What is Auricular Therapy and How Can it Benefit You?
Do you have questions about auricular therapy? Learn all about it here! This article will break down what auricular therapy is and how it can benefit you. In the U.S. alone, around 100 million people live with chronic pain. Much of that number stems from an aging population of people who are more likely to suffer from conditions that create chronic pain. One of the standard pain management approaches is to prescribe opioids, such as codeine. With the risks of prescription drug addiction becoming better known, some people are seeking out alternatives for pain management. One of those alternatives is auricular therapy, also known as auricular acupuncture.
If you haven't heard of it before, don't worry. We'll walk you through where it comes from, what it is, and what it can do for you. Let's jump in!
Where Did Auricular Therapy Come From?
In its modern form, a French neurologist named Paul Nogieris credited with creating auricular acupuncture. Nogier conducted experiments in which he manipulated portions of the outer ear to see if it reduced pain in other parts of the body. He published his findings in 1957.
Nogier created what is probably the first system of ear acupuncture, but not the idea of manipulating the ear for medical results. Records show that it dates back as far as ancient Egypt. A version of auricular therapy also exists in traditional Chinese medicine. While rooted in Nogier's research, it's been adapted to the traditional Chinese medical model. It should be thought of as a related, but separate, approach.
What is This Therapy?
Nogier put forward the inverted fetus theory. This theory, in essence, claims that the ear resembles an upside-down fetus.
So, say you're experiencing knee pain. The person treating you looks at a diagram of a fetus that's upside down and sees where the knee is located. Then he would locate where that spot is on your ear. Once he finds the spot on your ear, the manipulation of that specific spot on your ear should reduce the pain in your knee. Of course, modern practitioners have more sophisticated charts that diagram what parts of the ear relate to the other parts of the body.
As with many forms of alternative medicine, auricular therapy hasn't received the same level of research normally seen in Western medicine. Even so, there is evidence that it can help patients with a wide range of problems. Migraines are an especially intense and often debilitating form of a headache. In addition to the pain, migraines increase sensitivity to light and sound. They may also create feelings of nausea.
One study showed that finding the right spot on the ear can reduce migraine pain almost immediately. Receiving ear acupuncture regularly also appears to reduce the number and intensity of migraines.
Post-Surgical Pain...Surgery is an invaluable, lifesaving tool in medicine, but cutting into the body is traumatic for the tissue.
The primary differences between surgery and the other ways you might be cut are that it's more controlled and sterile. For the body, though, trauma is just trauma. Having surgery means that you pay a price in pain. The older you get, the more likely and more often you are to need surgery of some kind. The main treatment option for post-surgical pain is drugs, but those can have side-effects ranging from dizziness to vomiting. Vomiting is a real problem because it can put serious stress on the stitches holding incisions together.
One study that grouped results from a number of other studies showed that auricular and other approaches help to reduce pain. It also allows patients to receive smaller doses of drugs, which helps reduce the medication side-effects.
The heart is affected by lifestyle choices ranging from sleep to stress and diet. Too little sleep or too much work kicks off the stress cycle, which amps up the nervous system. The extra adrenaline in your system makes your heart work harder and pushes up your blood pressure. Stress also contributes to insomnia. The hormones that end the stress cycle contribute to weight gain if the stress is chronic. The extra weight stresses your heart. Poor diet, which is a frequent companion to stress and poor sleep, compounds the problem. Too much fat and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables pack on the pounds and clog the arteries. Auricular therapy can help your heart by helping you manage all of these related problems. Auricular therapy can help you lower your stress level and blood pressure.
It appears to be an effective method for improving sleep overall and treating insomnia. It's even thought to help reduce appetite, which can help you avoid gaining weight. Constipation Relief
Constipation is a very common problem among the elderly. Some of it can be caused by diseases, but it can also be caused by opioids and even over the counter antacids. Assuming there isn't a serious disease at work, auricular therapy can help to relieve constipation. While occasional constipation isn't life-threatening, chronic constipation can lead to significant pain or a more dangerous bowel obstruction. Abdominal pain can also indicate any number of conditions that required medical attention. Those conditions range from cancer to an inflamed appendix or problems with your pancreas or gallbladder. Since abdominal pain can indicate so many problems, some of them lethal if left untreated. So, always consult your doctor about them first. Only seek ear acupuncture after your doctor confirms the problem is actually constipation.
