Reflexology: The Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep…Naturally!

What could be sweeter than a night of peaceful, restful sleep? Sleep is the time for your mind and body to restore and heal itself. A good night’s sleep can put worries into perspective. Through your dreams your subconscious mind makes sense of the events of your day. In dreams, your superconscious mind or “higher self” brings you guidance toward a better life. Soothing, peaceful sleep rejuvenates your body, mind and soul!

Sleep is the best meditation. ~ Dalai Lama

But if you’re like me, there may have been times when you found peaceful, restorative slumber elusive. Have the stresses of the day sometimes kept you tossing and turning when you longed for sleep? Or if you’ve had chronic insomnia, has restful sleep itself come to seem like a only a dream?

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. ~ W.C. Fields

Before reaching for over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids that can cause unpleasant side effects and create dependencies, try the natural, profound relaxation effects of reflexology! You can easily give yourself and others a mini-reflexology session to help you gently fall into sweet slumber.

By gently stimulating reflex points on your feet, hands, face and ears, reflexology subtly impacts every part of your body. A short, easy-to-learn reflexology routine working just on the feet can help you—or a loved one—drift off naturally. You’ll be affecting the nearly 15,000 nerves in your feet alone, one of many reasons why foot reflexology is so calming, soothing, and effective.

Reflexologists use a map of the feet (see chart) where all the organs, glands, and parts of the body are laid out just like they are in the body. The toes reflect your head. The ridge beneath the toes is a natural shoulder or neck line. The chest is in the ball of the foot. The digestive organs are in the arch, and the reproductive system is found in the heels and ankles. Even the inside curve of each foot, where you’ll find the spinal reflex–one of the most important reflexes reflexologists use–mirrors the actual curves of the spine!

Using my chart, here’s a 5-10-minute routine you can easily make part of your bedtime ritual:

  1. Relax the feet, one at a time, with simple relaxation techniques: pressing and squeezing, lightly slapping or gently kneading—whatever feels good. Finish by pressing and holding your thumb on the solar plexus point of each foot for five to ten seconds each (see chart.)
  2. On the bottom of each foot, “walk” your thumb up from the base of the heel to each toe (imagine your thumb is a caterpillar inching its way up your foot), then press these reflex points with the outer edge of your thumb or tip of your forefinger: • Head/brain (top of each toe) promotes clarity and positive thinking• Pituitary or “master gland” (center of big toe) stimulates/balances hormone secretions of all other glands• Pineal gland (outer side of big toe) secretes melatonin which controls our circadian rhythm/sleep cycle• Thyroid (base of big toe) balances metabolism• Neck/shoulders (ridge of toes) releases tension• Chest/lungs (ball of foot) calms breathing• Solar plexus/diaphragm (under ball of foot in the center) encourages profound relaxation and peacefulness. (Have other areas of your body that are stressed and causing sleeplessness? Just press on the corresponding reflex area or point. My book Feet First contains more extensive charts and routines for a wide variety of issues.)
  3. Apply the relaxation techniques again and finish with another thumb press on the solar plexus point on both feet.
  4. End with “breeze strokes”—lightly running your fingertips down the tops, bottoms and sides of each foot in a feathery motion, barely touching the skin. Repeat this several times. It is very soothing to the nerves.

A Reflexology session transports you into a state of deep relaxation where you are open to suggestions you give yourself. So it’s a good time for an affirmation such as, “A kind and nurturing world cradles me to peaceful sleep.” Count your blessings and appreciate all of the good things in your day. Embrace and embody your joy. And envision how you would like your next day to be.

Sweet dreams!

Sleep is the real beauty secret. ~ Chelsea Leyland