2008 August

RESEARCH: The Reflexology, Nursing Home, and Dementia Connection

A recent study by the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health and Polisher Research Institute found that reflexology may have the potential to reduce stress in nursing home residents who suffer from mild to moderate dementia.

Participants in the study were at least 75 years old and living in their nursing home for six months or longer. The only diagonosis that they had was dementia. Once per week for four weeks, some participants received a reflexology treatment followed by a visit lasting about 30 minutes. Others just received a visit. Various pieces of data were collected in order to measure stress levels of the participants including saliva samples which measured alpha amylase (which carries stress hormones).

Upon completion of the study those receiving a combonation of reflexology and friendly visits had a decline in stress hormones and pain while the participants receiving only the friendly visit had borderline improvement. Researchers agree these preliminary findings offer beneficial alternative way to manage stress an pain in nursing home residents with mild to moderate dementia.

MODALITY MINUTE: What exactly is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a method of stimulating the body’s healing mechanisms through massage of certain reflex points on the feet, hands or ears in connection with meridian points. The therapy is based on the idea that the organs of the body are represented on the feet, hands and ears making them a vital map of the body.

A signal to the peripheral nervous system is triggered from gentle pressure to the feet with the hands. From there it enters the central nervous system where it is processed in various parts of the brain. It is then relayed to the internal organs. During a session of therapy, more than 7,000 nerves are stimulated!

Reflexology aims to reduce stress, increases deep relaxation, improve circulation, cleanse the body of toxins, balance the whole system and increase energy.

GENTLE REMINDERS: Breathe Deeply (…and eat your celery!)

Acid and alkaline states describe the pH of the blood/body and have much to do with the state of our health. The quickest way for us to alkalinize our body is to breathe several deep breaths at regular intervals!

An alkaline state in the body:
-prevents breakdown of body and tissues and degenerative disease
-prevents overgrowth of undesired micro-organisms such as candida or yeast
-helps the body heal faster and regenerate tissue

This is not to say nutrition is not a huge factor in alkalinizing the body, because it is. Reducing caffiene and refined sugar intake and eating fruits and vegetables are the best way to alkalinize. However, adequate breathing can’t be underestimated as an important counterpart in the process.

A quick nutritional tip for instant alkalinization? Munch on a sprig of celery which is an instant acid neutralizer.

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