Auricular therapy in its present form is a relatively recent addition to Western medicine. As such, it stands to benefit from additional research to confirm its many apparent benefits. Even so, it still shows substantial promise for relieving everyday pains, like constipation and migraines, and improving overall health through stress relief. For the aging population, its potential to reduce post-surgical pain and medication dosages should come as welcome news.
Reflexology Santa Monica offers Auricular therapy, as well as reflexology and aromatherapy for individuals and corporate offices. If you'd like to know more about my services or to schedule an appointment, contact me today.
More Than Massage: the Science of Foot Reflexology
Massage relaxes muscles and relieves tension. Foot reflexology goes much deeper by stimulating the nervous system. Learn the science behind this CAM here. Today's fast-paced world is taking its toll on all of us. Levels of stress, pain, and chronic illness are higher than ever before. While modern medicine has its rightful place, many people are turning to natural, alternative modalities for relief from pain and stress. One such therapy is foot reflexology.
You've probably heard of it, but you're not exactly sure what it is or how it works. Is it just another health fad, or is there scientific evidence to back it up? In this post, we'll dig into the science of foot reflexology so you can make an informed decision.
Foot Reflexology vs. Foot Massage
Before we define what foot reflexology is, let's first define what it's not. Many spas and massage clinics offer "reflexology" on their treatment menu. This leads a lot of people to believe that reflexology is little more than a relaxing foot massage. This couldn't be farther from the truth! While foot massages feel nice and are very relaxing, foot reflexology goes much deeper. The American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) defines reflexology as specific manual techniques applied to certain reflex areas. The goal is to stimulate neural pathways that link our body's systems so they can achieve optimal function. Therefore, true reflexology is not the same as a massage. It's more than something that just feels "nice" or "relaxing." While massage focuses on muscles and soft tissue, reflexology addresses the body's central nervous system and vital organs. It involves pressing on specific areas of the feet, hands, or ears for specific purposes. Most massage therapists receive little, if any, training in reflexology. On the other hand, certified reflexologists spend hundreds of hours learning how to stimulate and bring balance back to the nervous system.
Research Studies Now that we've defined reflexology, let's see what science has to say about it. Consider the findings from five different research studies:
In a 1992 study in Australia, 87 cancer patients received 10-minute sessions of foot reflexology.
The patients reported an almost immediate relief of nausea, pain, and anxiety. These positive results prompted further research into the effects of reflexology on cancer patients.
In a 2012 study Women with advanced stage breast cancer found in a longitudinal comparison revealed significant improvements in physical functioning for the reflexology group compared to the control group
In 1993, a US study examined the effects reflexology had on PMS symptoms in women.
The participants reported a 46% overall reduction in their symptoms. The most noticeable improvements were relief from headaches, constipation, and feelings of irritation and sadness.
One study in Denmark in 1996 sought a link between reflexology, employee wellness, and job satisfaction. 143 participants received foot reflexology treatments over a 7-month period.
79% reported complete or partial relief from migraines, stress, and muscular tension. 92% expressed a desire to continue their treatments.
This 2013 UK study examined the correlation between reflexology, pain relief, and pain tolerance.
Participants from two groups were asked to submerge their hands in ice water. Those who received reflexology prior to the study felt 40% less pain and could withstand it for 45% longer than the placebo group.
This 2015 US study examined The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Anxiety, Pain, and Outcomes of the Labor in Primigravida Women.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
A 2003 study in Israel evaluated the effects of reflexology on the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
71 MS patients underwent reflexology treatments for 11 weeks. Researchers noted "significant improvement" in the patients' motor, sensory, and urinary symptoms.
How Does Reflexology Work?
Clearly, there's scientific evidence to support the benefits of reflexology. But how does reflexology actually work? No one can say for sure, but four main theories have developed. Let's briefly consider each one.
