Reflexology for you
Reflexology is a profoundly relaxing treatment which has countless benefits for your general health and well-being. Simply reclining in a comfy chair for one hour is a great start for anyone, but as you rest your therapist is gently stimulating various reflexes on your feet so that your whole body – including the organs, central nervous system, circulation etc. - gets a workout. Reflexology is proven to help you relax, improve circulation, relieve insomnia, detox the body, reduce pain, promote better mental health, aid post-operative care, assist pregnancy and labor, complement traditional medicine and much more besides. A single treatment is often enough to calm and nurture a person to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. Otherwise for minor persistent ailments or chronic illnesses, a series of weekly treatments is recommended to reset the body's natural balance and improve physical and mental well-being. And of course, everyone can benefit from a monthly reflexology treat! It is important to remember : a reflexologist cannot diagnosis or prescribe. Reflexology is a complement to medical help not a replacement for it. You should seek medical help if you have an urgent or acute problem. Reflexology is not advised for pregnant women during the first trimester.
How reflexology works
Reflexology works by applying pressure to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. Sometimes known as zone therapy, Reflexology is based on the principle of the body being divided into a ten longtitudinal zones. All reflexes found within each zone are connected, eg. in zone 1 amongst other reflexes we find the brain, spinal column and intestines. Therefore the reflexologist might treat the intestinal reflex to manage a client's migraines as well as massaging the brain and spinal reflexes. The body is completely mapped on the feet to reflect the location of every internal organ, allowing the reflexologist to exactly locate the part of the body she wishes to treat. By massaging this reflex, the therapist is stimulating the flow of blood and energy to that particular organ so that the body begins to repair itself and restore the normal health to that part of the body, effecting a physical change.
The client can also learn to treat himself using reflexology techniques applied to the hands, either his own fingers and thumbs or additional props such as a golf ball (to roll around the palms) or a foot roller. The attraction of using reflexology to treat yourself is that it can be practised at any time when needed and at regular intervals. However, it is important that these self-help methods are applied following the guidelines of a qualified practitioner who can advise you of any contraindications.
History of Reflexology
The origins of Reflexology evidently reach back to ancient Egypt (around 2330 BC) as evidenced by inscriptions found in the physician’s tomb at Saqqara in Egypt. The translation of the hieroglyphics are as follows: "Don’t hurt me." The practitioner’s reply:- " I shall act so you praise me. " Other archaeological evidence shows forms of reflexology in practice in China around 2704 BC and in Japan around 690 AD. In the West, Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, M.D, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Connecticut, USA called his research work and practice “zone analgesia” as he discovered that the application of pressure on the zones not only relieved pain but in the majority of cases also relieved the underlying cause as well.
It is this connection between reflex and healing which is used in modern Reflexology, based partially on zone therapy. Riley added horizontal zones across the feet, a precursor to the “mapping” of the feet developed by Eunice D. Ingham. There is a distinct difference between Zone Therapy and Reflexology. Zone therapy relies solely on the zones to determine the area to be worked, whereas Reflexology takes the zones as well as the anatomical model to determine the area or areas to be worked.
Eunice D. Ingham, Riley's assistant, started developing her foot reflex theory in the early 1930's and wrote two important books on reflexology as we know it today: "Stories The feet can tell through reflexology" and "Stories the feet have told through reflexology". Her experience and dedication to developing a recognized form of reflexology still inspire reflexologists around the world today. Her work has been translated into seven foreign languages.