“About the Digestive System” – Reflexology Rules!

November 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Reflexology Tips

In Part 1 of this article, I talked about the digestive system along with its function and regulators. This is useful background information that will help you see the bigger picture and as a reflexologist, allow for informed choices on the selection of reflexes you might detail.

Keeping Digestion on Track

The kinds and amounts of food a person eats and how the digestive system processes that food play key roles in maintaining good health.

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to prevent common digestive problems. Having said that…

What can reflexology do?

You can see from the information in last week’s article that the digestive system is a vital and complex system that involves the whole body – digestive organs, nervous and endocrine systems.

Now we know where the digestive system is and how it functions in the body – let’s review the location of the reflexes on the feet.

Bilaterally, the digestive system reflexes occupy the area on the plantar surface of the feet, between our reflex landmarks of the diaphragm line and the pelvic line (exceptions are the esophagus and sigmoid colon reflexes).

If you follow the bones – the digestive system reflexes are superficial to the shafts and bases of the metatarsals and all of the bones of the mid-foot (the 3 cuneiforms, navicular and cuboid bones).

And, just as these organs are located on the left or right sides of the body, the reflexes will be found on the corresponding left or right foot. As above, so below.

I’m always on the lookout for changes in tissue texture in the soft arch of the foot. I call it the soft “belly of the foot” because that’s where the “belly” or digestive reflexes are mostly located.

The mere size of the digestive system reflexes on the feet, proportionately give feet a winning edge for addressing the digestive system over the hands, face or ear reflexes.

But, even though the feet have the space advantage, the other reflexology areas (hand, face and ears) are better for other reasons – like a deeper relaxation response – so don’t count them out.

If I’m not detailing a specific digestive organ reflex, I keep the techniques general.

Thumb-walking the 5 zones from the pelvic line to the diaphragm line essentially addresses the digestive system reflexes “en mass” (the sigmoid colon and rectum reflexes dip into the heel on the left foot).

Now, as a reflexologist it’s always a relief to me that we don’t treat, diagnose or prescribe.

But, as we know, everything in the body, all our systems and processes are affected by stress and not in a good way.

I know from the vast amount of research that’s out there now – reflexology can profoundly affect the parasympathetic nervous system and has the greatest potential to reduce stress.

It’s useful to “listen” very carefully to what the feet will tell you here. Any changes in tissue texture found on the arch will add the digestive system to my menu of reflex areas to detail in the session.

And, for self-help, the access we have to the “soft belly” or arch of the foot is such that it’s almost made to rest our hand and scoop into it.

Even a few minutes of general work can make a difference. But, when you detail the specific reflexes research proves that our effectiveness can increase threefold!

It’s apparent from last week’s article that both the endocrine system and the nervous system are featured prominently in our digestive processes and therefore those reflexes would be important too.

Key steps for your digestive health

It’s important to keep in mind that we are what we eat. Choosing the right food and eating in a calming environment is ideal.

These tips will help you maintain better digestive system health:

  • Choose high quality, fresh organic foods – raw foods have their own enzymes which are especially important when your body is healing and may be low on enzymes in general.
  • Chew your food thoroughly – Digestion of carbs like starch and sugar, begins when they are mixed with saliva and enzymes in your mouth. The role of the enzymes is twofold, to break down your food, and to also attack bacteria.
  • Don’t rush when you’re eating – take your time and sit down to eat. It sounds obvious, but a lot of people hurry their meals.
  • If you drink a beverage with your meal make sure it’s room temperature – If you drink ice cold liquid with your food, your body has to heat it first and that takes more time and energy away from the digestive process. Drinking enough water is always a good idea and it will aid all your body’s processes. But drinking it (or any beverage) cold with your meal will slow digestion down. Enough said.

There’s so much I’d like to share with you on this topic, so I’ll be adding more future newsletters.

I’ll be talking more specifically about each organ of the Digestive System individually in future Reflexology Newsletters and on my Blog www.ReflexologySuccess.com

As Charles T. Copeland once said:

“To eat is human, to digest divine.”

Enjoy your wonderful reflexology skills.

Wendy Coad – Online health and reflexology expert and the “Reflexology Professor” publishes the popular “Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques” weekly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. If you’re ready to enjoy health, express creativity, gain knowledge and skyrocket your reflexology or holistic health career, get your FREE tips now at http://www.ReflexologyProf.com and join us at the top right corner.