1. Central Nervous System (CNS) Adaptation Theory
Research on this theory began in the UK in the 1890s. Researchers proved the existence of a neurological "link" between the skin and the internal organs. They also showed that the entire nervous system responds to external stimulus. When a reflexologist applies pressure, it sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves to the central nervous system. This signals the body to "adjust" its tension level. The result is deep relaxation and optimum functioning of the internal organs.
2. Gate Control (Neuromatrix) Theory
This theory assumes that pain is sometimes an experience created subjectively by our brains. The idea is that the brain can create feelings of pain in response to emotional or other factors.
In this scenario, things that influence the brain can also affect the way you experience pain. The theory suggests that pain relief from reflexology occurs because reflexology lowers stress and improves mood.
3. Zone Theory
This theory divides the body into 10 vertical zones. Each zone ends in the fingers and toes and goes all the way to the top of the head. Reflexology theory holds that every organ or muscle in a zone can be accessed through a point on the feet, hands, or ear. These "pathways" between the pressure points and other areas of the body are connected through the central nervous system. Although similar in concept, these zones are not the same as the meridians found in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
4. Vital Energy Theory
Drawing from the ancient idea of yin and yang, this theory suggests that stress impedes the flow of our body's "vital energy." When this stress is not relieved, it can lead to areas of congested energy. Over time, this can cause imbalances and illness within the body. This theory states that reflexology keeps the vital energy flowing freely throughout our body.
Benefits of Foot Reflexology
Scientific studies and theories are great, but let's apply all this information to you personally.
What are some specific health issues that foot reflexology can help you with?
*Acute and chronic pain relief
*Improved nervous function
*Reduced depression and anxiety
*Lower stress levels
*Improved quality of sleep
*Eases symptoms of PMS and menopause
*Lowers blood pressure
*Eases side effects of cancer treatments
These are just a few of the many benefits you can experience through reflexology sessions. Try It Yourself...now that you understand the science behind reflexology, are you ready to experience it for yourself? Whether you're dealing with high stress, chronic pain, or other health problems, there's a reflexology service that's perfect for you.
Oct 31, 2017
8 Ways Reflexology Treatment Can Help With Stress
Are you overrun by stress? Reflexology treatment can help. Did you know long-term stress can wreak havoc on your health? Whether physically, emotionally, psychologically or socially, chronic stress can wear on your body and mind until they finally collapse under the pressure. This is when illness sets in. This is all the more reason to prioritize decreasing stress in your life. Every person is affected by some level of stress. And some stress is good and some bad. Let's take a look at 8 ways reflexology treatment can help decrease your stress. And how you can tell the difference between good stress and bad.
What is the Difference Between Good Stress and Bad Stress?
According to Webster's dictionary, stress is defined as: A physical, emotional or chemical element that brings about mental or bodily tension and might be a contributor to disease formation
Pressure or strain on the mind or body Excessive effort or exertion A condition arising from stress, particularly one of mental or bodily tension due to factors affecting a person's regular equilibrium
Helpful stress is when your mind alerts your body that there is danger or immediate action needed in your environment. This could range from deadlines at work to being chased by a lion to a car rolling on top of a person's leg. All three of these scenarios require immediate attention. Good stress allows you to step up and address the situation at hand. This occurs through the fight, flight or freeze response inherent in all human beings. The Fight, Flight or Freeze Response,this biological response causes one, two or all of several possible things to happen to you physically, including:
Increased heart rate Narrowed vision
Pupil dilation Rush of adrenaline
Halting of digestive functioning Tense, alert muscles
Peak hearing ability Temporary paralysis or being "frozen on the spot"
These physical responses are preparing you to either fight or flee to protect your life or freeze so you won't be noticed and therefore remain safe. When the fight, flight or freeze response is activated repeatedly for months or years in a person's life, the harmful type of stress comes in.
Harmful stress is the result of acute or chronic stress that begins to affect a person's functioning. Bad stress is caused by the physical or mental response to a non-threatening situation. But your body registers it as a threat.
Trauma and Harmful Stress-unresolved trauma is often the culprit in this type of stress. Harmful stress may occur in the following situations:
Your boss berates you weekly for getting your documentation in late. And your heart races, your skin sweats and you feel an overwhelming urge to hide in response.
