Are you struggling with the effects of stress, such as poor digestion, low mood, feeling anxious or on edge, or maybe you are not sleeping well? Have you considered trying complementary therapies and wondering which one might be right for you?
In this article I am going to explore reflexology, focusing on:
• What is it
• A brief history
• How it works
• How it can help you
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower legs, hands, face or ears correspond to different areas on the body. Our body can be in a state of imbalance due to illness, injury and periods of stress. Reflexologists work these points and areas on the feet using fingers and thumbs, with the aim is to bring them back to balance, thus supporting the body’s healing ability.
Above is an example of a foot-map from the Association of Reflexologists (AoR). So I am focusing on the feet, as that is what I am trained in.
A Brief History
The origins of reflexology date back thousands of years to Ancient Egypt, India and China. Dr William Fitzgerald, an American ear, nose and throat specialist, is credited with bringing Reflexology to the West when he developed ‘Zone Therapy’ in the early 1900s. Dr Fitzgerald divided the body into zones, believing that reflex areas on the feet were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone, as in the diagram below.
Eunice Ingham further developed Dr Fitzgerald’s zone therapy. Through her studies and practice developed a map of the entire body on the feet, much like the foot-map from the AoR that I shared above. She believed that congestion or tension in any part of the body is mirrored in the corresponding part of the foot. Doreen Bayly trained with Eunice Ingham in the US and introduced reflexology to the UK in the 1960s.
How does Reflexology Work?
We don’t know the exact mechanism of how reflexology works. One theory is that by pressing a point on the foot it sends a message to the brain, and then on to the corresponding part of the body via the nervous system (we have thousands of nerve ending in our feet).
Another theory is that reflexology works by unblocking energy meridians in the same way that acupuncture does.
Whilst there is little scientific evidence as to exactly how reflexology works, but there are studies that support how touch can have positive benefits.
How can reflexology help me?
The majority of visits to GPs are related to stress according to Dr Chatterjee in his book “The Stress Solution”. The World Health Organization is calling it ‘the health epidemic of the 21st century’. Therefore I believe that it’s more important now than ever that we take responsibility for our own healthcare needs. One of the ways of mitigating the stresses of modern life can be reflexology.
The feedback that I hear most often after a reflexology treatment is how relaxed people feel. This often has a knock-on effect on their sleep, mood and their general feeling of wellbeing. Yes, some people find that it doesn’t work for them and they prefer other treatments such as a massage or facial to help them relax. The only way to find out what works for you is to try it!
NB: Reflexologists are not trained to cure, diagnose or prescribe. Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.
To book an appointment please call 07948 398273 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in finding out more about my treatments please visit my website.