Mindfulness Reflexology – Supporting Stress, Anxiety and Depression
The way that we live has a profound impact on our health and well-being. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, mixed anxiety and depression being the most common. Our mind often prolongs the stress reaction in our bodies - by overthinking and placing judgments on thoughts. If stress levels remain high in our body this can be detrimental to both physical and mental well-being. Mindful Reflexology fuses specialized Reflexology techniques with Mindfulness meditation, this helps to calm the mind and support a stressed body. The Reflexology helps to calm the Parasympathetic Nervous System, reducing the stress hormones in your body and re-balance your emotions.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. (www.mindful.org) There is scientific evidence to show that practicing Mindfulness can have a positive effect on our health, happiness, relationships and work.
What can I expect?
I will initially talk to you about what you are hoping to gain from the reflexology, your medical history and answer any questions you may have. After this you will able to relax on a comfortable couch, a soft blanket will be available to keep you warm. Your feet will be refreshed with comforting warm, steamed towels. Whilst experiencing the relaxing benefits of foot reflexology, you will be guided through a mindfulness session, during which you will focus on feelings in your body, sounds in your environment and also your breath entering and leaving your body. You will allow any thoughts that encroach to drift away allowing you to be present in the moment. Depending on your personal circumstances there are additional methods that I am able to suggest that may be helpful
How does Mindfulness work?
Your brain is constantly evolving throughout your life, adapting to your experiences and thoughts. Whilst 90 percent of the activities of the brain happen subconsciously, you can strengthen or weaken different areas of your brain. By regularly practicing mindfulness, science has shown that you can reduce the size of the Amygdala which releases stress chemicals – giving you the fight or flight response. At the same time, Mindfulness can strengthen the ‘New Brain’ which deals with concentration, empathy and focus. Whilst you may still experience anxiety and worries, you will be able to recover quicker and return to a state in which you are calmer, clearer headed and able to deal with life’s challenges.
Mindfulness aims to achieve a relaxed, non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings and sensations.
A study has been published that combines the data from 47 clinical trials. There appears to be a significant improvement in both anxiety and depression similar to the effect that is found with the use of anti-depressants. In response to this data the National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) recommend Mindfulness for the management of depression and this therapy is now becoming available on the NHS. (JAMA International Medicine, online January 6, 2014)
Please note that if you have been prescribed antidepressants by your doctor, you should continue to take the medicine at the prescribed dose and keep your doctor fully up to date with details of additional self-help that you are undertaking.
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