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!

 

 

 

 

Is Your Foot Structure Creating Pain?

You probably don’t give much thought to your feet until they start to hurt. Although I’m a reflexologist, and the basis of my work is working the “reflex” points in the feet, I couldn’t help seeing patterns in people’s foot problems over the years. And, over those years, I continued to research causes and conditions as I worked deeply into those aching soft-tissues of the feet and lower legs – working out both reflexology points and rigid foot structures.

Then I came across something that truly changed everything… a simple little deviation in one foot bone that causes a whole cascade of issues up into the body.  It’s called Morton’s Foot.

Morton’s foot (also known as Morton’s Toe, Greek Foot and many other names) is a condition where the second long bone of your forefoot (your 2nd metatarsal) is longer than your first metatarsal (the long foot bone that attaches to your big toe bones). At least 25% of people have this foot condition.

Common sense and science tells us that you need a solid foundation to support a solid house.  In this case, our foundation is our feet. Now imagine, your foundation that would normally be stabilized with a solid 3-point, tripod base (the ball under your big toe, little toe and heel), is now wobbling on a linear, 2-point base (the ball under your 2nd toe and your heel). Wobble, wobble. Feel that?  It’s like walking around on ice-skates. Not too stable is it?

According to The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and the people at MortonsFoot.com, problems in the body from this seemingly benign bone deviation are:

  • Poor Posture
  • Foot Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Hammer Toes
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Pronation (Fallen Arches)
  • Supination (over correction for fallen arches)
  • Achilles Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Shin Splints
  • Leg Pain
  • Leg Cramps and Fatigue
  • Internally Rotated Legs (Knock-knee)
  • Knee Pain
  • Tight IT bands
  • SI Joint Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Gluteal Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Reduced lung capacity, shallow breathing, anxiety
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • TMJ
  • Mental Fatigue, Pain and Depression

Take a breath, that is an exhaustive list. Are you seeing the impact of this first metatarsal bone being a wee-bit short?  Ready for some good news? It’s GREAT in fact. There is a simple, easy and inexpensive solution to this metatarsal mess.  But before we go into the solution, let’s check to see if you actually have this foot structure.

If you want to find out if you have Morton’s foot, you can’t rely on seeing if your second toe is longer than the first. It’s about the metatarsal heads, not toe length (although, having a second long toe does usually tag along). Look for these characteristics. First and foremost, with bare feet, bend your toes downward (while pushing on the balls of your feet from the bottom to make them pop up). From the top of your foot, see which metatarsal head (knuckles of the feet) is closer to the toes… if your second one is higher, you have Morton’s Foot.

MortonsFoot_KnuckleTest2

 

There are a few other ways to check. Look at the web between your first and second toes, then the web between your second and third toes. If the first web is lower, good chance you have Morton’s Foot.

 

MortonsFoot_BoneStructure

To continue to confirm this foot condition, notice if there are calluses on the sides of the big toe, under the second metatarsal head (plantar/bottom side of foot), on the side of the first and/or fifth metatarsal heads (inner and outer sides of your feet). These are also signs of good ol’ Morton’s Foot.

MortonsFoot_CallusPattern

It is pretty much a no-win situation for a stable foundation. Fallen arches, overused (and mis-used) muscles and a foundation fallen off kilter… it’s an avalanche of postural structure. And the result is usually a lack of efficient mobility and pain.

If you find you do have Morton’s Foot, here’s the good news!

The solution to Morton’s Foot is to create the tripod of solid support back into your feet by adding a little lift under the head of your first metatarsal, that’s the ball under your big toe.  For a quick, easy and do-it-today solution, courtesy of Clair Davis in The Trigger Point Therapy Manual, go out and get something like Dr. Scholl’s Molefoam Padding. Cut it into a quarter or half-dollar size oval and stick it right onto your insoles of your shoes (or newly purchased insoles). Make sure it is placed directly where the ball under your first toe only will step, being sure not to overlap under the 2nd metatarsal head.   And…Voila!

MortonsFoot_Correction

The more comprehensive, and worth every cent, solution is to head on over to the good folks at Mortonsfoot.com. There they have every type of insole you can imagine to correct this condition in any type of foot wear, including sandals and yeah, even bare feet!