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Stress, muscle aches and joint pain all have various causes and ways they can be relieved. But one thing they do all have in common is your nervous system.

The Knotty Truth

You might know them as “knots” but massage therapists, acupuncturists, doctors and the like would call these “trigger points,” which are tensed up muscle fibers. Massage, in general, focuses on relieving these trigger points by breaking up the muscle fibers that have stuck together (that’s why you hear a crackling sound when a knot breaks down during a good massage).

While these knots can occur in all areas of the body, the hands and feet house the nerve endings.

More than Just a Foot Massage

Reflexology is a type of massage that focuses on nerve endings, mapping out which part of the hands and feet are responsible for which part of the nervous system.

When done by a professional, reflexology can be a bit painful if you have areas with major tension buildup, so it’s not to be confused with a put-you-to-sleep foot massage. However, a post-massage glow of feeling refreshed and relaxed are typical experiences after a serious reflexology session.

On the lighter scale and for a less intense massage, reflexology can also be an easy self-massage therapy. You can even buy socks and gloves that have the nerve maps on them.

Try It Out

  • Consider pain areas and locate the trigger points on the maps.
  • Stretch and warm the hands/feet gently before massaging.
  • Massage the area 1-2 times daily.
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water during and after you massage to help move any toxins out of the body that may have been released during the massage.

It’s important to mention that reflexology isn’t a replacement for exercise, healthy eating or stretching, and you should always consult a medical professional if you have any health concerns.

Related: Those Feet Were Made for Walking — But Stretch Them First