Reflexology is a deeply relaxing and energising holistic therapy which works on the principle that every organ and system of the body has a corresponding point or zone in the feet. For example, the spot in the centre of the big toe corresponds to the pituitary gland, and on the ball of the foot underneath the big toe there is a point that corresponds to the thyroid gland. These reflex areas are arranged in such a way as to form a map of the whole body through the feet. The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body and the left foot corresponds to the left. Furthermore, each reflex point can be located within 1 of ten equal vertical zones which end in the fingers and toes.
Reflexology is primarily an energy based treatment with the premise that in essence we are all made of energy, and all living things have a life-force energy which flows through us. The body is often in a state of imbalance; physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and particularly after illness, injury or periods of stress. These imbalances cause our vital energy pathways to block, and prevent the body from functioning effectively. Reflexology aims to release any blockages and restore the free flow of energy, and circulation to the whole body.
The method has been used for several thousands of years and is known to have been practised in a similar manner by the Chinese and the Egyptians. More recently, Reflexology was described in the form in which it is now known by the late Eunice Ingham, an American lady, who based her method of treatment on work called ‘Zone Therapy’ which had been described some years earlier in the 1920’s by an American, Dr. William Fitzgerald. The main pioneer of Reflexology in Great Britain was the late Doreen Bayly who introduced the method in the early 1960’s and whose great determination to stimulate awareness and interest in the method should not be forgotten.
A reflexologist uses her hands to apply pressure to the reflex areas in the feet (and sometimes the hands). The therapy and the effects are unique to each person. Sensitive, trained hands can detect tiny deposits and imbalances from touching the feet and by working on these reflex points can release blockages and restore the bodys flow of energy. Tensions are eased and the circulation and elimination improved. The body is encouraged to heal itself. Since reflexology treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of particular problems, most people can benefit from treatment; therefore reflexology can be considered ideal for almost everyone. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonising the body.
The Benefits of Reflexology
Over 75% of all doctors visits for ailments and complaints are stress related. Stress depletes our immunity, raises blood pressure, disrupts our digestive systems, and can cause hormonal imbalances. When we are stressed our body’s defences break down and we become more susceptible to illness and disease. Reflexology reduces stress by generating deep tranquil relaxation, helping the body balance itself and allowing healing energy to flow.
Blood needs to flow freely throughout the body carrying oxygen and nutrients to all the cells and removing the waste products of metabolism and other toxins. By reducing stress and tension, reflexology allows the cardiovascular vessels to conduct the flow of blood naturally and easily.
Stimulated Nerve Function
By stimulating thousands of nerves in the feet, reflexology encourages the opening and clearing of neural pathways. It interrupts pain pathways, reducing pain.
Improved Immune System
Reflexology stimulates the lymphatic system thus reducing risk of infection. It cleanses the body of toxins and impurities and also stimulates the production of endorphins, leading to an improved immune system and sense of well-being.
Reflexology revitalises energy throughout the body by relaxing and opening up energy pathways.
Reflexology does not claim to be a ‘cure-all’ but numerous different disorders have been successfully treated by this method. These disorders include: migraine, sinus problems, hormonal imbalances, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems and tension and stress. Most people who have experienced treatment would agree that the method can be most beneficial and is also a very relaxing therapy.
What to Expect from a Treatment
During your first reflexology session your therapist will conduct a confidential consultation and ask you questions about your medical history, diet, and lifestyle. She will then discuss how reflexology may be beneficial to you. Once formal consent has been given, following signatures from the client and the Reflexologist, treatment can commence, providing no contraindications* have been identified.
The treatment takes place with you lying in a semi-reclined position on a professional massage couch. You will be asked to remove only your shoes and socks and your feet will then cleansed with a refreshing solution. The therapist will then examine the feet before commencing a relaxing foot massage. Throughout the treatment your therapist will apply specific pressure all over the foot/reflex points, increasing or decreasing pressure according to findings. Clients may experience some mild discomfort in certain areas, however this will usually be brief and it will indicate areas of imbalance in the body. Generally the treatment will feel wonderful, relaxing and soothing. The treatment will conclude with a relaxing foot massage.
The first treatment (including initial free consultation) will take around an hour and 10 minutes. The subsequent treatments will generally last around 50 minutes. A course of treatments can vary depending on individual needs and can be discussed with the Reflexologist.
* When treatment cannot be performed or when medical advice should be sought prior to treatment.