issues and Constipation 

The digestive reflexology points are so powerful for gastrointestinal discomfort, especially digestion. I find that these points are extremely helpful in children. If you look at the foot reflexology point that the digestive organs are all located around the ball of the foot. Therefore, rubbing peppermint, ginger or a digestive blend in a circular manner around this area can drastically help with constipation.

Hormonal Problems and Irregular Periods 

The heel area is where the reproductive organs lie. For anyone that is suffering from cramping, irregular periods, or hormonal imbalances, this area can be extremely powerful. For cramps, I like to utilize lavender to relax. For hormonal imbalances and irregular periods, I find success using clary sage and geranium in this area.

How to Do Castor Oil Packs

If using the castor oil packs for detoxification or liver/gallbladder support, I recommend you put them on the upper part of the abdomen under the right ribcage. If using them for reproductive organ support, put them on the lower abdomen. Can also use them on areas of acne to help pull impurities out of the skin.

Infographic on the Best Essential Oils for PCOS

Getting the Most from Essential Oils Using Reflexology
Evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Indians all worked on the feet as a tool to encourage good health. Originally known as ‘reflex zone therapy’, Reflexology is a holistic healing method that involves pressure and massage of the reflex points found on the feet and/or the hands.
Evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Indians all worked on the feet as a tool to encourage good health.

Originally known as ‘reflex zone therapy’, Reflexology is a holistic healing method that involves pressure and massage of the reflex points found on the feet and/or the hands. Reflexology teaches that one’s vital energy circulates between the organs of the body, permeating every living cell and tissue. If the energy becomes blocked or congested the part of the body relating to the blockage is affected. These reflexes found on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands reflect the health of the whole organism.

Through stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, and by encouraging the release of toxins, Reflexology supports the entire body in healing itself.
A method for ‘activating the healing powers of the body’, modern Reflexology is both a science and an art. As a science, it requires careful study, practice, technical knowledge, and skill. As a healing art, Reflexology works best when the therapist works with patience, dedication, intention, and (most importantly) loving care.
Reflexology is not a ‘foot massage’. Reflexology does not diagnose illness. Reflexology does not treat specific diseases. However, when combined with sound healing practices, reflexology can help to facilitate healing and encourage well-being.

Many benefits of Reflexology: 

Stress Reduction and Relaxation- Reflexology assists in alleviating the effects of stress by inducing deep relaxation. The nervous system is allowed to rest and consequently functions in a more balanced state. As the body moves toward homeostasis, healing can take effect. Lavender essential oil is fabulous for decreasing stress and facilitating relaxation. 3-4 drops of therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil in the palm of your hand and then gently holding your friends or clients feet with the intention of sending them love and relaxation. Other relaxing essential oils include: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Rose, and Roman Chamomile. A lovely calming blend includes equal parts Lavender and Chamomile in the carrier oil of choice. Rose essential oil is fabulous for opening the energy of the heart.
Cleanses toxins and impurities from the body- Gravity pulls toxins downward. Inorganic waste material (such as uric acid and calcium crystals) can accumulate in bottom of the feet. An experienced Reflexologist can break up these crystals with various reflexology techniques. Soaking your friends feet in epsom salts with a few drops of essential oils can help to facilitate the release of old energy. This is a very healing therapy that is safe for elderly, pregnant, and children. Use ¼ to ½ cup of epsom salts in warm water. Add in 3-4 drops of essential oils and relax for half and hour. Foot baths are wonderful for those who have been ill or are exhausted. Aromatherapy baths are generally considered safe as long as the essential oils are properly dispersed throughout the water. Grapefruit, Geranium, and Juniper are all wonderful essential oils for detoxification.

Revitalizes energy- Reflexology works on with subtle energy flows to revitalize the bodies natural internal healing mechanisms. The epsom salt foot bath is also wonderful for revitalizing one’s overall energy. Choose essential oils that are uplifting such as Black Spruce, Bergamot, Rosemary, Rosemary blends nicely with lavender for clearing nervous exhaustion. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long ways. You can always blend the oils with a small amount of carrier to ensure that the oils do not burn the skin. Bergamot is considered relaxing, calming and restoring. It may also help to lift depression as it encourages the flow of Chi (life-force). Always dilute Bergamot in a carrier before applying to the feet or skin.

Balances and integrates the body- as energy pathways are opened, strengthened, and brought into balance, the body returns to its natural rhythms. Energy flows. The body, mind, and spirit are brought back into balance. Rose essential oil is a wonderful oil for balancing and integrating the energy pathways of the body. Facilitate this healing by gently ‘anointing’ your friends feet with Rose oil and then along them to bask in the high vibration healing of this beautiful flower. Ylang Ylang essential oil is lovely for balancing one’s masculine and feminine energies.

Improves circulation- The feet are furthest from the heart (where circulation can tend to be stagnant); Reflexology stimulates and encourages blood flow to the feet thus helping to nourish all the extremities of the body. A non-toxic, non-irritating oil Spruce is an excellent choice for those with poor circulation. Ylang Ylang, Sweet Marjoram, and Lavender essential oil have been found to reduce blood pressure.
Preventative health care- Good health depends on balance, equilibrium, and the natural functioning of all the body systems. This dynamic state of balance is called homeostasis. For the body to function optimally, all systems must work in synergistic harmony. Body work in general and specifically Reflexolgy is a wonderful preventative healing technique. Trust your instinct when choosing a reflexologist or massage therapist. Ask a friend for referrals and be consistent in getting body work.

Nourishes practitioner and client- The Reflexologist is a conduit for healing. As healing takes place, the practitioner and the client both experience a sense of well-being. This well-being can carry into other areas of the clients and practitioners life and the dynamic benefit is then extended out into the world. Reflexology is an amazing and dynamic tool in assisting oneself and one’s client in becoming independently healthy. In my opinion as having both received and shared reflexology sessions with clients and friends, this method of healing is fantastic!

Bibliography:

1) Feet First, a Guide to Reflexology; by: Laura Norman with Thomas Cowan, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988.

2) The Complete Guide to Reflexology (Revised); by: Kevin and Barbara Kunz, (International) Reflexology Research, New Mexico, 1993.

3) The Joy of Reflexology (Healing Techniques for the Hands and Feet to Reduce Stress and Reclaim Health); by: Ann Gillanders,
Little, Brown, and Company, Boston and New York, 1995.

Conclusion

Speak with your doctor before using essential oils.. Your doctor will be able to tell you if the oils will affect any medications that you may be taking. You should also check with your doctor if you have any known allergies, as some oils may contain potential allergens.

If you plan to use essential oils, make sure you’re clear on the instructions ahead of time. These oils can be harmful if they’re applied directly to the skin, so be sure to dilute your essential oil of choice with a carrier oil. Coconut, jojoba, and olive oils are common carrier oils. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 ounce of carrier oil to every 12 drops of essential oil and mix.

You should always perform a patch test before doing a full application. To do this, apply the diluted oil to a small area of skin. The inside of the arm is generally a good location for this. Wait 24 hours to see if your skin experiences any inflammation or irritation. If you do, discontinue use. If nothing happens, it should be OK for you to do a full application.

If you’re using an oil in a spray, make sure you’re in an area with proper ventilation.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician. Readers are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the publisher nor the author takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person reading or following the information in this book. All readers, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition or supplement program.