Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Understanding Reflexology, Explained

Reflexology is an holistic therapy which treats the well-being of the whole person, not just their physical symptoms, but also their mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual levels too.

The reflex points on the feet (and hands) represent a map of the entire body, and stimulating a specific point/area on the foot (or hand) will bring about a positive effect in the corresponding body part.

Reflexology explained, diagram of reflex points/areas on the feet, correspond with body parts
Reflex points/areas on the feet

Reflexology is closely linked to acupuncture in that it is believed that all the major organs of the body are connected through a system of energy lines called meridians, with the main lines running through the feet and hands.   In Chinese philosophy an energy line can become blocked, causing pain or dysfunction in various body parts connected along the line.  Reflexology can help to release these blockages by the contact stimulation on the feet with the meridians, thereby encouraging the free-flow of energy throughout the body and bringing the bodily functions back into harmony.

As well as stimulating reflex points and meridians, reflexology helps to improve the circulation around the whole body and also stimulates a mass of nerve endings in the feet, thus helping to balance out the nervous system, releasing tension and encouraging relaxation.  Because reflexology can help to induce deep relaxation, the body is automatically put in the right environment to energise its own healing system.
Origins of Reflexology

Foot pressure and massage has been used for thousands of years.  In Saqqara, Egypt, a pictograph dated around 2500-2330 B.C. was found in the tomb of an Egyptian physician called Ankmahor.  It depicted two men working on the feet and hands of two other men.  It is also thought that the Chinese practised this treatment around 5,000 years ago.

Modern reflexology has developed from what was known as Zone Therapy in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  At that time an American ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. William Fitzgerald, discovered that he could create a local anaesthetic effect in certain areas on his patients by applying pressure on his patients’ fingers, using tight elastic bands or small clamps.  He would carry out minor operations using this technique.   Dr. Fitzgerald went on to develop his theory of ten energy zones running the length of the body from feet to head.  This theory was developed further in the 1930s by fellow American, Eunice Ingham, who came up with a map of the whole body on the feet in relation to the zones.   In the 1960s this concept of reflexology was brought to Britain by one of Eunice Ingham’s students, Doreen Bayly, and is now considered a very popular form of treatment.


Who can benefit from Reflexology?

Reflexology is suitable for people of all ages.  It is not a cure, but it can help to stimulate and balance out the body’s own healing energies, enabling an individual to take responsibility for their own well-being.

Numerous conditions can respond to reflexology treatment with great success.  These include:  tension and stress, headaches including migraines, sinus problems, hormonal imbalances including menstrual and menopausal problems, circulatory problems, and even muscular problems.

Even if you have no current health problems, reflexology is an ideal way of maintaining health and well-being, and is an extremely relaxing therapy.


The treatment session explained

On a first visit, the Practitioner will ask the client a little information about him/herself and take notes on his/her medical history.

A client may be asked to take a footbath or have their feet washed.

Once the client is seated comfortably, the Practitioner will begin to examine the client’s feet, progressing to a massage/acupressure type technique covering all areas of both feet (or hands), depending on the state of the client’s health.  (The hands may generally be worked on instead of the feet when a client’s health dictates a more gentle approach to begin with.)

Reflexology foot treatment, specific areas on the foot are stimulated to correspond & help heal specific areas of the body
Reflexology foot treatment

Any areas on the feet which feel tender or uncomfortable when massaged indicate a possible imbalance in the corresponding body part.  The practitioner will know how to interpret the tenderness and will be able to assess the correct pressure to use.

Oils or creams may be used at some point during the treatment, usually towards the end.

Sometimes relaxation music may be lightly played in the background to help the client relax deeper.

The treatment overall is usually a very pleasant experience and should leave a client feeling deeply relaxed.

Most clients will need a number of sessions to bring the body back into complete balance. Each session will usually last approximately 3/4 - 1 hour.  The number of sessions recommended will depend on the condition being treated, but most clients will need a minimum of 6-8 sessions to facilitate their full healing processes.

Some people may exhibit a mild healing crisis after treatment.  This indicates that the body is ridding itself of toxins and as a consequence the eliminating systems may temporarily become more active. These reactions should never be severe and is a good sign that the treatment is working and that the body is bringing itself back into balance.

Practioners seek to work in conjunction with the medical profession and a client is always recommended to see their G.P. for any serious condition.  Practitioners do not diagnose disease, nor can they prescribe pharmaceutical or other products, unless qualified to do so.  A practitioner cannot guarantee a cure for any illness.
N.B.  It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional if you have any concerns regarding your health.

Prices/discounts indicated correct at time of writing/publishing.  E&OE.





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