You and your spouse have frequent daily arguments. And your pulse quickens, anger courses through your body and you want to scream.
Your child just hit her rebellious and wild teen years. She's constantly sneaking out at night and you suspect substance use. And you yell and threaten her with grounding, leading to recurring headaches almost daily. Bad stress wears down your body's natural ability to heal itself. And it floods your body with the stress hormone cortisol. This is when reflexology may be able to help.
What is Reflexology Treatment?
While many believe Reflexology t originated with the ancient Chinese, this is not exactly correct. The history of reflexology as an art of stress reduction based on the theory that the body is reflected on the feet in the shape of the body is the work of two American physicians, Dr. William FitzGerald and Dr. Joe Shelby Riley in the 1920s. It's based on the belief that stimulation of certain areas of the body can impact the body's energy system and prompt healing. Reflexology uses reflexes in specific locations on the body. For instance, a point on the foot, hand or ear may relieve the tension of a particular organ or another body part. The practitioner uses unique tiny movement methods with their fingers or thumbs. They may walk their digits up and down a specific area of the feet or hands or pinch certain spots on your ear. Reflexology treatment is about working from the inside out. This approach works on the nervous system to alleviate stress, allowing for restoration and rejuvenation.
How Can Reflexology Treatment Help With My Stress?
Reflexology does not treat disease. But it can help strengthen your body's defenses when it comes to stress and alleviate the symptoms.
1. Increased Circulation and Clearing of Toxins from the Blood Stream
Stress causes toxins to build up in your system affecting your mood, overall feelings of wellness and energy levels.
Reflexology works to enhance the circulatory system. This, in turn, pushes out toxins that have accumulated in your bloodstream.
When you listen to your body through its low energy level or feelings of blah-ness, you know your stress levels have reached dangerous levels.
2. Relaxation Response and Higher Energy Levels
Reflexology induces the relaxation response. This helps a person's body to release stress and return to a calm state.
Perhaps paradoxically, when your body is able to relax, it's able to have higher energy levels to use at other times throughout the day.
3. Sinus Problems
Regular reflexology treatment has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of colds, sinus infections or flu brought on by stress, including:
Sore throat Laryngitis/loss of voice
Tonsillitis A cough or wheezing
4. Nervous System Stimulation and Reduction of Mental Tensions
Mental tensions become physical tensions that eventually lead to lethargy and illness.
Reflexology stimulates and calms the central nervous system. And this functions to release tension held in the mind and body.
5. Restoring Healthy Organ Functioning
When we're stressed, we hold our breath and trap fear in our bodies. Our lungs and kidneys are typically the first affected.
Reflexology can help address energy blockages in these organs due to stress. And it can support them in returning to a state of health.
6. Stimulating the Brain and Adrenal, Pituitary and Pineal Glands
In addition to the lungs and kidneys, our brains also get quite the strain during stressful times.
Reflexology acts on the brain and glands of the body to calm and restore adequate and alert functioning.
7. Alleviating Migraines and Headaches
Reflexology is known to help with headaches and migraines.
Headaches are caused when our bodies tighten during stress, blocking blood flow. When the body relaxes a little, this blocked blood rushes through our system, causing a throbbing headache.
Migraines can be more debilitating and last for days. Reflexology can trigger points that bring relief to migraine sufferers.
8. Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues
When we're under stress, our sleep schedules aren't the healthiest. We may sleep only a few hours at night or not at all.
Reflexology, especially when coupled with aromatherapy, can help alleviate these symptoms of chronic stress. This allows you a more restful night's sleep. For the Best in Reflexology Treatment Your health is important to you. It can be tempting to work those extra 6 hours every week and take on additional work for extra pay. But it's not worth it in the long run.
If you're ready to give your body the nurturing and relaxation it deserves, check us out today.
As a Reflexologists and Aromatherapist I do not diagnose medical disorders, treat medical conditions, nor prescribe or adjust medications. Aromatherapy and Reflexology are not medically certified. They are considered a complementary or alternative healing arts service that is not licensed by the state. I am not a licensed physician.
Call or text for an appointment 1.323.428.8946