Reflexology is an alternative or complimentary therapy that involves massaging certain ‘reflex points’ found in the feet and hands which correspond to different parts of the body. While this form of treatment is relatively new in the West, it has been practiced in Egypt, India and China for thousands of years. In 1913, the American William Fitzgerald introduced this therapy to the West as ‘Zone Therapy.’ Fitzgerald noted that reflex points found on the hands and feet were linked to other organs and areas of the body found in the same zone. Eunice Ingham further developed the theory in the 1930’s and found that tension in any part of the foot mirrored the corresponding part of the body. Doreen Bayly introduced reflexology to Great Britain in the 1960’s and it is largely thanks to her that the practice has grown in popularity today.
Who can Benefit From Reflexology?
Reflexology can be beneficial for those suffering from both chronic and acute pain from a wide variety of sources, from migraines to sciatica. The practice can also help reduce stress, which can intensify people’s perception of pain. Problems such as chronic back pain can increase stress, which can in turn increase the level of pain. This cycle can be broken through reflexology, which can reduce the stress which can then reduce the level of painful symptoms. Clients that suffer from problems such as arthritis or sciatica can benefit from twice monthly sessions, while those that suffer from herniated discs or osteoporosis will need to discuss their treatment plans with their reflexology practitioner according to the severity of their pain.
How Does Reflexology Work?
It is very important to note that reflexology does not claim to cure or diagnose ailments, but it can greatly reduce the symptoms of many different ailments. The theory of reflexology is that all parts of the body are represented in different zones found in the feet, with the left foot corresponding to the left side of the body and the right foot corresponding to the right side of the body. These areas are arranged in such a way that the entire body is represented in the feet through what we can think of as a map. By applying pressure at differing strengths, reflexologists claim to be able to release toxins in the corresponding part of the body which in turns allows the body to heal. This therapy can also boost the immune system and circulation, which can help speed up the healing process and prevent the pain from recurring.
What to Expect
During the first visit, the reflexologist will ask questions pertaining to the client’s medical history and current complaints. Once an appropriate treatment has been mapped out, the client will remove his shoes and stockings and sit comfortably in front of the therapist. After a gentle massage, the treatment begins and generally lasts between forty-five minutes and an hour. Clients are encouraged to drink plenty of water after a session to help flush out any toxins that have been released during the therapy.