Reflexology is a complementary therapy that adopts a holistic approach by treating a person on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. It is a safe, non-invasive, natural therapy that encourages the stimulation of the body's self-healing properties.
Reflexology can be helpful in treating a wide range of conditions such as
- Headaches and migraines
- Back problems
- Digestive disorders
- Symptoms of pregnancy
The list is endless.
It is estimated that up to 75% of all illness is stress-related (BMA). Prolonged stress can lead to tiredness and irritability, a weakening of the immune system and the development of physical illness. Anything that one can do to reduce their stress levels has therefore got to have a positive impact on their overall long-term health. Research has found that Reflexology treatments can significantly reduce a person's level of stress, and increase their ability to cope with it.
Reflexology can also be beneficial as a preventative measure for good health, in particular by strengthening the immune system; if our immune system is working efficiently then we are able to fight infection and disease more effectively with the result that we become ill less frequently. It also works on and improves the circulatory, nervous, respiratory, digestive and eliminatory systems. Regular treatments help the body reach and maintain its natural equilibrium, thus aiding body systems to work more efficiently together. Once you have experienced a treatment you will now how very relaxing it is, bringing with it an overall sense of well-being.
Reflexology, which involves the working of reflex points in the feet or hands, can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Chinese and Egyptian times.
At the turn of the last century an American Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, Dr William Fitzgerald, became interested in and developed the practice of treating parts of the body by applying pressure at a distant point. He divided the body into ten longitudinal (vertical) zones, each separate zone linking all organs within it by a flow of energy. His method became known as Zone Therapy.
The body is divided into ten longitudinal zones. Each zone extends throughout the body in line with the fingers and toes; a zone runs from each toe up along the body to the top of the head and down to its corresponding finger. A flow of energy links all organs and structures within each zone. In whichever zone an organ is found in the body, a reflex point is found in the same zone in the foot or hand.
Transverse zones are also found within the body. A line across the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands corresponds to the waist of the body. Organs found above waist level have reflex points in the upper half of the feet or hands; organs found below waist level in the body have reflex points in the lower half of the feet or hands. The feet and hands therefore provide a map of the body with the right foot / hand corresponding to the right side of the body, and the left foot / hand to the left side of the body.
Reflex points are found on the soles, tops and sides of the feet, and the palms of the tops of the hands.
The Treatment Session
The feet are usually treated during a Reflexology session. They are generally more sensitive and responsive than the hands, they also provide a larger and therefore more definite area on which to work. However, the hands can be used in certain circumstances eg, where there is a direct injury to the foot.
The thumbs, fingers, and knuckles are used to apply a firm but gentle, definite pressure to each of the reflex points in turn. The whole of both feet or hands are worked upon in order to cover all the reflex points, therefore treating the whole of the body.
During a treatment some reflexes may appear tender or sensitive to the recipient; the practitioner can also detect changes in the texture of reflexes eg, tiny deposits under the skin, lumpy or spongy reflexes, or tension in particular areas. This indicates that that the corresponding body part is out of balance and therefore not working as efficiently as possible.
Stimulating the reflexes will help correct the balance of energy and therefore encourage better working order and balance. A treatment should not be painful, as the amount of pressure will be adjusted according to the degree of sensitivity experienced.
Each treatment session lasts for approximately 50 minutes. The number of treatments required will vary depending on the condition being treated, but as a guide an average of four or six treatments is usually given on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Subsequent regular treatments on a monthly or bi-monthly basis will help to maintain good health and balance.
Following treatments a person may experience certain mild healing reactions as the body cleanses itself of toxins and energy is re-balanced.
Any reaction after treatment is perfectly natural and is usually short-lived; it is proof that the body has responded to the treatment and that change is taking place. It is important to drink plenty of water after a treatment to aid this cleansing process.
Reflexology is a completely natural, non-invasive, safe therapy without the worry of harmful side effects. Unlike conventional medicine which very often deals only with the symptoms of an illness, regular Reflexology treatments can help deal with the root cause, be it physiological or psychological. It is an excellent way of preventing illness by strengthening the immune system, and for general well being as it works on all systems of the body to encourage a balance of energy and the stimulation of the body's self-healing properties.
By Bethan Thompson
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