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What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a holistic treatment it is a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body.
When pressure is applied to these areas and points it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, and helps to restore homeostasis (balance) in the whole body. Reflexology is also known as Zone Therapy.
Our bodies are very complex and are capable of healing themselves, anything from a bruise or a small cut to a major injury or emotional trauma. For example the brain and rest of the nervous system, which is in control of much of our activity, and the circulatory system, which transports oxygen and nutrients to body cells to be converted into energy. Energy is essential for our well-being and indeed to keep going.
All the systems need to be working well together to maintain a healthy balance. Stress, injury, or illness can cause the balance to be disrupted when component parts are less effective.
Why is reflexology performed mostly the feet?
There are 7,000-7,200 nerve endings in the human foot, and each of these is a reflex point that corresponds to a body part. Reflexology uses special finger/thumb manipulations to stimulate reflex points, which will stimulate the flow of energy to the corresponding body part. This gradually helps to restore homeostasis and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself, physically and emotionally.
As reflex points are minute, the movements are quite precise and care must be taken to cover all of them to ensure that the treatment is comprehensive and therefore a holistic treatment for the whole body. However, there is no reason why a specific reflex point (or points) can’t be worked on more if an imbalance is detected. Imbalances manifest themselves through crystals at the affected reflex point, which vary from being slightly crunchy like sugar to lumps of varying sizes. Dispersing these crystals is what unblocks energy channels, and this is done by applying firm pressure with the thumb (or fingers depending on where on the foot the reflex point is).
Visible signs of imbalance could be hard skin, discolouration of skin (e.g. yellowing), marks on the foot (red marks can indicate acute problems), and bunions. The odour, temperature, and moistness of a foot also play a part in assessing it. It will often take several treatments to awaken the reflexes and start to see some effect.
As a trained Reflexologist, I have been trained to know which area of the foot corresponds to which body part by learning maps of the feet, plantar view, dorsal view, and medial and lateral views. There are 5 longitudinal zones on each foot that run from each of the toes directly up through the body to the top of the head. Zone 1 runs from the big toe up through the centre of the body to the top of the head, zone 2 from the next toe, and so on ending with zone 5 running from the little toe up the outside of the body to the shoulders. There are then horizontal zones that map out which cross-section of the body corresponds to reflex points in that zone, shoulder line waist line and pelvic line.
Reflexology has been shown to be affective for:
•Stress related disorders
Benefits of Reflexology
Whether you suffer from insomnia, migraines, digestive problems or fatigue, the root of many health problems can be linked to stress. Stress can be caused by our own hectic lifestyle, emotional, physical or environmental factors, it is almost completely unavoidable. Stress can be damaging to the body and mind. Under the influence of prolonged stress the body is less capable of fighting illness. Reflexology counteracts the effects of stress by promoting relaxation and bringing balance to the body.
Many factors can cause muscle tension, too much time sitting in one position, lifting heavy objects, working out with weights or emotional problems are just a few. Whatever the source, when muscles become tense and over stressed the energy in our body is thrown out of balance. The nerve pathways which connect muscles to the rest of the body become congested. This can result in pain, fatigue, irritability or even more stress. Reflexology stimulates nerve endings in the feet to release the energy, relax muscles and restore physical harmony.
All the body’s systems need good blood circulation in order to function well. The blood carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells and removes waste products and toxins. Stress and tension tighten up the cardiovascular system and restricts blood flow, causing it to become sluggish. This results in the tissues becoming oxygen-deprived; the energy in the body becomes depleted, making all body systems suffer. Reflexology keeps the body’s circulation flowing smoothly, which rejuvenates tired tissues.
Detoxify and cleanse
Riding the body of waste and toxins is extremely important to your health. When the lymphatic, urinary or intestinal systems become blocked due to a build up of toxins and waste the energy in the body stagnates. This may cause you to feel bloated, lethargic or even sick. Reflexology can release these blockages, helping your body to “let go” and eliminate toxins and waste, cleansing the body of all impurities. This will encourage the body to naturally restore its own healthy balance.
Balance is vital for a healthy body, mind and spirit. To maintain a state of homeostasis the body needs to run smoothly. When there is a malfunction in the body it is thrown off balance. Reflexology is vital to sustain balance in every gland, organ, muscle, tissue and cell in the body, leaving all the systems of the body functioning fully, and in their natural equilibrium.
How Can Reflexology Help Me?
By working specific reflex points on the feet, this improves circulation and lymph flow, cleanses the body of impurities and revitalises energy, which will encourage the body to naturally restore its own healthy balance. Additionally, Reflexology can bring soothing stress relief and relaxation to the mind, body and spirit. The treatment can be pleasurable and extremely relaxing to receive, as well as invigorating and energising.