To your reflexology success –

Reflex, Live Long and Prosper,

Creator of the Mega Reflexology Training

“THE FOOT FACTOR PROGRAM”

“About the Digestive System” – Reflex what Ails You

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Reflexology Tips


This is a 2 part article on Reflexology and the Digestive System. Below is Part 1: “About the Digestive System”. The next article (and continuation) Part 2: “What Can Reflexology Do?” will follow Part 1.

Before I get into the reflexology (which helps to lessen the symptoms of digestive issues) I think it’s important to talk about the digestive system as a whole.

The Digestive System is represented by more organ reflexes on the feet than any other system. The best place to start our journey on this long and winding pathway is with the first step in the digestive process.

Believe it or not, your digestion system kicks in before you even put food into your mouth. Just a whiff of mom’s homemade cherry pie or even the thought of how delicious that salad is going to be – begins your digestive process with salivation – so your body is already preparing for that first scrumptious bite.

The food we consume is the fuel for our bodies, and its nutrients give our cells the energy and substances they need to operate. But before food can do that, it must be digested into small pieces the body can absorb and use.

About the Digestive System

Our digestive system is a wondrous series of organs and glands that processes food. In order to use the food we eat, our bodies have to break the food down into smaller molecules that it can be absorbed; it also has to excrete the waste.

For the most part, our digestive organs (i.e., the stomach and intestines) are tube-like and act as containers for the food as it makes its way through the body. From start to finish it’s much like a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with a few other organs attached along the way (i.e., the pancreas and liver).

The Digestive Process (Movement of Food through the System):

I’ll be talking more specifically about each organ of the Digestive System in future Reflexology Newsletters and on my Blog www.reflexologysuccess.com – but today I’m going to talk about the whole system, so let me briefly go through the organs involved: The digestive process begins in the mouth.

Food is partly broken down by 2 processes – the first is the mechanical action of chewing and the second is the chemical process involving the salivary enzymes whose function it is to break down starches. This explains why carbohydrates, like bread, become sweeter as we chew them.

Let’s start from the beginning: We first chew each tasty morsel which begins its mechanical and chemical digestion. Once swallowed, the food moves from the mouth down the esophagus.

The esophagus is the part of the digestive system that connects the mouth to the stomach. A movement called peristalsis creates a wave-like flow that carries the food down the throat. This one-way movement allows for unexpected bends and twists the body might take and lets us eat and drink even if we’re upside-down.

The stomach – this organ is fairly large and shaped much like a pouch or sack. Once the food gets to the stomach, it’s churned and mixed with the acids that help to break it down, to a more liquid state (called chime).

The small intestine – There are three parts to this organ, the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum.

Where the stomach ends, the duodenum begins and it’s here where the food, now called chime, meets with bile (an emulsifying agent for fat) from the liver via the gallbladder. In addition, digestive enzymes from the pancreas enter the system there.

Continuing through the jejunum and ileum the nutrients from the food are absorbed and the waste that is not useful continues through to the large intestine.

The large intestine: This is the end of the line for the waste from our digested food and where most of the water is removed and recycled in the body.

Also referred to as the colon, the large intestine begins with the cecum, where you’ll find both the ileocecal valve and the appendix located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen.

Next, the waste travels first up through the ascending colon and then across the middle of the body via the transverse colon and finally down on the left-hand side of the lower abdominal cavity in what’s known as the descending colon.

Not quite ended, the last few areas to pass through are the sigmoid colon, the rectum and anus… the end of the line where solid waste is stored temporarily, until excreted.

How is the digestive process controlled?

1. Hormone Regulators

The functions of the digestive system are controlled by hormones that are produced in cells that line the stomach and the small intestine.

Amazingly it’s the job of these hormones, once released into the digestive tract via the blood stream, to then send their messages from the digestive system to the heart and then returning back to simulate the digestive processes through the stimulation of digestive fluids as well as peristalsis.

2. Nerve Regulators

Two types of nerves help control the action of the digestive system.

The first type is referred to as extrinsic, meaning outside. These are the nerves that move from the brain and the spine to control the releasing of the chemicals acetylcholine and adrenaline.

