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Egyptian cave and tomb paintings have been found providing evidence of the use of both hand and foot reflexology treatments. The earliest evidence of reflexology is believed to be that of a 4000 year old Egyptian tomb.
Reflexologists believe that the foot is a micro-representation, or map, of the whole body, with points on the foot corresponding to organs, bones, muscles, and systems of the body. By the use of precise pressure, with the thumb/finger tips, on these specific points called reflexes - it is believed that the nerve impulses triggered (electrochemical nerve impulse) are conducted to the central nervous system - linked to the autonomic nervous system, via a 'reflex action'.
The science of reflexology includes the relation with the neurological system (studies evidence this). For example: a study in Japan used MRI to evidence the effect reflexology had on the brain – while the treatment took place the MRI showed the areas being worked on, and also the area it related to as active.
Reflexology also works with the meridians (energy channels) and energy systems (chakras) of the body (and is believed to open up the energy pathways, allowing energy to flow around the body more easily; making it very balancing. It is believed to use Chi (the Chinese system) or Ki (Japanese) vital energy or universal energy. There are links to acupuncture in terms of the ideas of meridians and energy pathways/systems.
In the development of reflexology it was called Zone Therapy (Dr William Fitzgerald) – he divided the body into longitudinal zones; each zone is linked by energy and therefore what happens in one part of the zone effects other areas within that zone. Later transverse zones were added (as used today) and Eunice Ingham (the mother of modern reflexology) later created the 'mapping' system, similar to how it is used in current use.
Reduces stress – promotes relaxation. Is a means of preventative health care. Reflexology creates both a relaxing and energising effect. Circulation is also believed to be increased, endocrine system balanced, and lymph stimulated, thus creating optimum conditions for healing to take place. I have treated clients with mobility problems, depression, pain, back problems, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety, PMT, for relaxation, and other issues. Please see testimonials.
Many people comment that it has a relaxing then energising effect. As with other holistic therapies – reflexology works on all aspects of the person: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The aim is to involve the client in their own healing – enabling a positive outlook.
Reflexology should normally be a pleasant experience – very few people are unable to tolerate the treatment, as it is not 'tickly' and should not be painful. It's not necessary to work too deeply (or to cause pain) in order for the treatment to be beneficial. Initially, there may be some tender reflexes (usually a 'pleasurable tenderness') – this is part of the interesting aspect of clinical reflexology, and is referred to as 'blocked' or 'out of balance (terms used in reflexology), and may correspond with issues and conditions that the client has, or used to suffer from. Experienced/sensitive therapists are able to feel changes in the feet such as 'crunching' or 'gritty' sensations, which are then often described as 'cleared' during treatment. Reflexologists are Complementary therapists, and we never advise a client to stop taking medications etc.
Sometimes a reflex may be tender on a particular day, or we may detect 'crunchy' reflexes - we may relate this to the client. It does not usually relate to an undiagnosed medical condition, more likely it will coincide with current or past conditions – and is usually simply a temporary imbalance. These blocks or imbalances often clear after one or two session, or a course of reflexology.
Having experienced a treatment, most people enjoy it so much that it becomes a regular choice to receive reflexology, commenting that:
"I began to miss my treatments"
"I can tell when I'm ready for the next treatment"
(Please see testimonials for more details)
This is all positive as it is helping people to begin to listen to their body – to feel when they are more in balance. It can be used simply for relaxation, or to work on specific physical or emotional conditions and issues.
As with most Complementary/Holistic therapies reflexology may require a course of treatments to be effective; just as a course of antibiotics needs to be completed in order for it to be effective, so too Complementary & Alternative therapies (CAM) need time once the process of healing has begun. They can often bring temporary benefits – therefore receiving regular treatments is most helpful, especially initially. Treatments can then become less frequent.
It is relaxing, enjoyable and balancing. Some people like to have reflexology as maintenance after a course of treatments, or as a preventative measure
Reflexology is a stand-alone treatment, however, i also offer reflexology combined with reiki healing and Chakra/aura cleansing – (details below) – please see my reiki pages for further details about reiki. Reiki is a gentle energy, that can be used in combination with, and enhance, other treatments.
After a treatment (or any complementary therapy such as reiki and aromatherapy) the body is striving to restore balance, to create homeostasis – the body's own healing ability. This can create a temporary healing reaction, often the following day. This should be seen as a positive sign that healing is taking place, and a temporary phase. The body will often detoxify as part of the healing. This will be fully explained by your practitioner.
Increased: thirst, urination, excretions
aches and pains
A medical contraindication to reflexology means there is a reason not to treat unless doctor's permission has been gained. (the CTHA).
Many notable Reflexologists have very few listed contra-indications as they believe that the treatment is so beneficial.
Although reflexology is suitable for most people, and is safe, there are a few conditions that prevent treatment, and several that *require care. In the case of some medical conditions such as: diabetes, heart conditions and others, I advise clients to discuss treatments with their GP. Many are supportive. Reiki is suitable for many of the following as an alternative.
Below are some interesting research papers, with links, on reflexology. This will be mainly only the abstracts (summaries) as access to research often requires subscription to journals, or membership of a university.
The Effects of Reflexology in Reducing the Symptoms of Fatigue in People with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Preliminary Study
Multiple Sclerosis: Reflexology