Reflexology is a form of touch therapy that is based on the belief that different parts of the body are reflected on the feet, hands, face and ears. By working these areas, the body is able to relax and restore itself to a form of equilibrium. It is generally used for relaxation and wellbeing with some reflexologists specialising in hormonal regulation and fertility.
The theory is that organs of the body are mirrored or mapped out on the feet, hands, face or ears as below.
By working these areas, the reflexologist is able to bring areas of tension or stagnation back into balance, to promote a sense of wellbeing. Each individual’s treatment is different with emphasis placed on areas that feel different to the sensitive touch of the therapist’s hands.
There are three theories as to how Reflexology works. One is that the nervous system connecting the brain, body systems and skin is especially responsive to touch. The second is that pain in the body is able to reduce as a response to a calming touch, which is what Reflexology is. And the third centres around ‘Zone therapy’ which is another belief that the body is split into 10 zones with body systems in each zone able to be balanced if a corresponding body part in the same zone is worked on.
Scientific research is becoming more common with some evidence showing Reflexology is beneficial to:
reduce stress and anxiety
improve general well-being
In addition some people have reported improvements in:
boost their immune system
get over colds and bacterial infections
clear up sinus issues
recover from back problems
correct hormonal imbalances
ease arthritis pain
treat nerve problems and numbness from cancer drugs (peripheral neuropathy)
Reflexology is a complementary therapy that can be received by anyone, from babies to those receiving end of life care. As with most complementary therapies there are some occasions when it may be unsuitable to receive a treatment and, in these circumstances, speak to your qualified therapist. It is never used as a medical treatment; however, it can be used alongside conventional medical treatment to enhance wellbeing.
At a treatment your medical history will be taken and you will be requested to sign a consultation form. Most clothing will be kept on with only shoes and socks taken off and any trouser legs rolled up to mid-calf if receiving a treatment to the feet. The therapist will use their hands to apply gentle pressure to your feet, hands, face or ears. The generally feeling should be relaxation and some people fall asleep during a treatment. Most people will feel a sense of relaxation. It will be helpful to your reflexologist if you report any sensations felt during or after the treatment. Sometimes a course of treatments is recommended. This will depend on your aims of the treatment and the outcomes.
Reflexology is a wonderfully, relaxing treatment that allows most people time to escape their life, relax and enjoy a form of touch therapy. The benefits form those three things are yet to be quantified but most people already appreciate them.