Part 1 of 3
Who wouldn’t want to think better as well as take possible preventive action against Alzheimer’s, dementia and a whole host of neurological and psychiatric disorders? That’s the promise of a recent reflexology study.
It’s all about brain wave activity and how reflexology can influence it. Previous studies have demonstrated that reflexology work applied to the whole foot creates a change in brain waves, activity of alpha brain waves shown when we’re relaxed.
The current research shows that reflexology work targeting a brain reflex area significantly increased activity of gamma brain waves and beta brain waves. Gamma brain waves are associated with cognitive functions such as memory, perception, and attention. Beta brain waves are associated with stress, anxiety and motor control. (1)
Gamma brain waves are seen to decrease in those with Alzheimer’s. Gamma and/or beta activity is seen to be abnormal in those with a number of neurological or psychiatric disorders. (1)
Brain waves allow information to be shared among parts of the brain. When the rhythmic activity of brain waves is dysfunctional and information sharing is disrupted a number of conditions can result. With abnormal beta and/or gamma waves these include: autism, ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy as well as chronic pain, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, irritability, agitation, insomnia, bipolar tendencies, and substance abuse and.
During the research, reflexology work was applied to a broad central area of the first segment of the big toes, five minutes per toe for seven consecutive days. As measured by EEG (electroencephalogram) before and after the work, activity of gamma and beta waves increased significantly. (1)
“Gamma waves ripple across the brain about 40 times per second and appear when the brain is doing attentive work, such as forming memories or solving problems.” (2)
For those with Alzheimer’s gamma brain waves are known to slow down. Resulting is interruption in what gamma waves do. As noted by researchers: “Gamma activity represents an important marker of successful memory formation, episodic recall and other behavioral and cognitive functions. Sensorimotor, learning memory, information processing, and behavioral functions are important in everyday life of humans and are also integral in execution of life processes. Increase in gamma active (sic) is also associated with emotion.” The researchers concluded: “Thus reflexotherapy may serve as a technique that can be used to increase cognitive functions in humans.”(1)
The potential impact on lives can be imagined. Talk to almost anyone and you’ll find concern for the possibility of dementia or Alzheimer’s. For those with a family history of Alzheimer’s concern is increased. Could a simple reflexology technique, easy-to-do and with no cost associated, offer a preventive measure?
(1) Cevat Unal, Menizibeya O.Welcome, Mariam Salako, Faruk Abdullahi, Nuhu M. Abubakar, Vladimir A.Pereverzev, Siti Sugih Hartiningsih, Senol Dane, “The effect of foot reflexotherapy on the dynamics of cortical oscillatory waves in healthy humans: An EEG study,” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 38, June 2018 , Pages 42-47
(2) Dougherty, Elizabeth, “Seeing the Light, Aging Brain Initiative researchers discover a potential Alzheimer’s therapy,” Spectrum (MIT), Spring 2017