Reflexology and the Kidneys
There’s been a lot of buzz around reflexology these past few weeks. In part thanks to a recent segment on the Regis and Kelly TV morning show.
As Regis tells the story, he was awaiting surgery to remove the stones, when a reflexologist came to the hospital to work on his feet.
The session was an hour and a half, and nothing (other than pain relief and comfort) happened during or immediately after. But, later that night, he actually passed the stones and his surgery for the next day was cancelled.
As the story goes, he was very happy and very impressed with reflexology, believing it’s what actually helped.
A few weeks ago on his TV show “Regis & Kelly”, he revisited reflexology and once again felt that his recent reflexology session was instrumental in relieving a considerable amount of his current discomfort.
I’ve included the link to the TV segment below, but first you might want to know more about why the kidneys play such an important function in our health and wellbeing.
These dark-red and bean-shaped organs are at the posterior aspect of the torso and sit close to the waste-line. One side of the kidney has an outward bulge (convex) and the other side is indented (concave). At the indented side of the kidney (the renal pelvis), there’s a cavity where the ureter is attached.
The ureters are long thin tubes (from 10 – 12 inches long) that connect the kidneys to the bladder. The waste from the kidneys (urine) is moved from the kidney to the bladder via peristaltic contractions. The bladder, which is located behind the symphysis pubis, is the reservoir where urine is stored before it leaves the body via the urethra.
Known altogether as the “renal” or urinary system, this system affects all parts of the body by keeping the fluids in balance, removing wastes, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.
Function of kidneys
Removal of waste: This is the main function of the kidneys – the removal of waste products and excess water from the blood. Even though the kidneys process about 55 gallons of blood (filtering all your blood approximately 19 times per day), they only eliminate about two quarts of urine daily.
Hormones: In addition to the above, the kidneys also release three important hormones:
1. erythropoietin, or EPO – which stimulates the bone marrow to create red blood cells
2. Another hormone produced called rennin – it regulates blood pressure
3. And, calcitriol – the active form of vitamin D, which helps to maintain normal chemical balance in the body and calcium for bones.
Regulation of salts: A function that is critical to the regulation of the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content is performed by the kidneys. This happens when the kidneys produce the hormones and vitamins that affect the function of other organs. As mentioned above, one hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates the production of red blood cells. In addition, another hormone produced by the kidneys help to regulate your blood pressure, while others help control calcium metabolism.
Urine formation: There are a series of highly complex steps the kidneys use in the processes of producing urine for excretion. Other elements are also processed for re-absorption into the body. Both are important processes and necessary to maintaining the body chemicals in stable balance.
Kidney Stones: When urine chemicals crystallize they gather to form a kidney stone. Even though they begin small (smaller than a grain of sand), they can gradually grow larger (a quarter inch in diameter or larger). But, the size of the stone doesn’t matter as much as where it is located.
Some of the symptoms of kidney stones include: intense pain, sweating, nausea and vomiting (all of which are fairly common with stones).
Emergency treatment for kidney stones includes an intravenous line that’s used for hydration and for the administration of medication, which may include an anti-inflammatory drug, and narcotics for pain control.
Nephrotic Syndrome: This can be a further complication and is a kidney disease where there’s abnormal leakage of protein. Symptoms are low levels of proteins in the blood and swelling in other parts of the body. Treatment of nephrosis includes control of the disease by finding and treating any underlying medical conditions that may have caused it. Commonly drugs, including a diuretic to reduce swelling and antibiotics to treat infection, are used along with medications to reduce the output of protein.
Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) Glomerulosclerosis: Sometimes scar tissue will form in the tiny blood vessels (called the glomeruli) inside the kidneys. The glomeruli are comprised of miles of vessels that filter urine from the blood. Dialysis, kidney transplantation, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are nonspecific agents that reduce proteinuria. One of the approaches to relieve this is through modifications that are made to the diet.
- If, it’s been said it once, it’s been said a hundred times – drink plenty of H2O. Being well hydrated and keeping the urine diluted will help prevent kidney stones from forming
- Additionally, drinking about three to four quarts of water daily is thought by many to be the best cure for treating kidney infection as well other internal infections.
- And, don’t forget your Vitamin C it’s also said to be good in treating kidney infections. Food sources such as salmon, almonds, oranges and dairy products are rich in Vitamin C.
How Can Reflexology Help?
In oriental medicine, the Kidney Meridian and specifically the first Kidney Meridian point (K1) is thought of as the “Source of Chi”.
The location of the kidney reflexes are on both the left and right feet and begin at the level of the “waist-line” or close to the base of the 2nd metatarsals.
Just like in the body, the kidney reflexes are found lateral to the spine. (Note: the right kidney sits under the liver and is slightly lower that the left).
Because of its multiple functions for the body, it’s always a good idea to give some extra attention to this important organ reflex when giving a reflexology session (don’t forget that this includes self-help too).
I always detail the kidney reflex if it has the feeling of a “change in tissue texture” on the foot. This is a detail that calls for thumb-walking to occur in more than one direction. If I do the first passes on the vertical, I’ll do a second round on the horizontal or diagonal directions as well.
And, don’t forget about all of the urinary system reflexes. It’s a small system and easy to detail in its entirety.
If you go to this video clip – you can hear Regis Philbin tell how reflexology helped him, and his kidneys… in his own words.
Regis tells his Reflexology Story –
2. On the Right Side MENU Bar click onto: OCTOBER 22, 2009
3. Once the video starts to play, move the fast forward bar at the bottom of the video to approximately 4 minutes into the play time.
4. Enjoy Regis’ reflexology story.
Now, as a practitioner, how about adding this detail into every one your reflexology sessions? Even better, be the client and get a reflexology session yourself. Ask your practitioner to detail the urinary system reflexes and feel for yourself how powerful the energy balancing is.
Spend some quality reflex time with the “Sole Source of Chi” – the kidney reflexes. You’ll be support your client’s health and don’t be surprised if they have to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom either during or right after the session. I think of that as reflexology at work.
Enjoy your wonderful reflexology skills and explore how beautifully reflexology supports us body and soul.
Here’s to your good reflexology health!
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