Stress, unfortunately cannot be avoided. Everyday we live with it, in one shape or form. Stress only becomes a problem when we cannot handle it, and then it begins to sap our overall ability to cope with everyday situations. Stress can even inhibit successful communication with the people in our lives.
The stress response is to either fight off the threatening condition, or to flee from it, otherwise known as ‘flight or fight’ reaction, and this is not just in our heads. It reverberates around our entire body. Adrenaline is released, the heart rate quickens, blood pressure rises, digestion and intestinal processes shut down, and your muscles start to lose control, so who wants to stress?
Reflexology therapy is, I believe, a key to relaxation, and reduction in stress levels.
Whilst stressful symptoms do not last long, as they are short term responses, short term damage can be repaired through relaxation. The antidote to a stressed response is, in my view, relaxation and reflexology.
How does Reflexology help with this?
Our feet represent a ‘mirror image’ of what is going on in our bodies, so by working the reflexes in the feet, this encourages the body to heal itself.
History of Reflexology
Who developed this wonderful healing art?
The Ancient healing art of Reflexology has its roots in ancient Egypt, China and India. The earliest known pictorial evidence was discovered in the Egyptian Tomb of the Royal Physician, Ankmahor, at Saqqara, Egypt. This dates back to around 2300BC.
The Modern History of Reflexology dates back to the early 20th Century, when an eminent American ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr William Fitzgerald first discovered the anaesthetising effects, on various parts of the body, when pressure was applied to certain areas of the ‘hands and feet’. Dr Fitzgerald developed an early form of Reflexology which he called 'Zone Therapy' in which the body was divided into 10 longitudinal zones. These zones are like segments of the body, and run from the toes, up through the legs and body, to the head, and then down the arms to the fingers.
Dr Fitzgerald found that there was a ‘flow of energy’ that linked the various parts of the body with a particular zone, and that areas within the same zone affected one another.
This 'Zone Therapy' was further developed by an American physiotherapist, Eunice Ingham, who had been very interested in Dr Fitzgerald's work.
Eunice discovered that the ten zones could be accessed via the ‘feet and hands’, she concentrated on the feet, and through her work she mapped reflex points for the entire body onto the feet. She found that by applying pressure on these 'reflex' areas, a therapeutic effect on the corresponding part of the body, in that zone was achieved.
Eunice Ingham further developed 'Zone Therapy' into what is known as Reflexology today, and she is often referred to as the 'Mother of Modern Reflexology', publishing her first book on the subject, 'Stories the Feet Can Tell' in 1938.
How does Reflexology work?
It is recognised professionally, that stimulating the nerve endings in the feet, encourages the opening, and clearing of neural energy pathways. Reflexology does provide a source of strength, and well being, and should not only be used when we are ill, like a bottle of tablets waiting to be taken.
Reflexology also reduces stress, by generating deep tranquil relaxation, thus inducing the body to rebalance itself, recompose the mind, and allow ‘healing energy’ to flow throughout the body.
With regular sessions illnesses and ailments, can quite often be 'nipped in the bud'. Reflexology enhances your life by keeping you at the peak of your energy, and creative levels. It also provides on-going maintenance to achieve a well balanced body, to ward off illnesses and fatigue. Reflexology also works as a neutralizer, preventing the effects of stress, headaches, high blood pressure, indigestion, and all the other aliments that are linked with a tense and ineffective mind/body connection.
A relaxed and balanced body can heal itself. It needs rest, relaxation and the gentle and natural flow of energy. A completely relaxed body cannot experience a negative emotion.
By Lesley Humphreys SNHS Dip. (Reflexology & Nutrition)
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