Reflexology and Arthritis

By Tendai Degmar

Arthritis or joint inflammation is a symptom as well as a disease because it affects daily life activities so significantly. Other inflammatory conditions are often accompanied by arthritis such as rheumatoid, psoriatic, juvenile, and reactive arthritis, as well as ankylosing spondylitis.

Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. The management of arthritis depends on the underlying cause as well as the health of the patient.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years but can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. 

It can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

Types of Arthritis

  • Degenerative Arthritis
  • Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Infectious Arthritis
  • Metabolic Arthritis

Why should I consider reflexology? 

Reflexology does ease Arthritis symptoms, at first it is good to come weekly for at least 4 weeks and then space out the treatments, working towards a maintenance treatment plan.

Reflexology is not intended to be used alone to treat medical conditions such as arthritis, but the addition of this type of therapy can greatly improve your painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Reflexology can make your arthritis more bearable in the following ways.

Pain Relief 

Your reflexologist will gently massage small, specific areas of your feet, sending signals of pain relief through your nerves to your afflicted joints. 

Toxin Release 

During your reflexology session, the gentle probing of key areas in your feet and hands allows your body to release toxins that are built up within you due to your arthritis condition. The release of these toxins gives you greater overall health and improved circulation, allowing your body to heal itself and reduce joint inflammation.

Stress Relief 

Not only does reflexology make you feel good, but the therapy does wonders in improving your body’s stress levels as well. High levels of pain in your body are uncomfortable and lead to physical and emotional stress. The reflexology procedure helps to reduce the stress hormones in your body, thus allowing your body to heal more naturally.

As a bonus, reflexology can also help you sleep more comfortably, which is essential to helping your body repair itself daily from your arthritis symptoms. Repeated reflexology treatments are required to see continued results. Drink plenty of water and other fluids in between sessions to release the toxins freed during your sessions from your body. 

Depending on the severity of your arthritis and where your pain is located, it may take a few treatments before you see a noticeable improvement in your pain and mobility. Before starting a reflexology treatment, speak to your doctor first. Reflexology is a wonderful alternative medicine to try in addition to physical therapy, massage, and any medications you take for your symptoms.

Originally published in the 4th Ndeipi Newsletter.

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