Reflexology for back pain might be effective because it can help produce deep relaxation and reduce stress. This alternative therapy might benefit patients with stress-induced back pain or those with back strain. Two studies show patients who used reflexology for back pain experienced relief after one or more sessions with trained reflexologists.
Reflexology is based on the premise of interconnected energy pathways throughout the human body. Nerve endings in the feet and hands might be related to internal organs and bodily functions. These channels might form crystals and become blocked, decreasing the amount of energy flow. Reflexology for back pain might clear these paths by increasing circulation.
According to foot reflexology charts, upper back pain might be eased by massaging pressure points on the topside of the left foot. Lower back pain might correspond to an area on the inside part of the left foot. A midpoint on the underside of both heels might also be linked to the back.
Reflexology for back pain might also release toxins as energy channels become unblocked. Practitioners of this form of holistic healing believe chemicals in the air, food, and personal hygiene products accumulate in the body and cause illness. The body releases these poisons through the lungs, in urine, and in fecal waste. If contaminants build up that the body cannot release naturally, pain or disease might occur.
The massaging technique using pressure points might allow organs to eliminate toxic substances. It might also stimulate the body’s immune system to fight off illness and pain. Reflexologists typically advise patients to drink plenty of water after treatment to flush out harmful chemicals.
In addition to reflexology for back pain, the practice might ease symptoms of arthritis, sinus infection, allergies, and digestive problems. Some patients say foot massage decreases headache pain and helps the body heal after surgery. The relaxation effects of reflexology typically bring about a sense of well-being, which might allow organs to function better.
One study conducted in Spain treated 91 patients with reflexology for back pain. Some participants reported back pain immediately decreased, eliminating the need for prescription pain medication. A second study, in China, used patients suffering from lower back pain caused by sprains. Five of 20 participants reported no pain after one session, while 10 others experienced reduced pain after several massage treatments.
A primitive form of reflexology has been used for centuries in China. The practice gained attention in the 20th century as doctors began studying different zones in the body and their relation to health. Practitioners later developed the theory that pressure applied to thousands of nerve endings in the feet and hands would enhance health by allowing energy to flow freely.