The first chemical mentioned, acetylcholine can cause the muscle layer to push with added force so that the food increases in it’s speed and motility.

The second type of nerves are called the intrinsic, or inside nerves and they create a dense network of fibers that are woven into the walls of the digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines.

Once these hollow organs are stretched by the food inside them, the intrinsic nerves are triggered into action.

Digestive System Problems

Also known as the alimentary canal, the digestive system can house a myriad of issues (maybe that’s why some are called ailments). The good news is that many of these conditions are common and only cause mild discomfort. They usually clear up on their own. However there are some including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crones, an inflammatory bowel disease that can be long lasting and bothersome.

Coming up next… “Keeping Digestion on Track” and “What Can Reflexology Do?

Enjoy your wonderful reflexology skills.

Wendy Coad – Online health and reflexology expert and the “Reflexology Professor” publishes the popular “Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques” weekly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. If you’re ready to enjoy health, express creativity, gain knowledge and skyrocket your reflexology or holistic health career, get your FREE tips now at http://www.reflexologyprof.com and join us at the top right corner.

To your reflexology success –

Reflex, Live Long and Prosper,

Creator of the Mega Reflexology Training

“THE FOOT FACTOR PROGRAM”

Reflexology vs Nerve Reflexes – The Achilles Tendon

November 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles by Wendy

Yes, there are points on the Achilles tendon that reflex to the body (I’ve heard it called the “hemorrhoid line”), but it doesn’t seem like the proportions are right… big strong tendon, small energy connection.

The Achilles tendon is the strongest and the toughest tendon in the body. It connects the muscles of the calf to the heel. It’s also known as the Tendon Calcaneus.

If it’s an issue for my clients, it’s often because the tendon is prone to injury due to excessive use in sports that involve a lot of running and jumping.

The injuries can be mild, like inflammation, but if not properly cared for might cause more adverse conditions.

Any inflammation, swelling or any other kind of irritation and discomfort in the Achilles tendon is known as Achilles tendonitis. Achilles tendonitis could lead to small tears within the tendon and eventually lead to rupture!

Injuries to this tendon can be caused by general weakness and congestion. Other possible causes are:

  • Overuse leads to excessive wear and tear of the muscle leading to injury (by far the major cause of Achilles tendonitis).
  • incorrect footwear
  •  improper running technique
  • Some kind of trauma and infection might also lead to it
  • Arthritis is another cause for problems in the Achilles tendon.

As a Reflexologist, I can’t diagnose or treat any illness but I do know that reflexology, as a complement to doctor recommended pain management (i.e., rest, ice, compression, elevation) and anti inflammatory medicine, can help relieve excessive discomfort in the tendon.

The tendon can take 6 to 12 weeks to heal depending on the extent of the injury.

As you probably know, doctors will check some of our nervous system functions via another type of “reflex test”. For example, striking the knee with a rubber mallet to make the leg jump is one such “reflex test”.

In addition to the knee, there are other nerve-function-test locations and one of these is the Achilles tendon. Not too long ago, the “reflex test” on the Achilles tendon was thought to indicate not just nerve function, but also an indicator of thyroid function.

As a Reflexologist, NOW you have my attention!

But what can I do with this piece of information?

Medical research that was conducted to test the Achilles-thyroid connection proved inconclusive and therefore has not been pursued as a reliable indicator.

However, it did have enough proponents to support the research and this does reinforce my gut reaction to the powerful energy that might held in this, the largest, strongest tendon of the body.

Maybe I can add the Achilles tendon into the reflexology session menu I create for a client who indicates they have a thyroid issue.

I will never use this amazing connection to diagnoses but I don’t do that in my work anyway.

What I do is support health balance with my wonderful reflexology techniques. I can “hold the space for healing to occur”, and that to me is the best reward, an honor and a gift.

Enjoy your wonderful reflexology skills.

Wendy Coad – Online health and reflexology expert and the “Reflexology Professor” publishes the popular “Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques” weekly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. If you’re ready to enjoy health, express creativity, gain knowledge and skyrocket your reflexology or holistic health career, get your FREE tips now at http://www.reflexologyprof.com and join us at the top right corner.

To your reflexology success –

Reflex, Live Long and Prosper,

Creator of the Mega Reflexology Training

“THE FOOT FACTOR PROGRAM”