Holistic Therapy

Reflexology

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology (or foot reflexology) is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears. Reflexology is generally relaxing and may be an effective way to alleviate stress. is a therapy based on the principle that there are small and specific areas of innervation in the hands and feet that correspond to specific muscle groups or organs of the body. In this system, the nerve endings in the extremities provide a “map” of the rest of the body. Examples are the base of the little toe representing the ear, or the ball of the foot representing the lung.

The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body. Proponents believe that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits the person’s health.

 Reflexologists use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to specific areas. Sometimes these practitioners use items, such as rubber balls, rubber bands and sticks of wood, to assist in their work. Practitioners of reflexology include chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists, among others.

Reflexology is generally considered safe, although very vigorous pressure may cause discomfort for some people.

Most people think it’s a foot massage, and unfortunately, some spa therapists treat it like that.   It’s also widely though to be an ancient Chinese treatment.  While it certainly owes a debt to the past, reflexology as a treatment modality was actually developed in America in the 20th century.

What you need to know about Reflexology?

  • Reflexology can be a good treatment choice for people who want to keep their clothes on during a massage. It is also a good choice if you are pressed for time and don’t want to get oil on your body or in your hair.
  • You should ask what kind of specific training or certification the therapist has in reflexology. Any massage therapist or esthetician, who are both licensed to work on the body, can legally give you “reflexology” even though they’ve had minimal training. It’s better to get reflexology from someone who has been though a specific reflexology training and certification program.
  • Reflexology was first developed in the United States in the early 20th century, and was called “zonal therapy” in its earliest incarnations. It is based on the theory that the body is divided into ten zones running longitudinally from head to toe — five on each side of the body. Practitioners believe that pressure on reflex points on the foot or hand will affect body organs in the same zone.
  • In recent years, reflexology practitioners have begun to incorporate the acupressure techniques of Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) into their work. Although reflexology is based on the theory of “zones” instead of T.C.M.’s theory of “meridians” or energy pathways, both treatments are based on the principle that working on specific points can bring about a therapeutic effect in other parts of the body.
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