Reflexology is a science that maps out the reflexes to the whole body on the feet, hands or ears. By pressing these specific areas of the feet, hands or ears, every organ, gland, muscle and body part is affected. Techniques such as thumb walking, finger walking, hook and back up and rotations on a reflex are used. These hand techniques are unique to traditional Reflexology and are different from the motions used in other types of massage.
In addition to traditional Reflexology which relies on reflex points, modern Reflexologists also consider the foot as a foot. The health of one's feet is a big concern and foot assessments may be done and suggestions made as to the wearing of properly fitting shoes, foot strengthening exercises, referrals to other medical specialists such as podiatrists, etc. if necessary. Feet that are healthy and pain free are very important for one's overall well being and are an important consideration in Reflexology.
How Does REFLEXOLOGY Work?
There are many theories as to how and why Reflexology works. Some of the well established and researched reasons are as follows:
Relaxation Response: This is well documented. When the body is in a relaxed state, many physiological changes take place in the body which are beneficial to good health. Stress reduction is what Reflexology does best.
Endorphin Release: These chemicals are the body's natural pain killers. When one receives Reflexology, these "feel good" substances are released into the bloodstream and relief from pain can be obtained.
Increased Circulation: Direct pressure on the feet and hands increases venous return or better blood flow. This tends to warm the extremities, helps nutrients get to the cells and takes away waste products. It also moves more oxygen into the cells where it is needed.
Direct Nerve Stimulation: Direct stimulation on the feet or hands puts pressure on the many thousands of nerve endings that reside there. This feels incredibly good.
Benefit of Touch: Touch is a basic human need and being nurtured and touched increases one's sense of well being.
Most Common Benefits of REFLEXOLOGY
Relieves many types of foot or hand pain
Decreases stress on emotional, physical and mental levels
Increases physical energy
Gives general sense of well being
Photos courtesy of ABMP
What to Expect in a typical REFLEXOLOGY Session
Most sessions last about an hour
You may need to fill out a health history on your first appointment
Some Reflexologists devote full time to the feet; others combine hands, feet and even ears
You will remove shoes and socks
A short foot/hand/ear inspection may take place
You will either lie comfortably on a massage table OR on a Reflexology lounge-type chair with feet elevated
Sometimes essential oils, lotions or creams are used; not always
There might be a whirlpool foot soak, paraffin dip, heating pad or other specialty treatments, depending on the practitioner
The practitioner makes every effort to work within the pain tolerance of the individual
After the session, a relaxed state is generally felt
Water intake should be increased post session to increase detoxification