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Reflexology for Insomnia

Do you suffer from insomnia? Does a good night’s sleep seem like a far off dream? Since sleep restores your body, physically and mentally, getting a good night’s worth is a worthy pursuit.

If you’ve tried other things to no avail, it might be time to give reflexology a try.

Before we dive into how reflexology can help, make sure you are addressing the common sleep aids experts advise:

1. Reduce any stimulation at least an hour prior to bedtime, 2  to 3 hours is even better!  This includes bright lights, TV and screen-light of all kinds, loud and/or stimulating music and sounds, vigorous work-out routines, upsetting or overstimulating conversations, and even books, magazine articles, and any story that you may want to keep replaying or try to resolve instead of drifting off into dreamland.

2. Avoid or reduce any chemical stimulates. Yes, this includes caffeine! Avoid them all together if you are having major insomnia issues. Stop taking caffeine midday if you only have minor issues.

3. Prime your sleep room – cool, quiet and dark.

Cool means a cool but comfortable temperature for you. However, sometimes I’ve found that a nice foot warmer helps me sleep when the room is comfortably cool.

Quiet can, and for finicky sleepers usually does, mean white noise. White noise helps to mask those sounds that can wake you or keep you up.

Dark means as dark as you can comfortably get your room. Turn off your cell phone, or turn it over (and put it on mute).  If you use your cell phone as your alarm clock, there are apps that allow you to color your display to a deep red or orange (which don’t interfere with melatonin like blue light does). (Smart Alarm Clock and Nightstand Clock) by Purple Energy is one of them.) If light is coming through the windows, blinds, shades or curtains, invest in some better light-blocking window covers. For an expensive and quick fix, cardboard or even the water heater bubble foil wrap insulation cut to window’s size works. (Of course, you have to take it out in the morning.)

4. Stick to a regular bedtime and don’t nap during the day.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, it’s time to look at how reflexology can help!  My recommendation is to be ready to go to sleep (teeth brushed, bathroom duties done, doors locked, PJs on, you’re in or near bedroom with the lights dimmed). Ah. All set!

Now It’s Reflexology Time for Better Sleep

For this mini-self session, we’ll be sticking to foot and ear reflexology. You’ll want to have a foot roller, golf ball, or high bounce rubber ball.

Start by standing near a wall (or something sturdy to hold on to like a chair or dresser) and step on the roller or ball. Put enough weight on it to feel a deep massage, but not so much that you are wincing in pain. Move the roller or ball up and down the bottom of your foot, from heel to the pad. Do this for several minutes on each foot. You can also do this sitting down on the edge of your bed (if your bed isn’t super tall) or in a chair by leaning your body forward  and downward into the ball or roller. This will work all the reflexology points for the major internal organs.

GoodNurture_Plantar-Foot_Reflexology_Chart

 

 

For the rest of the foot reflexology work, you’ll want to sit down.  Now you’ll work the shoulders, neck and head reflex points. Lift one foot over the opposite thigh of the leg still touching the ground.

Lightly squeeze the webs between your toes, working the shoulders, ears, eyes, lower neck and lymph reflex points. Next take your index finger and thumb and pinch and squeeze the little toe from the base up to the top of the toe – do it from front to back as well as the sides of the toe. Then continue doing this for the next 3 toes. You may need to switch hands when doing the sides and the front & back to whatever works best.

Once you get to the big toe, it is easier to work it with just a thumb walk. This means pushing your thumb into the base of the toe and inch-worm walking it up to the top of the toe, using a supported finger on the other side of the toe. Try to get all the areas on the bottom (plantar)  and top (dorsal) side, and the squeeze both sides from base to tip. This will work the head, face, jaw and brain reflex points.

Press and hold your thumb or finger into the middle of the top toe pad to get the pineal, pituitary and hypothalamus glands.

Now, it’s time to work the ear reflexology points for insomnia. You can do this either sitting down with your elbows propped up on a desk, table, your knees or a pile of pillows. Or you can lie down in bed with your elbows supported with pillows or rolled towels. The point is not to stress your neck, shoulder and arm muscles to hold your hands up to your ears.

Ear_Sleep
Ear Reflexology for Insomnia. Pink, violet and yellow points are primary points. Blue points are secondary points. Circles mean the surface you can see. The squares are hidden on the underside of that location. References are from Terry Oleson’s Auricular Therapy Manual.

Before you start you ear reflexology session, print or study the ear map above, so youll know where to work.

Begin by pinching the earlobes with your thumb and index finger. Alternatively, you can bend your index finger and squeeze your earlobe between the first joint of the index finger and thumb. Continue doing this to cover the entire earlobe (head and brain reflex points) then move up along the edge of the entire ear until it meets your head on the top of the ear. You may have to change your finger positions as you go. Do this squeezing and release from earlobe to top of ear at least three times.

Now with the Ear Reflexology Map for Insomnia map in hand (or by memory) pinch and hold, press and hold, or massage  (depending on the location) each of these points for at least a minute or two or even longer if you can. Make sure you don’t strain your neck, shoulders or arms.

When you are finished. Squeeze, pull and press your finger around your entire ear, giving it a little mini massage, breathing slowly and deeply.

Lower your hands and rest. Try not doing much activity between doing this and slipping under the covers to rest and fall asleep. Continue to breath slowly and deeply, feeling the warmth in your ears as it spreads to your head and neck.

Wishing you sweet dreams!

 

 

 

 

Standing on Mirrors – Reflexology Maps to the Body

According to ancient and modern teachings, the human body is found to be completely reflected, as “reflex” points and regions, on the feet, hands and ears. These areas house a reflection of your health, being mirrors to the entire body, and serve to help adjust the body’s natural processes to regain and maintain an equilibrium.Whether you are young or old, in good health or weathering the effects of stress, trauma, or disease, reflexology can be beneficial.

Check out the mirrors you’ve been standing on your whole life…

GoodNurture_Foot_Reflexology_Chart