Reflexology and the Endocrine System
Our endocrine system plays a pivotal role in our body being in a state of balance. And a body in balance is key for encouraging, maintaining and sustaining good health.
Imbalances in the endocrine system can result in a variety of conditions. As a reflexologist I hear things like: “I can’t sleep more than a couple hours a night so I have to drink lots of coffee to get through my day”, or “I get horrible night sweats, nothing seems to help”, or “It takes weeks for me to heal from an injury”, “I just can’t conceive, I’ve tried everything”, “I have osteoporosis”, “hyperthyroidism”, “diabetes, it runs in my family so now I have it”. As a reflexologist, I’m not looking to chase symptoms. I want to be with where the body is, access the core of the issue, syndrome, or disease, and through the nervous system and the reflexes in the feet, hands, and ears, bring the body back to a state of homeostasis (or balance) so it can heal itself.
We have long since forgotten that the cure is within, and while it may feel like there isn’t anything we can do or we’ve tried everything, slowly unravel those Christmas tree lights; slowly ascend that insurmountable mountain, patiently calm that mob, nothing is impossible.
So, what is the endocrine system and how does it function? The endocrine system from top to bottom is composed of the hypothalamus, pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroids, thymus, adrenal glands, pancreas, and ovaries/testes. According to the Merck Manual it is described like this: “The main function of endocrine glands is to secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body (target site). In essence, hormones serve as messengers, controlling and coordinating activities throughout the body. Upon reaching a target site, a hormone binds to a receptor, much like a key fits into a lock. Once the hormone locks into its receptor, it transmits a message that causes the target site to take a specific action. Hormone receptors may be within the nucleus or on the surface of the cell. Ultimately, hormones control the function of entire organs, affecting such diverse processes as growth and development, reproduction, and sexual characteristics. Hormones also influence the way the body uses and stores energy and control the volume of fluid and the levels of salts and sugar (glucose) in the blood. Very small amounts of hormones can trigger very large responses in the body…”
What does this mean for us? Well, since these subtle communications are happening within our bodies we can do things “out here” to affect “in there”. So, yes, all the things we’ve heard before: eat healthy fats, eliminate foods that are harmful to the flora in your gut, exercise regularly, cut this, get rid of that, be better, stronger, do more, do it all…! It’s overwhelming. What can we REALLY do?
In this busy life, with all the stresses that come with living, I feel the best we can do is start with one thing, then two, then pause, then maybe just stay at two for a while, then maybe three. If we’re talking about balance we must approach our out of balance body in a very gentle in balance way. This way, we will absorb and assimilate the change and be able to sustain it.
In a reflexology session we address every part of the body through the reflexes in your feet, hands, and ears. Reflexology is a non-invasive way to access our inner body so it’s perfect for those who have concerns related to bones, systems, glands or organs. For someone having difficulty with conception or sleeping or other areas that are related to a healthy endocrine system I would detail these areas and add balancing techniques, like endocrine system sweeps and holds. We notice where there is tension and stay with those areas more, much like a massage therapist might spend more time working on your shoulders and lower back, a reflexologist would notice tension in the adrenal glands, say, or pancreas, or sinus area, etc. and spend more time there.
People often ask how often they should get reflexology? I say, it’s different for everyone. Having a reflexology session is like a reset button, depending where you are in your health and your stress level, one session can often be enough to sustain someone for quite a while. When I was living in New York, I received reflexology 1-2 times a week. My lifestyle and work schedule required this sort of care. But for others, one session a week is good, for others once a month, and others still once a season. The point is you choose what’s best for you. My goal then is not just to give a relaxing and thorough session but also to teach you a few things to take away for yourself, your loved ones, your family. This way, we’re helping each other; we’re bringing balance in the very act of this exchange. We become nurtured by each other, rather than dependent. Listened to, rather than fixed. We heal each other and in so doing, we heal ourselves.