Reflexology is a complementary, alternative therapy. Some call it an art of stress reduction, relaxing, definitely. It is a form of complete healing that can detect and correct energy imbalances. It is also known as zone therapy, in which pressure is applied to the feet, lower leg, face, hands and ears with a finger, thumb and hand technique of a physician, to treat a wide range of ailments and to promote total well-being and optimum health. The feet and hands are regarded as mirrors of the body, and pressure on specific points (reflexes) found, correspond to different areas of the body, through a series of longitudinal and transverse zones. “Why the feet? you may ask”, well there are an unusually high number of nerve endings in the feet that are linked to various parts of the body. Reflexology is a holistic technique, It does not aim to “cure” illness, but works to enable the body and mind to recover a balanced energy flow and to encourage the body’s own natural healing process. Through the stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, which remove toxic fluids from the body, reflexology encourages the release of these toxins allowing the body to heal itself. The dictionary definition of a Reflex is, an involuntary or instinctive movement in response to a stimulus.
Principles of Reflexology
Reflexologists use the tips of their fingers and thumbs to apply firm, though not heavy, pressure to the reflex points on the patient’s feet or hands to assess the patient’s health. They use charts to guide them as they apply pressure to certain points. Each reflex point is linked to a specific organ, gland or part of the body. In each reflex point the therapist can determine whether the organ or gland is working as it should be. Therapists or practitioners often use objects such as rubber balls or specially carved sticks of wood to assist them in their work.They will also use such techniques as rubbing, kneading, rotation and finger or thumb pressure.
History of Reflexology
Because Reflexology is an ancient practice, it is still a mystery of its true origin. Some say it originated from chinese and eastern traditions. There is evidence of foot and hand therapy being performed in China as far back as 4000 B.C. This was also depicted at the same time in Egypt. Between 2500 to 2330 B.C it was depicted in the Egyptian tomb of Ankhmahor along with other medical procedures. Forms of foot massage were used by healers in many ancient lands, from Egypt to Tibet to China to Japan. Native Americans have been using similar techniques for centuries. However Reflexology was developed in America in the 20th century. During the 16th century a number of books were published on zone therapy. It is believed Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s introducing Reflexology to Europe. In 1582, a book was published called Zone Therapy, a book written about an integral element of Reflexology. Dr William Fitzgerald is known as being the father of ‘zone therapy’. In 1917 he co-authored a book, named “Zone Therapy”. In this book it states that he discovered this therapy in 1909, but does not state where he became upon the theory. His theory included ten vertical zones that extended the length of the body. He found that applying pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of trauma could help with pain relief. Dr Shelby then accompanied Dr Fitzgerald and developed a map of horizontal zones going across the body and a detailed map of reflex points on the hands and feet. In the late 1890s and early 1900s massage techniques were developed in Germany that became known as ‘Reflex Massage’. This was the first time this massage technique was credited with reflex actions.
Health Benefits of Reflexology
The wonderful thing about this therapy is that it is a holistic approach, so there will always be more than one benefit. People of all ages can enjoy the benefits of this technique, babies and children often respond well to reflexology, as do the elderly & pregnant women. Each case is obviously treated differently and specifically to one’s needs.
Improves oxygen and blood supply throughout the body
Stress Relief with deep relaxation
Helps cognitive processes and neural pathways
Helps remove toxins
Boost sluggish circulation
Relief from back pain, sciatica migraine and headache
Useful for treating irritable bowel syndrome, poor digestion, bladder problems, menopausal and period pain
Help with symptoms of asthma and respiratory problems
Helps with fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome
Skin conditions such as Psoriasis
Speeds up recovery after an injury or surgery
Helps ease the treatment of different types of cancer
Whilst you can expect pressure on your reflexology session, visits will vary in a general feeling or level of relaxation to slight discomfort depending on the pressure applied and the trauma to the specific organ or body part.
The feet are the mirror to how the quality of life impacts on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual balance of the person. Using Reflexology can improve the balance in your body through the method of touch.