What Is Reflexology
Reflexology is a safe form of treatment that has been practiced for centuries, throughout the world ever since humans first set foot on earth. The therapeutic effect of walking over the uneven surfaces of the earth’s terrain is Reflexology at its most basic. The stones, the rocks, the soil and roots massaged our feet without us really even being aware of it, and passively stimulated our entire body. Unfortunately this benefit has been lost since the common use of sandals and shoes. This is where Reflexology becomes useful.
There are depictions in ancient Egyptian temple walls, on the tomb of Ptahhotep, and the wall of the Sun Temple of Pharaoh Niusserre of the sixth dynasty, where a foot massage is being performed. One can deduct that foot massages where highly revered in those days, and with good reason. The term Reflexology may be new, but foot massages have been around for a very long time.
Knowledge of Reflexology has been passed down from generation to generation by oral traditions. Through the gentle massage and manipulation of reflexes in the feet, it was found, that favourable reactions occurred elsewhere in the body. These foot reflexes mirror not only the position of all bodily parts in miniature, but also their ease and disease.
The front of the body is reflected in the soles of the feet, whilst the back is mirrored onto the tops of the feet.
- The toes represent the head
- The hard balls of the feet represent the bony rib cage
- The fleshy insteps represent the soft abdomen
- The firm heels reflect the pelvic bones
- The outer ankle bones represent the hip bone
Since the body consists of a variety of tissue, such as viscera, muscle, fascia, blood and lymphatic vessels, nervous tissue, with many parts overlapping one another, a single reflex point can represent several areas. There are also secondary reflexes, which are on the opposite side of the foot. When these secondary points are massaged, the primary points are also stimulated. This also explains the slight variations in different Reflexology foot charts.
There are many different theories that explain how Reflexology works, which has resulted in a variety of different approaches, all of which have the same aim of contributing to the receivers well being. While some therapists work mostly along the meridians that are used by acupuncturists and Shiatsu practitioners, other therapists stimulate the nerve endings or use the energy zones. There is much evidence to show that regardless of the approach, Reflexology alters the state of the mind and body, allowing natural life force to penetrate the cells, which automatically replenishes the energy flow on every level.
The stresses and pressures of everyday living, combined with social conditioning, family expectations, unbending attitudes and set belief systems can make the body and mind rigid and closed off. This coupled with poor nutrition and hydration, and allergies are a good ingredients for ill health. When however, the thoughts are harmoniously in tune with the natural flow of life forces, then the body is able to function efficiently and effectively. Conflict, stress and turmoil are distressing and alarming to the body, which immediately displays signals or symptoms, to make the individual aware of the unnatural state of affairs.
Although much research has been done to substantiate the effects of Reflexology, the medical profession is still sceptical about the claimed benefits. The problem arises, that the doctors don’t believe anything that hasn’t been approved by the FDA. There is some interesting independent research that has been done on Reflexology and some of the results are listed below:
- 24 Studies have been carried out, measuring brain activity with an EEG machine. All 24 studies demonstrate that Reflexology creates a change in the body’s level of tension, brain wave activity, blood pressure, pulse rate and level of anxiety
- 27 Studies confirmed that Reflexology reduces pain with birthing mothers, menstruating women, phantom limb pain sufferers , kidney stone patients, senior citizens and patients recovering from surgery
- Reflexology assists with depression, perceived stress, blood pressure, natural killer cells
- 8096 case studies have been performed and then reported in the 1996 China Reflexology symposium. It states that Reflexology was applied to 63 different health problems, with a 49% success rate with “all symptoms and signs disappear completely and does not recur over a 3-6 month period. At 3-6 months some symptoms and sign do recur “but in a lesser degree with marked improvement”
- Reflexology improves blood flow.
- Reflexology enhances medical care
- Reflexology benefits mental health
Reflexology has many more health benefits, and the results speak for themselves. The procedure of Reflexology should be conducted in a quiet, tranquil environment that allows the client to completely relax and let go. Few things are as deeply relaxing as Reflexology. CranioSacral therapy and Hypnotherapy can be equally relaxing and work on similar levels with the aim to deeply relax the body to achieve the desired results. CranioSacral Therapy as well as Hypnotherapy however work primarily on the head, where as Reflexology concerns itself primarily with the feet.
The absence of conversation during the treatment prevents the client from staying in the head so that the body’s tone can remain neutral and more receptive.Loose clothes should be worn by both the client and the practitioner. It is ideal for the practitioner to harmonize their breath with the client, so that an energetic dialogue, a tuning into the client can take place. The mood and intention of the practitioner before and during the treatment is significantly important, as this creates the intention for the treatment and often determines the quality of touch. All this, the client will pick up on some level. It is far more beneficial for the practitioner to be focusing on the loving touch of the treatment, than to think about the shopping list.
Since disease and illness are mostly psychosomatic and stress related, total healing can only take place with a change of attitude, which is much easier when relaxed and at ease. Reflexology opens the mind, clears the consciousness and assists in dealing with the stressful aspects of life.
Understanding our emotions is part of the healing process. As restrictive beliefs and principles are released, greater awareness enriches the quality of our lives. Through our minds we can create our own happiness. When every situation is seen to be an exciting challenge, everyone has the opportunity to become who they truly desire to be.