Principles of Reflexology
Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to specific points on the feet and hands to influence the health of corresponding parts of the body.
“Pressure sensors” on the hands and feet connect with different parts of the body, and as reflexology techniques stimulate these sensors, waves of relaxation are sent throughout the body.
How Reflexology Works
Reflexologists use a series of pressure techniques to stimulate specific reflex areas on the feet and hands with the intention of invoking a beneficial response in other parts of the body.
Reflexology maps show the various areas and their corresponding body parts.
Pressure sensors in the feet communicate instantly with the brain, internal organs, and other body parts.
The feet act as self-tuners for the rest of the body: movements of the feet stimulate the whole system.
How Reflexes Work
Imagine stepping on a tack. In response to the challenge to the sole of the foot, a reflexive action occurs throughout the body – muscular action withdraws the foot from the tack and the body experiences an adrenaline surge as well as changes in balance and internal organ function.
Reflexology works on the same principle – it all happens reflexively throughout the nervous system
Just as the hands and feet are shaped differently, so too are their receptive reflexology maps. One major difference, for instance, is that the reflex areas on the head and neck are much larger on the fingers than on the toes.
Why Choose Reflexology
Reflexology eases stress which is thought to be a major factor in 80 percent of illness and a contributing factor in the other 20 percent.
Stress researcher Hans Selye (1907-82) noted in 1956 that it is not simply stress itself, but prolonged exposure to stress, that causes wear and tear to the body.
Reflexology offers an opportunity to take a break from the stress of everyday life.
Why Else Choose Reflexology?
- It offers a natural drug-free treatment option for a variety of health problems.
- It can be used to aid recovery from injury, particularly injury to the feet or hands.
- It offers a noninstrusive way of expressing love or care for someone , benefiting the giver and recipient alike.
- It helps to ease overused tired feet and hands.
- The therapy can be used to reduce pain.
- It helps to maintain manual dexterity and locomotive abilities.
- The therapy can be used to maintain good health in a preventive way.
- It promotes general relaxation.
- It releases endorphins, the body’s “feel good” chemicals.
Reflexology is for Everyone
Whatever your occupation, age, or current state of health, reflexology has something to offer you. For all stages of life, this healing therapy aims to help your body to maintain health, enhance your quality of life, meet specific health needs, and relieve stress in a very pleasant way.
My friend’s baby was experiencing colic during her visit with me. So I gave the baby some gentel presses on the solar plexus reflex area of her foot and within minutes, the baby was calm. There are other techniques used to help babies that have diarrhea, sleep problems and other health issues.
Reflexology work with children establishes a bond, creates a quiet time together, helps relaxation, and lets you find the “silent owies” – those falls and bumps that young ones don’t always mention.
Reflexology can help senior citizens with their love life and make weekends more fun – in other words an improvement in their quality of life. Also ageing presents unique challenges whether it is physical effects of ageing, such as aching joints and incontinence, or simply to reach out and touch someone older who has limited access to physical contact.
People with Physical Disabilities
For those who spend a great deal time in a wheelchair, there is no pressure on the soles of the feet; therefore, the associated muscles, nerves and bones may degenerate. Therefore reflexology can be used to provide special stimulation to increase muscle tone and have a positive impact on internal organs.
People with Serious Illness
Whether you want to soothe a sore throat, help ease an asthma attack, or relieve a headache, reflexology is a safe and convenient adjunct to conventional medial treatment.
While the reflexology sequence concern the whole foot and hand, you can also work specific reflex areas to help target particular health concerns. You can target reflex areas for health concerns following a full reflexology workout, or if you have less time or want to focus solely on a particular health concern, you can just apply reflexology techniques to specific reflex areas.
Some health concerns that reflexology is helpful with are the following:
- backache and neck pain
- general pain
- arthritis & rheumatism
- low energy
- sore throat & tonsillitis
- eye disorders
- skin disorders
- heart problems
- high blood pressure
- fluid retention
- dizziness, fainting & fever
- diarreha, colitis & diverticulitis
- bladder & kidney infections
- diabetes & hypoglycemia (low blood sugar(
- menstrual cramps & PMS
- anxiety & depression
Reflexology use is increasing among medical personnel involved in pregnancy and childbirth, and studies vouch for its efficacy. In the Effects of Reflexology on Labour Outcome (UK, 1989), Dr. Gowri Motha and Jane McGrath found that pregnant women who completed a course of ten sessions of reflexology experienced benefits in labor outcomes.
Some had labor times of only 2-3 hours; those aged 20-25 had an average time of first-stage labor of 5-6 hours, an average second stage of 16 minutes, and a third stage of 7 minutes.
In the Workplace
Reflexology is particularly beneficial for those people such as teachers, nurses, hairdressers, servers, sales professionals, etc., who are on their feet for long hours. Also for the same reasons, those who work long hours at keyboards often use hand reflexology to relive symptoms caused by overuse of this part of the body.
At a British walk-in health clinic for people with mental-health concerns, a reflexologist and a counselor worked with 74 people during 1996-97, with 49 receiving reflexology and 25 receiving counselling. All but two of the clients undergoing reflexology reported an increased level of relaxation and a decrease in feelings of anxiety.
Reflexology is helpful to help replace feelings such as fear, worry and despair with more positive and fulfilling emotions.