Can Reflexology Help Someone Who has Been Diagnosed With Alzheimer's or Other Types of Dementia?

Can Reflexology Help Someone Who Has Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Other Types of Dementia? 
  Dec. 2020 
 
Reflexology will not cure Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, but it can improve the wellbeing of a person who has cognitive decline.  
 
For 12 years we have used hand reflexology to help people who have been diagnosed with dementia and have seen how reflexology calms, helps overcome frustration and confusion and even helps people connect back to the real world. From our experience we have found that there are three main areas where reflexology can help: 
 
 1. Reflexology Calms –
One of the major benefits of Reflexology is that it induces relaxation. When given regularly to someone who has dementia, reflexology can prevent and reduce anxiety.  It is important to give reflexology at the first sign of agitation and not wait till the person is in a state of anxiety or panic.  We have seen that regular reflexology sessions can reduce anxiety during sundowning. 
  
2. Reflexology Can Reduce Cognitive Decline Due to Stress  
When we are stressed, we have trouble thinking.  Many of us have experienced going blank before a test or before going on stage.  This is due to stress preventing our brain cells from working properly.  Having any type of dementia is stressful, but when another stress factor is added, such as a moving to a new home or facility, this can lead to increased cognitive decline.  Reflexology is wonderful for reducing stress and can be greatly beneficial for  helping a person with dementia acclimate to his or her new surroundings. 
 
 3. Reflexology Can Connect in a Way Words Cannot 
Reflexology can connect with people at a deeper level to help them return to reality when they seem lost. When a person is in a state of confusion and/or depression, sometimes words are not enough.  Besides feeling the physical touch, reflexology creates a deep inner connection with a person who is confused.  Reflexology sends a lifeline that the person can use to find their way back to reality. Reflexology can allow the person who is confused to feel safe again knowing someone is there who cares.
 
 
 Caregiver giving hand reflexology
Live-in Caregivers, who have learned hand reflexology have reported that reflexology
•Induces better sleep
•Prevents Anxiety
•Helps with digestion issues
•Creates a better relationship between caregiver and client
•Improves mood
  
beit protea caregivers graduation
Nursing home staff who have leanred hand reflexology  have reported that reflexology: 
 •Calms
•Allows better participation in activities
 •Improves sleep
 •May reduce amount of medication 
 •Relaxes muscles (especially for people who have  Parkinson’s)
 •Promotes better digestion
 •Allows for easier adaptation to the facility
 
 Reflexology is a simple, safe, yet effective method that should be taught and used by caregivers and senior facility staff to help calm and connect with those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. It can be especially helpful for new residents to adapt to their new surroundings. Every senior facility should have a reflexogist on staff  to help reduce residents' anxiety and help them feel safe.
 
 Oran Aviv has been a reflexologist for 25 years and has worked with people who have dementia for the past 12.  During the last 6 years she has studied and incorporated Validation into her work.  Validation is a way of communicating with people who have cognitive decline.  Today Oran is a Certified Validation teacher and combines both the principles of hand reflexology and Validation to teach caregivers and senior facility staff around the world. Oran is also the recipient of the Geller Prize for her work helping people with who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.  
  To learn more please follow us on:   email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   
 Workshop info:   http://www.reflexandmore.com/en/courses/103-hands-on-dementia 
 
Photo of eBook Beyond Words  
 
Oran’s first book Beyond Words, Using Hand Reflexology to Help Your Loved One with Dementia, is soon coming out as an eBook workshop for family caregivers.  Please contact us at oran@reflexandmore if you would like to be notified when the eBook will be available. 
 
 
 


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