Your State Association of Professional Reflexologists

The Role of Reflexology in Treating Autoimmune Diseases

April 2021

Your immune system plays a big role in keeping you healthy. It protects the body against infections and diseases by blocking pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites from entering and causing you to become ill. But what if your immune system turns on you and begins attacking your body instead? This is the reality of those who have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

The Basics of Autoimmune Disease

A properly working immune system would be able to tell the difference between bad and good in your body’s cells. An autoimmune disease, however, causes your immune system to mistake healthy body cells as foreign ones. Therefore, it attacks your body by producing proteins called ‘auto antibodies’ that sicken the body’s tissues.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences* states that there are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common ones are Type 1 Diabetes, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Celiac disease. Typically, medication is prescribed to help ease the painful symptoms of an autoimmune disease. From oral medication to injections, the kind of medicine depends on the condition. There is still no cure for them, but their reaction to the immune system can be managed with immunosuppressants, medications that weaken the immune system’s activity. It is still not clear as to what causes an autoimmune disease to develop. Unexplained rashes, body aches, fatigue, and hair loss are some common signs you may be suffering from having an autoimmune disease. If these are symptoms you experience, it would be best to consult with a medical professional to check the condition of your immune system.

Reflexology’s Role in Treating Them

Reflexology has healing effects like providing deep relaxation, decreasing body pain, and strengthening nerve stimulation. So, how can reflexology help aid those with autoimmune diseases?

Living with an autoimmune disease can be extremely stressful, as the people diagnosed will most likely be attacked by their own immune system for the rest of their lives. Fortunately, depression, and stress in women with multiple sclerosis, significantly decreased, thanks to reflexology treatments. This is because its relaxation techniques have the ability to release muscle pain, which has severe implications on both a person’s physical and mental health.

More than just a massage, the pressure applied to the body, by a reflexologist can reach different body systems, such as the digestive system, the endocrine system, the nervous system, and the circulatory system. This, in turn, can help bring balance to an immune system that’s not working properly. By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system that helps calms down high-energy functions in the body, reflexology lowers the amount of stress-inducing hormones while helping the body keep in harmony and relax.

Although autoimmune diseases are complex conditions, the simple power of touch can make all the difference for the pain they cause.

What reflexes would you work for an autoimmune disorder?

How many sessions would you recommend?

*National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Durham, NC.

Many blessings,

Renita Murrell, President


Comments by Patricia Barrance

Re: your questions - What reflexes would you work for an autoimmune disorder?

As this disorder can affect all areas of the body, I would focus on the Spine - Nervous System, to connect effectively with the whole body.

I feel the Lymphatic System is on my list of priorities as it cleans all the cells in the body. When teaching, I call the Lymphatic System the body's Car Wash.

With the cells cleaned we can replenish them with nutrients from blood via the Cardiovascular System, and oxygen via the Respiratory System.

Pain management is a priority for an Autoimmune disorder, so the Endocrine System will provide Cortisone from the cortex of the Adrenal Glands, plus balance and support from all the Endocrine Glands.

All these systems will bring pain relief and support to the Muscular and Skeletal system.

An assimilation of a healthy diet and comfortable elimination of the body's waste is important, so attention must be given to the Digestive system.

Food allergies are usually involved in an Autoimmune disorder, care of food choices, and allergy testing are important.

I have found one of the best resources for finding a good Dietician is at the HyVee Stores. Their Dietitians are well qualified, and give a tour of the store with advice on helpful food choices, and point out misleading claims by some manufacturers. There is a reasonable fee for a half hour consultation, but no charge for the tour of the store.

How many sessions would I recommend?

The standard recommendation is six treatments, ideally every three days. Often this is inconvenient for time and money, so I try to encourage a treatment once a week for six weeks. Then the choice of maintenance is up to the client. It is important for the client to be responsible for their continued health care and encourage them to be proactive.

OUR MISSION for the Reflexology Association of Iowa is to promote dialogue throughout the reflexology community as the primary means of creating unity among reflexologists and to protect and preserve the skills of reflexology and encourage communication, education, and ethics for reflexology practitioners and the clients they serve in Iowa and to protect our legal rights to work as reflexology practitioners.

RAIA is the Iowa State Affiliate of the Reflexology Association of America.

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