Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Reflexology: A Complementary Therapy for Diabetes

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 30.3 million people (roughly 9.4% of the US population) have diabetes. While lifestyle choices can lead to diabetes, another major contributor is stress. Given that diabetes can affect almost all the organ systems, it is imperative to optimize the functioning of all the organ systems holistically together with stress management. Integrating conventional therapies with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming an increasingly accepted way to control and reduce the effects of diabetes. Reflexology, a non-invasive and non-pharmacological complementary therapy, has emerged as a popular choice. But how effective is reflexology in establishing homeostasis in organ function and healthy blood sugar levels? The following is a summary of a research study conducted to answer this question.

The Research: For a 2014 study in Delhi, India, fifty-eight people with confirmed diabetes diagnoses were chosen to participate in a study to evaluate the therapeutic effect of reflexology. Participants were allocated to one of two groups. Participants in the reflexology group received both reflexology therapy and conventional therapy, while participants in the control group received conventional therapy alone.
Caregivers in the study used a consistent step-by-step reflexology procedure that stimulated the following reflex areas:
  • ·         Energy balance
  • ·         Lymphatic system
  • ·         Solar plexus
  • ·         Adrenal  glands
  • ·         Spine
  • ·         Urinary system
  • ·         Digestive system
  • ·         Brain
  • ·         Other endocrine glands
  • ·         Sciatic nerve
  • ·         Knees
  • ·         Hip

Participants in the reflexology group received 30-minute reflexology sessions twice a day for a six month period. Both groups received conventional pharmacological treatment during the course of the study.

To evaluate the effectiveness of the reflexology sessions, the study measured neuropathic pain, levels of HbA1c and blood glucose, and quality of life for each participant.
The results of the study were statistically significant.
·        Neuropathic pain: Using a scale of 1 – 10 to describe their pain intensity, participants in the reflexology group reported that their pain was reduced from an average of 7.8 at the beginning of the study to an average of 3.0 at the end of the study. Participants in the control group reported no significant reduction in pain from the beginning to the end of the study.
·         HbA1c: Reflexology group participants saw a 34% improvement, while participants in the control group only saw an 8.5% improvement.
·         Fasting blood glucose: Reflexology group participants saw a 31.6% improvement, while participants in the control group only saw a 14.8% improvement.
·        Quality of life: There was 21.3% more improvement in the reflexology group than that of the control group.
Based on the results of this study, reflexology is an effective complement to conventional medicines in managing diabetes and improves the quality of life of its sufferers.
If you would like to read this study in its entirety, here is the link:

Reflexology Session: Now that we have established that reflexology can be beneficial for diabetes sufferers, what can a client expect during a reflexology session focusing on diabetes at Sole Encounters Reflexology?  
Condition management is the goal. A client with diabetes seeks reflexology to work the reflexes and to improve blood and nerve supply. While doctor supervision and medications help manage the diabetes and neuropathy, regular reflexology sessions may assist with improving circulation, innervation, lymphatic flow, and flexibility.
First and foremost, the aim of every reflexology session is to induce a state of deep relaxation in the client. Each Sole Encounters Reflexology session begins with immersing the feet in a warm Epsom salt bath. While your feet are relaxing in the warm bath, your hands will receive a soothing massage.  During the massage, we will uncover any therapeutic goals you may have for your reflexology session.
When your feet have been relaxed, they will be wrapped in a soft cotton towel.  The zero-gravity chair, soft candle light, climate controlled spa, soothing essential oils diffused in the air, and meditation music of your choice will further enhance the transcendental experience and promote relaxation.
After greeting your feet, you will be gifted with a series of foot relaxation techniques that will  promote healthy blood flow. This will help maximize the effects of reflexology. Each of your feet will receive the same attention and care.  For those persons with Diabetes Mellitus, the reflexology session will focus on stimulating the central nervous system, pancreas, liver, and kidney reflexes. Although extra attention is given to these reflexes, the entire foot is worked to promote stress reduction. After stimulation, the feet are wrapped in a warm towel.  Nearing the last phase of the session, a final series of relaxation techniques are performed to leave your feet in a calm state.

Essential Oils: Each reflexology session culminates with the anointing of essential oils chosen to meet the needs of your therapeutic goals.  For those visitors with diabetes, dill and coriander essential oils may offer benefits.
Dill has been used as a medicinal herb for at least 2000 years, with some sources saying it uses date back 5000 years.  The Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical papyrus of herbal knowledge dating to circa 1550 BC., mentions dill. Gladiators rubbed dill fronds on their skin to benefit from its calming effect and its ability to prevent excessive sweating due to nervousness. And, the Bible mentions dill as an herb that was tithed.
Dill has been claimed to offer relief for a host of health challenges, including diabetes, and may offer the following benefits:
  • ·         Lower glucose levels
  • ·         Normalize insulin levels
  • ·         Support pancreas functioning

Coriander, as does dill, has a long history of being noted for its medicinal qualities. Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek physician, recommended the use of coriander as a medicine. Coriander seeds have also been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. With respect to diabetes, research at Cairo University indicates that coriander lowers glucose levels by normalizing insulin levels and supporting pancreas function.
Both of these oils can be beneficial if diffused or applied to Vita Flex Points.

For use between sessions, I can create a custom blend of essential oils specifically designed to your theraputic goals for you to use at home. Applying these custom blended oils to the soles of your feet (the best absorption place) at bedtime may provide added benefits in managing diabetes. Bedtime application will provide topical and aromatic benefits of your custom blended oils.

If you live in the metropolitan Detroit area, and are interested in trying reflexology as a means of managing your diabetes, visit my website at https://SoleEncountersReflexology.com to book your appointment or call the office at (248) 792- 8210.

Let your feet put you on a path to wellness.

Michele Bierzynski
Certified Reflexologist