Reflexology is used around the world to help relieve painful and obtrusive symptoms. Practitioners do not claim to diagnose or cure underlying health conditions, however they can determine areas of the body needing attention by pain responses in specific zones, principally in the feet.
Some countries, such as Denmark and Norway, use reflexology widely as an alternative therapy to promote healing and circulation. China and Egypt have long histories of using reflexology.
The practice was introduced in the United States by ear, nose and throat specialist, William Fitzgerald, M.D. Later, Eunice Ingham, a nurse and physiotherapist mapped out the “zone therapy” of reflexology, which is used today by most reflexology practitioners today.
Is Reflexology A Foot Massage Therapy?
Reflexology is a form of bodywork, although many people mistake it as being a foot massage therapy. The difference is, a foot massage is just that, a massage on the foot, however, reflexology is more about placing pressure on the ‘reflex zones’ and they can be the foot, hands or ears.
During a reflexology session, specific pressure is gently applied to certain points on the hands, feet or ears which correspond to the body’s organs and various systems such as respiratory and nervous systems.
Points of The Foot, Point to The Problem
For example, one particular point on the foot’s arch affects the bladder. When pressure from the practitioner’s thumbs and fingers is applied to that area, bladder functioning may be affected in a positive and healthful manner.
Although controversial, some reflexologists claim that the reflexology technique can relieve the blockage of energy fields (invisible life force).
Energy fields (Qi) are contested at a scientific level, but reflexology claims that the blockage of an energy field can prevent healing and balance of body functions, which is why the unblocking of these promotes faster healing.
The Health Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology can help to release endorphins in the body which promote healing and relieve stress and pain. It can help relieve many conditions and some of the benefits are:
- Provides relief from headaches
- Relieves fibromyalgia pain
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Assists the health of the urinary tract
- Promotes relaxation and better sleep
- Improves circulation, and more.
During a reflexology session (30 to 60 minutes in duration), the patient removes shoes and socks and usually relaxes in a recliner or other comfortable chair. Pressure is then applied by the reflexologist and specific areas (corresponding to certain body organs) of the hands and feet are stretched and massaged.
It’s a pleasant and relaxing experience that helps to relieve stress and promote a sense of well-being. In addition to its more systemic symptom relief, many people use reflexology treatments to relieve leg, feet and toe neuropathy or pain in the hands and feet.
As Reflexology is a relaxing and gentle form of bodywork, it is also safe for pregnant women. It can help relieve their stress and anxiety as well as easing any specific pain they may be experiencing from their pregnancy.
A Reflexologist may be well worth a visit if you are experiencing any health problems, as they will be able to locate where the problem lies, simply by pressing on a few trigger points.