Causes of Hormonal ImbalanceIn both women and men, hormone levels need to be finely balanced in order to maintain optimal health. If the scales are tipped too much in one direction or another, problems can develop; sometimes severe. Two of the most frequent causes of hormonal imbalance are nutritional deficiencies and stress. Of these, stress is probably the most common.
When we experience stress, our bodies release high levels of the cortisol hormone. This is part of our natural "fight or flight" response to danger. Cortisol raises our heart rate, dilates the bronchial tubes and releases fat for use as fuel in response to a crisis. The problem is that in our modern society, stress can become chronic and elevated cortisol levels are very common. Some of the negative effects of this include:
- High blood pressure.
- A weakened immune system.
- Infertility, PMS and other sexual disorders in women.
- Prostate and erectile problems in men.
How Reflexology Works to Correct Hormonal ImbalancesReflexology can work in a number of ways to correct hormonal imbalances. It works directly on reducing stress and therefore in correcting cortisol levels. In addition, reflexology is believed to be of benefit in a number of other important ways, including:
- Removing toxins from the body.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Improving circulation.
- Stimulating reproductive glands.
Although few clinical trials have been conducted to determine the efficacy of reflexology in treating hormonal imbalances, those that have been conducted have been very encouraging. For example, a 1991 study at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that 62 percent of women who received weekly reflexology treatments experienced relief from premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
How Reflexology WorksReflexology is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) energy meridian system. Many important meridians are located in the feet and these are believed to be directly connected to glands and organs in other parts of the body. Although these energetic meridians have not been scientifically verified, TCM has been practiced for thousands of years and is an accepted healing system in China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere.
Western doctors explain the benefits of reflexology a little differently. As the location of tens of thousands of nerve endings, massaging the feet can have a profoundly relaxing effect on the entire body. This in turn helps stimulate the "relaxation response." When this occurs, hormones are released that flush out excess cortisol restore the body to its natural, healthy state of balance (homeostasis).
Either way you look at it, reflexology seems to work. You are the best judge, though. Contact a local reflexologist and try it yourself. At the very least, you'll come away feeling relaxed and refreshed. You may even find that reflexology is the key you've been looking for to correct nagging hormonal imbalances safely and naturally.