Reflexology is the principle that there are reflexes in the hands and feet that correspond to all the other parts of the body. It is an ancient healing system that helps the body to return to its natural state of well being and balance.
Nobody really knows how reflexology actually works, though there is evidence that the nervous system is involved and many of the more evolved schools of reflexology tend to focus on the energy meridians in the body. There are many different schools of thought on why reflexology might work: my own belief is that there is a healing mechanism which helps people to heal themselves.
What is the difference between reflexology and a foot massage? Reflexology stimulates the nervous system, whereas a massage works on the soft tissue and muscle of the foot.
This natural healing technique relieves stress, promotes relaxation, and increases blood circulation through the stimulation of reflexology points and meridians.
It is a gentle therapy that aims to encourage the body to restore its natural state of well being and health.
Stress is a factor in 70% of illness. Reflexology provides a wonderful way to de-stress, relax and unwind.
Reflexology may help relieve congestion, aid circulation, relax muscles, calm overactivity in any part of the body, and stimulate under activity.
Reflexologists cannot claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe.
Reflexology may be effective for many conditions including:
- Chronic pain
- Back pain
- Tingling sensations in limbs
- Stress and stress related conditions
- Digestive problems
- Hormonal imbalances
- Fertility issues
- Pregnancy – reflexology is a natural safe therapy for every pregnant woman. Dr Gowri Motha of the gentle birthing method suggests if you have one therapy during pregnancy make it reflexology.
- IVF – reflexology helps to boost circulation to all parts of the body, including the uterus and ovaries. Tony Porter and Lindsay Macmillan found that ART reflexology could boost the blood flow to the uterus by up to 20% – great news for anyone struggling to have a healthy lining.
- Painful periods
- Headaches / migraines
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic fatigue
- Plantar Fascilitis
Reflexology is not a foot massage. Massage involves manipulation of soft tissue and muscle, reflexology stimulates the nerve pathways.
What to expect from a reflexology session
It can take a few sessions for the body to get used to reflexology. I have found that clients experience more benefits when they have their first three sessions close together – within a week for example then schedule sessions on a regular basis. This can be weekly or monthly, depending on the client’s needs.
- In the first session, we will discuss your lifestyle and symptoms, your needs and expectations as well as reflexology in general terms. This will all help to give a fuller picture about you as a person not just as a set of symptoms. Everything we discuss is confidential.
- I tend to commence every session with a gentle foot wash and I will work the entire foot and lower leg so please wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing that allows access to below the knee.
- Where possible I use organic creams and oils. It is a good idea to wear cotton socks so that you can get the full benefit of these wonderful creams soaking into the feet and legs (and to prevent you slipping about in your shoes!).
- How your body reacts to its first reflexology session varies from person to person. I encourage all clients to drink plenty of water after a reflexology session, better to sip constantly for the rest of the day rather then knock back one large drink.
- Some people feel cold immediately afterwards, while others feel deep relaxation or sometimes an overwhelming need to sleep. I suggest that new clients keep the agenda free, or at least not too busy, after your first session.
There are many myths as to when reflexology can and cannot be practiced. I very proud that I trained with one of the more established reflexology schools and their list of contraindications include the following:
Blood clot “Thrombosis” – Anyone with a blood clot will be referred immediately to their doctor. Reflexology boosts circulation and that boost in circulation could cause that clot to move and cause further injury.
Acupuncture point “spleen 6” is contraindicated until late pregnancy. It is thought to “tone” the uterus and therefore not recommended until late pregnancy. All other times it is perfectly safe to work this point.
During recovery from serious illness or with chronic illnesses – for example chronic fatigue – as well as those undergoing chemotherapy may require a shorter treatment initially to ensure that the body doesn’t over react.