The human body is a fantastic machine. It is filled with thousands of nerves, coursing through the body and sending signals to the brain. The brain interprets the signals as pain or something else. Did you know there are certain spots on your body that are painful if pressed but can help relieve conditions and ailments throughout the body? These are called pressure points, and quite a few of them are on the feet. What follows are some facts about foot pressure points you should know.
The practice of applying pressure to specific areas on the feet to effectuate relief of seemingly unrelated afflictions isn’t new. Reflexology has been around for centuries and originated in Chinese culture. Also known as “zone therapy,” reflexology involves applying pressure to specific points in the hands and feet. Reflexology divides the body into zones, and each part of the hand and foot connect to the health of individual systems.
Purpose of Reflexology
In Chinese medicine, the purpose of reflexology is to clear blockages of natural body energy, or qi. If qi is not able to freely flow through the body, specific systems can break down and stop functioning as they should. Blood vessels can become blocked and cause pain, or organs can stop working correctly and the body can begin to get sick. If qi can flow freely again, balance can be restored. Some people believe that the natural energy that flows through your body is so strong that the body can heal itself without any intervention from medicine or invasive surgical procedures. While this can’t be true for every illness, there are some who believe it may be true for several ailments.
Acupuncture for Back Pain and other Skeletal Ailments
Acupuncture is another variation of reflexology in which small needles are inserted into pressure points. These needles are then sometimes lit on fire to promote the release of certain natural chemicals into the body. Many believe acupuncture also brings forth the flow of qi to help heal ailments. While it sounds painful, acupuncture is a very painless and natural way to try to help the body heal itself. Some chiropractors incorporate the practice of acupuncture into their treatment of back pain and other skeletal ailments. There has been some credence given to the practice by the medical community. Both reflexology and acupuncture originated in Chinese medicine. Both are in practice in different variations in modern society.
Foot Pressure Points
There are over 15,000 nerves in each foot. That is one reason why reflexology concentrates on the points in the feet: There are a ton of nerves and pressure points! Whether you feel anxiety and stress or want to help ease back pain, there is a part of your foot that can help. The best part about triggering foot pressure points is you don’t need to pay a lot of money to an expert; you can administer the treatment yourself. While someone else engaging the foot pressure points is preferred due to their professional expertise, if you’re in a bind and can’t find someone, you can take the matter into your own hands. Here are five ways pressure point areas on the foot can help you.
1. Mood Booster
If you have ever needed help controlling your moods, there are a couple of areas of the foot that may offer some assistance. The notion that rubbing your foot can suddenly brighten your mood may seem silly, but there is little to no harm in giving it a try. Below is one such exercise that you can perform any time you need a mood boost:
- Locate the bone on the outside of your ankle (the round, knob-like bone).
- Just below that bone is a tender spot between the bone and the side of your heel.
- Using your thumb and index finger, apply pressure to the area. It will cause some discomfort.
- Rub the area for a few minutes, alternating the amount of pressure.
No doubt you’ve experienced some measure of anxiety at some point. If you’re lucky, it only occasionally occurs under stressful circumstances such as travel or testing. For many people, anxiety is a daily struggle that can be debilitating at times. If you suffer from situational or even chronic anxiety, engaging foot pressure points may ease your symptoms. Below is a simple massage you can try.
- Find the indent under the ball of your foot. Sometimes curling your toes helps locate it.
- Push your thumb into the indent. You will likely feel pain and some measure of discomfort.
- Place pressure on the top of your foot with your other hand, usually accomplished by holding the top of your foot.
- Massage the indent slowly, in a circular motion, applying moderate to light pressure (intermittent pressure works well).
- Every several seconds or so, push down on the spot with your thumb and hold it for a minute.
- Continue this massaging/pressing alternation for several minutes.
3. Back Pain
Millions of people suffer from chronic back pain. Relief can sometimes be short-lived, and medications often have side effects that may include, making it virtually impossible to work or function. Foot pressure points may offer relief and assistance, with no side effects, in the fight against chronic back pain.
The arch of your foot contains points that, when stimulated, can help ease back pain. A great way to engage these points is by running your thumb up and down your arch, applying light to moderate pressure. If you are able to, place one foot across the opposite knee. This will free up both hands to use. Much like other pressure point exercises, alternate pressure throughout the session.
4. Overall Pain Relief
Sometimes there are reasons for overall body soreness. Maybe you pushed yourself during a walk or fun activity. Even if you don’t usually get sore, any increase in the duration or intensity of an activity may be enough to leave you feeling stiff and sore all over. Perhaps you don’t know the reason behind the discomfort, or it’s caused by an underlying condition such as fibromyalgia or arthritis. There is a massage you can give your foot that helps your aching body. Called myofascial release, it targets the tissue that covers your musculoskeletal and organ systems. It is genuinely a total-body release.
Relieve Pain and Discomfort
The thought is that since this tissue is interconnected, attending to the soreness by targeting one spot (in this case, the foot) can help relieve the tissue pain as a whole. Following the below steps may help relieve pain and discomfort throughout the body:
- First, you’ll need a golf, tennis, or lacrosse ball. It should be relatively smooth and rigid.
- Next, while sitting in a chair, place your foot on top of the ball. Roll the ball under your foot. When you feel a pressure point or tender spot, localize the ball and push down for several minutes (up to five).
- Finally, resume rolling the ball under the foot. You may repeat the process a few times with different foot pressure points or continue engaging the same one.
5. Stress Reduction
There’s that word again: stress. It seems to be more and more prevalent these days. You would think that technology has helped ease the stress older generations had. While technological advances may have reduced physically laborious jobs and made many things simpler, as a whole, people are more stressed now than they were in any other period in history. Demands of jobs, family, and society are causing more and more people to live in a constant state of anxiousness and worry. There is a rise in stress-induced heart attacks and strokes. People, it seems, are making themselves physically sick with worry.
Exercises That Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
There are a few activities you can do to help control stress. Yoga, meditation, and light to moderate exercise all have been proven to reduce blood pressure and release stress-fighting chemicals in the brain. Another tool in your arsenal can be the use of foot pressure point therapy. You may find the secret to lowering your stress in the tender spot between your big toe and second toe. Pressing down on this area will cause discomfort, but after applying pressure for a few minutes, you will feel a softening of the spot. Release the pressure and gently massage the area right under your toes. Then, return your attention to the pressure point between the toes. You can combine this activity with a meditation that involves pushing stress out of the body.
Pressure Points Therapy
All in all, foot pressure points therapy provides many benefits to your overall health. It gives you time to concentrate on one area of the body to aid in healing another. With so many nerves located in the foot, it is not outside the realm of possibility that your health can benefit from paying some extra attention to your feet. Your feet are important to your body. Why not show them the care and attention they deserve? The benefits may be more than you had ever imagined.