Reflexology is a gentle therapy which is usually done on the feet – or hands if preferred
So what is Reflexology? The basic principle of Reflexology is that both the feet and hands have reflex zones, or nerve endings all over them that are linked, via energy pathways, to corresponding parts, organs and glands of the body. In reflexology the feet ‘reflect’ and are a mirror of the body, these areas are arranged in such a way as to form a Reflexology Map in the feet that represents the body, with the right foot corresponding to the right hand side of the body and the left foot to the left hand side of the body.
It is thought that illness occurs when ‘energy channels’ in the body are blocked, causing damage to one area or another. A reflexologist will use their anatomical knowledge to provide Reflexology to a recipient by applying appropriate, gentle pressure using their fingers and thumbs on these points. This stimulates the body to release ‘blockages’ through energy been moved along the ‘pathways’ or meridians to the relevant parts of the body helping the body to rebalance and begin to heal itself.
Reflexology aims to treat the body as a whole, allowing not only symptoms to be treated but also their causes. It is a non-invasive holistic therapy which will help the body become relaxed and calm, balanced and have improved nerve and blood supply. A reflexology treatment will help your body rebalance thus normalizing the functioning of your body and aiding it to begin to heal itself.
The History of Reflexology
In looking at the History of Reflexology we find that Historical records show that the benefits of massaging the feet have been appreciated within many cultures, and in fact, it was practised as early as 2330 BC by the Egyptians. It was also practised in ancient India and historians have reported that Buddhist monks who travelled to China took the techniques of reflexology with them.
Whilst there is no documented evidence to support it, there is also a widespread belief that a form of reflexology was passed to the Native Americans by the Incas. For centuries the Cherokee Indians have used a form of reflex pressure on the feet to heal and balance the body. In the early 20th Century Dr William Fitzgerald, head of the Nose and Throat Department of St Francis Hospital in Connecticut USA practised reflexology and claims to have discovered Zone Therapy. His findings led him to ‘map out’ areas of the body and he noted conditions affected by pressure on certain points on the feet.
As you can see the history of Reflexology is broad and wide and our understanding of Reflexology as we know it today was pioneered by Eunice Ingham, who saw the natural benefits derived from it. From the 1930′s she researched and developed the specific thumb and finger massage techniques Linda will use during your treatment. Eunice was the founder of the Institute of Reflexology and her work still continues today.
Is Reflexology suitable for everyone?
There are certain illnesses or conditions, such as varicose veins or some contagious diseases, when Reflexology may not be appropriate or your doctor’s consent may be needed or a simple modification (such as covering a verruca) may be required. A Reflexologist will carry out a full consultation before treating clients and any contra-indications will be discussed at this time.
During pregnancy Reflexology can be used but has to be used with caution. It is not generally advisable to carry out this treatment during the first and last trimesters of pregnancy; although some midwives are now recommending it during the very late stages in order to induce labour more naturally. This has happened in my own experience but, of course, every case must be considered very carefully and practitioners should work alongside the recommendations of other professionals.
There are those who swear by the use of reflexology to aid fertility and it has been documented by some who have said they have conceived following this treatment when they could not do so from other treatments.