Organs of the digestive system convert food and liquid into useful nutrients. Nutrients from the food carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed and released into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. Through the intestinal wall; the nutrients carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed and release into the bloodstream.
16 Unique Reflexes to Strengthen Digestion
The digestive tract is a long tubular organ comprises the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines. The digestive tract is 30 feet (9 meters) long, from the mouth to anus.
Solar plexus breathing or push technique
The solar plexus is one of the most crucial reflex points in reflexology. The solar plexus is a complex, dense nerve network or ganglia; thus, called the abdominal brain. This abdominal brain is part of the autonomic nervous system; connecting major abdomen organs to the brain. Solar plexus reflex influences the digestive system as a whole; useful for metabolism and general life functioning. This important reflex point helps the entire body and relax the mind.
How to do reflexology therapy for the Solar plexus? The solar plexus reflex point is straight down the second toe, below foot’s ball within the hollow. Place the thumb as a pivot at the solar plexus reflex on the right foot. Inhale (breath in) for five seconds; make a circle using another hand. Continue pivoting the reflex; hold the breath for 5 seconds. Exhale (breathe out) for 5 seconds; lessening pressure on the reflex point. Take a few calming breaths. Repeat four times.
Repeat the same procedure on the left foot (reversing hand positions if needed).
An alternate method:
Simultaneous apply pressure on both solar plexus reflexes by right & left thumb with a deep inhalation. During exhalation (breath out), lower the applied pressure on the reflex. Finish by releasing the entire pressure on the reflex, while breathing out.
The solar plexus reflex is one of the vital reflex points for stress relief. The solar plexus reflexology therapy is useful for stress relief. Also, it helps to ease symptoms of a hiatal hernia, acid reflux, heartburn, and pain.
The digestive organ reflex:
- Mouth, teeth, and jaw - Teeth reflex are below the big toenails in dorsal aspect. Jaw reflex is below the big toe joint in the dorsal aspect.
- Esophagus – reflex is from the big toe base to the diaphragm line.
- Stomach - reflexes are in both foot from the diaphragm until waistline; in zone 1 (for right foot) and zone 1 to 4 (for left foot).
- Liver and gallbladder - reflex is on the right foot only; from the diaphragm until waistline, in zones 3 to 5.
- Pancreas - reflex is below stomach reflex on both foot; in zone 1 (for right foot) and zones 1 to 4 (for left foot).
- Small intestine - reflex is on both right and left foot; in zone 1 to 4, from waistline until the pelvic line.
- Large intestine - reflex is on both right and left foot; in zone 1 to 5, from waistline until the pelvic line.
Teeth & Jaw reflex areas and Throat reflex point
Teeth and jaw job is to chew food; this plays an essential role in digestion. Jaw and teeth help to break foods; besides, enzymes in the saliva helps to begin the proper digestion.
The throat is behind the mouth; is the pathway linking the mouth, nose, esophagus, and trachea.
How to do reflexology therapy for the teeth, jaw, and throat? For teeth reflex, hold the foot with the left hand; using the index finger, walk horizontally across the big toe below the nail on the dorsal aspect. Repeat three times.
For jaw reflex; using the index finger, walk horizontally across the big toes below the big toe joint on the dorsal aspect. Repeat three lines.
The throat reflex is the joint between the big toe and second toe on the dorsal aspect. Press & rotate, using the index finger.
The esophagus is 8 inches (20 centimeters) long; it moves the food, from the mouth to stomach.
How to do reflexology therapy for the esophagus? Hold the foot with one hand; walk on the diaphragm line between big and first toe metatarsal, using another hand thumb. Cardiac sphincter reflex is a meeting point; trace a route from the junction of the big & first toe, meets the diaphragm line. Press & rotate this point. Repeat four times. Reflexology therapy for the diaphragm and cardiac sphincter helps ease esophagus disorders (e.g., trouble swallowing), unpleasant breath, and heartburn.
The stomach digests the food by physical and chemical means. The stomach secretes a mixture of acid, mucus, and digestive enzymes; this helps the chemical breakdown of food. The enzyme pepsin breaks proteins in the diet.
How to do reflexology therapy for the stomach? Hold the foot with one hand; walk from below the thyroid reflex upward towards the solar plexus, using another hand thumb. Repeat three to four times. For people with digestive problems, this reflex is sensitive or contain crystals. Stomach reflexology massage help relieve ulcers, bloating, and indigestion. It also improves digestion and increases digestive juices production). Pyloric sphincter (valve) reflex is present after the stomach. It releases the digested food from the stomach to the small intestine. Press & rotate this reflex point.
The liver is the second largest vital organ weighing about 3 pounds (1.3 kg). The liver performs many essential works related to digestion, metabolism, immunity, and nutrients storage.
- Digestion: The liver plays an active role in the metabolism by producing bile. Gallbladder stores the bile released by the liver; it releases bile into the duodenum to digest fatty foods.
- Metabolism: The liver converts carbohydrate, lipids, and proteins into useful product or energy.
- Detoxification: The liver removes the toxic substance from the blood. Enzymes in hepatocytes disintegrate toxins such as alcohol and drugs. And convert it into non-toxic inactive products.
- Storage: The liver stores essential nutrients. Glycogen and fatty acids; vitamins A, D, E, K & B12, and minerals iron & copper.
