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Reflexology for the Elderly

Reflexology is extremely beneficial for the elderly as it gives them a sense of well-being.
On the most basic level reflexology can increase the circulation which is extremely important for elderly people. Whilst it does not claim to extend the life of clients, it can assist in the quality of it. Maybe that will mean a day free of pain for one person or a week of regular bowel movements for another. It can be tremendously helpful for clients recovering from hip replacement surgery, knee replacement or bunion surgery, not only is it incredibly supportive for those undergoing surgery but has been found to reduce post-operative recovery times.
Reflexology is often carried out in hospices and care homes for the elderly. This is because the techniques used can help reduce cholesterol levels, reduce and maintain lower blood pressure and assist with mobility.

Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that commonly effect’s the elderly, although it can also strike people in their forties, it is characterised by a progressive mental degeneration that interferes with their ability to function at work or home. Symptoms include memory loss, depression and severe mood swings. Death can result in five to ten years.
How can reflexology help?
Reflexology can be a calming and reassuring non-verbal method of communication by providing relaxation techniques helping the client to feel they are in a safe place.
Arthritis is an abnormality of a joint with heat, pain and inflammation. Disorders such as rheumatism, fibrositis, lumbago and gout may involve inflammation, stiffness and pain in the joint, due to large quantities of uric acid which affects the bony structure of the body because it has not been eliminated properly from the system, and often there is a build up in the body.
How can reflexology help?
By giving a general treatment over several weeks reflexology may help to alleviate many of the distressing symptoms, stiffness in the muscles and joints can often be reduced and mobility gradually maintained. Whilst the deformity once formed, will not change, there is often relief after a few treatments and regular reflexology will help to prevent further bone deformity.
A stroke is caused by a disruption of the blood supply to the brain. There are two main types of stroke:

  • Ischaemic which is the most common form of stroke, caused by a blood clot which starves part of the brain of oxygen, leading to the death of brain cells.
  • Haemorrhagic stroke which is caused by the bursting of blood vessels, producing bleeding that causes damage

Causes of a Stroke
There are a number of causes and factors that could trigger a stroke:

  • Older people are considered more at risk of suffering a stroke, though around a quarter of strokes happen to children or teenagers.
  • It is also thought if a close family member has suffered a stroke individuals are more likely to experience one themselves.
  • Certain ethnic groups are also thought to be more at risk.
  • If an individual has suffered a mild or ‘mini’ stroke they are more likely to suffer a future stroke.

High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, a family history of stroke, heart disease, drug use, excessive drinking and smoking all increase the risk of a stroke

How can reflexology help?
After a stroke patients undergoing reflexology have seen the beneficial help it can give to regaining function in effected limbs. According to the Reflexology Association of Canada reflexology can help to relieve unwanted tension, improve circulation and aid natural bodily function.

Is Reflexology recommended for the elderly?

Yes, Reflexology is a highly beneficial treatment for the elderly. It is a gentle non-invasive treatment carried out upon the feet alone, which helps to induce deep relaxation and in turn aids the body’s own healing process.
Reflexology complements orthodox medicine and helps with the general aches and pains of getting older, studies have shown the benefits felt in more serious complaints, including:

  • Respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and emphysema, helping to reduce the symptoms involved.
  • Arthritis, by stimulating the circulation, which in turn aids joint mobility.
  • High blood pressure by inducing deep relaxation, helping maintain a healthy blood pressure, and even help to lower high blood pressure.
  • After a stroke. Patients using Reflexology treatment have seen the beneficial help it can give to regaining function in effected limbs.
  • Anxiety and Depression, people experience these debilitating conditions at all ages of life, and Reflexology helps to relieve the symptoms by inducing relaxation and releasing endorphins into the blood stream, which work on enhancing mental well being.
  • Migraine and headaches, digestive problems and many more.

Before any treatment the practitioner will take a detailed case history in order to get a clear picture of the patient’s present and past health and with their knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology are able to adapt the Reflexology treatment accordingly. Many patients of Reflexology have said that not only do they enjoy the physical benefits of Reflexology but also, being able to talk to their Reflexologist in detail about their health and being listened to.
With a growing number of practitioners offering mobile treatments, Reflexology is ideal for those who cannot drive/walk to a clinic or would simply prefer a therapist to visit them at home so that they can put their feet up in their favourite chair!