What is Reflexology?
It is a holisitic healing method where application of massage and pressure is applied to the hands and feet on specific reflex points. These reflex points correspond to different organs and structures of the body. Think of it as a map of the body systems on the hands and feet. These reflex zones are connected through natural energy pathways of the body. When these energy pathways become blocked, dysfunction may occur in the body. Reflexology breaks down these blockages, opening up the free flow of energy, which allows the body to heal itself.
Where did Reflexology originate?
Although the specific origin remains unknown, it can be traced back as far as 12,000 BC where Incas used zone therapy and it is theorized that they passed this knowledge to the North American Indians who still use it today. The practice of using feet pressure points in India and China can be trace back 5,000 years. There is even evidence dating back to 2330 BC in an Egyptian tomb drawing depicting treatment to the hands and feet. The practice of modern reflexology can be attributed to Dr. William Fitzgerald (1872-1942) who studied the connection between reflex points, practiced them on his patients and developed the theory of the ten zones in the body. He later made the connection that working these zones not only relieved pain, but relieved the underlying cause as well.
What are the benefits of Reflexology?
Some benefits include deep relaxation, increased circulation, improved sleep, reduced depression, pain relief, increased energy levels, inhibition of migraines and relief of anxiety. It's also known to stimulate the nervous system, nerve function and even can soothe a variety of cancer treatments
What do I expect from a Reflexology session?
A typical reflexology session is anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes long for the average adult. Babies and children can receive benefits from reflexology but should be kept to shorter session times around 10 minutes or less. Some treatments begin with a footbath with mineral salts to help clean the feet and warm up the tissue. Lotion is applied to the area being worked, followed by specific thumb or finger pressure to the entire foot or hand. The practitioner may apply focused work on areas that are tender which indicates the need for extra attention, to crystalline deposits that might be blocking the flow of qi and any areas the client is experiencing issues with. After a session it's ideal to drink plenty of water to aid in the removal of toxins released from the treatment.
When should I not get Reflexology?
Clients with foot fractures, unhealed wounds, or active gout are discouraged from receiving reflexology on their feet. Those with osteoarthritis that impacts the foot or ankle, or those with vascular disease of the legs or feet should consult with their primary provider before receiving reflexology. Those who have current thrombosis or embolism should not receive reflexology as improved circulation could cause clots to move to the heart or brain. For women in early pregnancy the uterine and ovarian reflex points should be avoided or worked gently due to report that this area can stimulate contractions.
To view an interactive reflexology chart click here.
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The Reflexology Manual - An easy-to-use illustrated guide to the healing zones of the hands and feet, by Pauline Wills
Page updated: 01/31/17