- Production: The liver makes several vital proteins in the blood plasma; prothrombin, fibrinogen, and albumin.
- Immunity: Kupffer cells lining the walls of sinusoids in the liver; it acts as part of the immune system.
How to do reflexology therapy for the liver? The liver reflex is on the right foot only. Hold the foot with the right hand; walk horizontally from lateral to the medial side underneath the diaphragm line, using the left thumb. Walk continuously one-step below horizontal until reaching the heel. Repeat twice. Reflexology therapy for liver improves blood glucose levels, removes unused hormones, and detoxifies the blood.
Gallbladder reflex point
The gallbladder is a hollow, pear-shaped organ, on the right abdomen under the liver; it stores and concentrates bile. The liver secretes a digestive enzyme called bile. Gallbladder kept bile ready to release into the intestine; bile helps break fats to facilitate absorption.
How to do reflexology therapy for the gallbladder? The gallbladder reflex is on the right foot only. Locate the gallbladder reflex by tracing a line from the fourth toe base until the diaphragm line. Hold the foot with the left hand; hook and backup this point for six seconds. Reflexology therapy for gallbladder helps with gallbladder problems.
Small intestine reflex
The small intestine has three parts they are duodenum, jejunum, and ileum; their main job is to absorb nutrients and minerals from the food. Small intestine performs 90% of the digestion and absorption; the other 10% by the stomach and large intestine. Peristalsis (wave-like contraction) helps to move food through the intestine.
How to do reflexology therapy for the small intestine? Small intestine reflex is between transverse pelvic line and waistline; also between zone-4 and zone-1. Using the thumb or finger, walk-in steps vertical and horizontal to cover the entire reflex.
Clean out the small intestine: Using the right-hand palm, stroking upward from the foot bottom help expel the tension build-up.
The small intestine absorbs most food products; thus, stimulating this reflex helps absorb essential vitamins.
Large intestine reflex
The large intestine consists of the cecum and colon. Large intestine begins in the right iliac region of the pelvis, and it ends in the anus. The job of the large intestine is to absorb water from the remaining indigestible foods and send out the waste from the body.
The Large intestine absorbs vitamins synthesized by over 700 species of friendly bacteria present there.
The large intestine contains friendly bacteria that breakdown undigested polysaccharides or fibers into useful materials. And produces large amounts of vitamin K and Biotin (a B vitamin).
The large intestine, specifically the appendix contains several lymphoid tissues; it plays an essential role in immunity. It acts against harmful bacteria, and so prevents infection.
The ileocecal valve is in between the small and large intestine. It is a one-way valve; allows food from the small intestine into the large intestine and prevents the reverse flow. ICV prevents waste backflow from the large intestine to small intestine.
How to do reflexology therapy for the ileocecal valve (ICV)? The ileocecal valve (ICV) reflex is above the heel in between zone 4 & 5. Press & rotate this reflex using the left thumb for 6 seconds. Reflexology therapy for ICV aids proper digestion and mucus balance.
How to do reflexology therapy for the appendix? Trace down from the fourth toe until the redness of the heel, to locate the appendix reflex. Press & rotate this reflex for 6 seconds. The appendix has a lymphoid tissue, working on this point boost body’s immune against local infection. Thus, the reflexology therapy for appendix; boost the body's immunity against local infection.
How to do reflexology therapy for the ascending colon? Using the thumb, walk upwards from ileocecal valve until reaching the liver reflex (hepatic flexure). Repeat two times with slow movement. Reflexology therapy for ascending colon stimulates the peristaltic movement of the colon.
How to do reflexology therapy for the hepatic flexure? To locate the hepatic flexure; trace from the fourth toe until reaching below the waistline. Hook-in & rotate for six seconds. Reflexology therapy for hepatic flexure encourages colon and liver functions.
How to do reflexology therapy for the transverse colon? Hold the right foot with the right hand. Using the left thumb, walk horizontally (from lateral to medial) from the hepatic flexure point until reaching underneath the stomach reflex (in zone 1).
Hold the left foot with the right hand. Using the left thumb, walk horizontally (from medial to lateral) from underneath the stomach reflex (in zone 1) until reaching the splenic flexure reflex point.
How to do reflexology therapy for the splenic flexure? The splenic flexure is on the left foot only. Hold the left foot with the right hand. You can use the right-hand thumb, hook & backup for 6 seconds the reflex point below the waistline in zone 5. Reflexology therapy for splenic flexure helps with splenic flexure syndrome; trapping of gas leads to bloating and distension.
How to do reflexology therapy for the descending colon? Descending-colon reflex is on the left foot only. Using the left thumb, walk from splenic flexure (in zone 4) until reaching the sigmoid flexure (above heel redness). Repeat twice. Reflexology therapy for descending colon promotes enzymatic activity and strengthen the entire gastrointestinal tract.
How to do reflexology therapy for the sigmoid colon? This reflex is on the left foot only. Hold the left foot with the left hand; using the right-hand thumb, walk from the sigmoid flexure (zone 4) above heel redness until reaching the zone 2. Repeat twice. The sigmoid colon squeezes with high-pressure to regulate the stool movement into the rectum. Reflexology therapy for sigmoid colon relieves constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis.
How to do reflexology therapy for the anus? This reflex is on the left foot only. Using the right thumb, walk from zone 2 to turn downwards until reaching the midpoint of the heel.