What is Reflexology?

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology, the fastest growing holistic therapy in the health and wellness field, is safe, non-invasive and drug free. It utilizes sensitive hand techniques for a unique, individualized therapy that benefits the entire body. Reflexology is on the cutting edge of modalities offering to assist in health maintenance and support for the body's own healing process.

Reflexology has been practiced by many cultures for millennia. This technique has long been known to promote relaxation and to have other therapeutic benefits. It is a therapy backed by scientific research and is based on the premise that there are zones and reflex points in the feet, hands and ears that correspond to the entire body. The trained reflexology therapist applies pressure using the thumb, finger and hand techniques to these reflex areas stimulating the related body regions or organs to promote relaxation, stimulate circulation, and reduce stress.

Reflexology is represented by professional organizations, by the Reflexology Association of America, and the American Reflexology Certification Board.

Difference between reflexology and massage.

Foot reflexology is not foot massage. Foot massage is designed to benefit the feet. Reflexology should not be confused with body massage either. Massage therapy is applied to the whole body for total local muscular relaxation, to improve circulation and to reduce muscle tension. The reflexology that is being practiced today is a direct descendant of medical research conducted at the end of the nineteenth century in Europe and additional research conducted in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Reflexology is applied to the reflex points in the feet, hands or ears using specific hand and finger techniques in order to affect the corresponding body part or organ.

Reflexology and traditional medicine.

Reflexologists do not practice medicine in any form. The reflexologist does not diagnose or treat any medical disorders, nor does he/she prescribe or adjust medications. Reflexology is a compliment to any medical treatment or therapy.

The Reflexology Session

The reflexologist will ask you questions pertaining to your current physical condition, medical history, previous injuries, surgeries, stress level, and other related topics. It is important for the client to share as much information as possible. All client information and conversations are kept strictly confidential. You will only need to remove your shoes and socks. A full reflexology session lasts about one hour and includes the following:

  • Relaxation of the feet/hands
  • Warm up
  • Application of hand and finger techniques to the reflex points and reflex zones.
  • Feedback throughout the session
  • Documentation

What you may experience during a Reflexology session.

The reaction to a reflexology session varies from individual to individual. Reflexology should not be painful although the reflexologist applies gentle but firm pressure deep enough to reach the reflexes. If sensitivity is felt, it is an indicator of where the body is holding tension. Sensitivity felt in various reflex points form a pattern that generally corresponds to the medical condition reported by the client. For example, a client who presents with lower back problems usually feels some level of sensitivity along the corresponding spine reflex, the nerves and muscles associated with it and the related organ or gland reflex points in the feet.

The reflexologist should work within your comfort level. Reactions, which may occur between sessions, usually last only a day or two and indicate the body is returning to a state of balance. Such reactions are associated with the release of toxins. In general, clients feel energized with more vitality after a reflexology session.

Success with reflexology depends on the reflexologist’s capabilities and techniques; and, most importantly, the degree of commitment to better health by the client.




History of Reflexology

Many books have been written on this topic and various web sites offer extensive information about reflexology, the fastest growing holistic therapy in the health and wellness field.

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Reflexology has been practiced for over 5,000 years by different cultures. It originated in China and Egypt and has gained popularity in the United States thanks to the following individuals:

1913 — Dr. William Fitzgerald, an M.D. in Connecticut, is credited with the Zone Theory. He found that applying "Zone Therapy" to the feet had anesthetic results in some parts of the body. Zones organize and link various parts and systems of the body into ten symmetrical longitudinal zones from the top of the head to the tips of the toes.

1924— Joe Shelby Riley, M.D. introduced the existence of organized horizontal lines going across the body. He is credited with publishing the first detailed drawing of pressure points on hands, feet and outer ear.

1938— Eunice Ingham, Physiotherapist worked with Dr. Riley and is recognized as the one who refined zone therapy. She is the author of Stories the Feet Have Told published in 1938.

1969— Mildred Carter is credited with many self-help books and articles. She is the author of Helping Yourself with Foot Reflexology published in 1969.

Research studies to validate reflexology have been and continue to be conducted in many countries including Switzerland, Denmark, USA, and Australia.

The following web site offers current research information: www.reflexology-research.com/medlinesearch.html

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Taking care of your feet:

Each foot has over 7,000 nerve endings, 26 bones, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles; it is meant to move in 150 different ways.

Feet are undoubtedly the most neglected parts of the body. Yet, there is substantial evidence to suggest that taking better care of one's feet impacts dramatically on our well being.

Schedule a reflexology appointment: solefultouch@aol.com.

Give your feet the care they deserve and your entire body will benefit.


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