Exploring the body through reflexology: Physical behaviors during application and Benefits


This study shows that the application of reflexology leads to a wide range of clear secondary manifestations (or “ Body Behaviours”, expressed through different physiological reactions grouped into 4 categories: 

  • Saccadic involuntary eye movements with eyelids closed, a response to non-visual stimuli  
  • Spontaneous body movements, 10 to 20 min into the session (hands, arms, legs, and fingers, and facial: eyebrows, chin and labial movements) 
  • Jaw movements 
  • Head movements 

The study links reflexology treatment to: 

  • Muscle tone variations that release tensions contained in the musculoskeletal system as a response to obtain postural equilibrium. 
  • Growing drowsiness and clear feature and physical indications of relaxation as the reflexology session progressed, with brief sudden muscle twitches, temperature decrease, disconnection of the environmental perception 
  • Benefits similar to NREM sleep (characterized by slow eye movement, slow brain waves, stillness): a short nap that benefits memory consolidation, the learning process and combatting problematic situations, concentration.
“The neuronal bases of these correlations seem to suggest that eye movements control our view of the world and could therefore be a doorway to our minds” say the authors. 

“Recent research on eye movements in sleep and wakefulness propose new and diverse theories on the connections that can be established between eye movements and memory processes, reading comprehension and learning as well as connections with the processing of emotional memories. “ 

Various extremely important physiological processes are closely related, or determined by sleep: the establishment or conservation of energy, elimination of free radicals accumulated during the day, the regulation or restoration of cortical electrical activity, thermal regulation, metabolic or endocrine regulation, synaptic homeostasis, immunological activation or memory consolidation, among others..

There is ample scientific literature that proves the benefits of reflexology on sleep quality (please see our previous posts). 

It is interesting to note that the application of sustained sedation during the reflexology treatment in the temporomandibular joint, the oculomotor center, celiac plexus and the highest point of the diaphragm might have some relationship with the results of the study: clinical experience shows that there are points with great therapeutic content. 

The authors also add: “Many of these responses do not happen simply by touch, suggesting that reflexology is more significant and deeper than a simple massage effect”.

Exploring the body through reflexology: Physical behaviors during application https://www.reflexology.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Exploring-the-body-through-reflexology.pdf

Eficacia de Reflexologia en insomnio y sueño http://www.barcelonareflexologia.com/2021/03/eficacia-de-reflexologia-en-problemas.html

Respuestas hormonales y neuronales de la Reflexología y beneficios sobre cognición social, dolor, estrés, ansiedad... http://www.barcelonareflexologia.com/2020/12/respuestas-hormonales-y-neuronales-de.html