Benefits of Reflexology
Energy runs through the body in channels known as meridians and massage of the feet stimulates these energy channels, promoting healing and relaxation. In Reflexology, every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and so receiving a reflexology treatment is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.
There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet, and these are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing. Reflexology is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens, harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress is reduced.
Ancient history tells us that many early civilisations worked on the feet for keeping good health. Over time, these techniques have been refined to the modern day treatment of Reflexology. Reflexology is based on the premise that there are energy zones running through the body, and areas of the feet, that correspond to major organs, body parts and glands.
Three key figures in history are responsible for Reflexology as we know it today. The first of these is Dr. William Fitzgerald who, in the early twentieth century, gave proof that applying pressure to one body area affected a corresponding area. Dr. Edwin Bowers, who worked alongside Fitzgerald, first demonstrated this in action on a live volunteer. In the 1930s, the physiotherapist Eunice Ingham developed her own theory of ‘zone therapy’. She found that feet were a highly sensitive and responsive area to work on, and eventually mapped the entire human body to areas of the feet. Ingham proved that the therapeutic effects of foot work were significant.
Scientifically, a Reflexologist helps to open and clear neural pathways for nerve function to be optimal. When both feet are treated, 14,000 nerves will be stimulated. This generates a feeling of deep relaxation which is beneficial for healing and stress reduction. Long-term, this will enable better stress coping strategies and better overall health. Circulation is also improved as stress causes the cardiovascular system to tighten, restricting blood flow. The relaxation promoted by Reflexology also causes the body to eliminate toxins and waste products more efficiently.
Reflexology is based on ten energy zones running through the body from head to toe; five on either side of the body. The feet are a perfect mini-map of the body, aswell as being highly sensitive and receptive. The maps are divided into five zones and divisions corresponding to key areas of the body.
Eunice Ingham devised six key reflexology techniques:-
- Thumb walking
- Finger walking
- Rotation on a point
- Pivot on a point
- Flexing on a point
- Hook and back-up
People live busy and often stressful lives. It is important to recognize that energy needs to be restored and revitalized at times, as general well-being can be affected. Reflexology is a technique that acts on revitalizing the body and reenergizing the overall system. This in turn strengthens a person’s immune system, making them less susceptible to illness. It also improves mental energy and positive outlook, which improves relationships with others.
In summary, Reflexology facilitates healing in the body through the manipulation of specific areas in the feet. Our feet tend to be neglected, despite all that they go through day in and day out, and what is not commonly realized is that pain and discomfort in the feet is often transferred elsewhere in the body. Like a Reiki practitioner, a Reflexologist also acts as a channel for healing and life-force energy, to maintain homeostasis.