What is Reflexology?
Like most complementary therapies, Reflexology is believed to have its roots in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China, Africa and the native Indian tribes of America.
Reflexology today is a precisely defined form of treatment based on the principle that the anatomy of the body is reflected in miniature on reflex zones on the feet and also on the hands (though a little less defined). By using specific techniques of holds and pressures on these regions, healing is both initiated and accelerated in the corresponding area of the body.
Reflexology helps restore and maintain the body’s natural equilibrium and encourage healing and can bring about the same sensations of relaxation and restfulness that a full body massage can produce. It can be considered most useful in the treatment of stress.
A reflexologist uses hands only to apply pressure to the feet. The therapy and the effects are unique to each person. Sensitive, trained hands can detect tiny deposits and imbalances from touching the feet and by working on the reflex points can release blockages and restore the free flow of energy to the whole body. Tensions are eased and the circulation and elimination improved. Since reflexology treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of particular problems, most people can benefit from treatment; therefore reflexology can be considered ideal for:
- Stress related conditions
- Acute and chronic conditions
- Sleep disorders
- Preventative therapy
- Children and adults
An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonising the body.
Who can Benefit from Treatment
Most people can be helped by a Reflexology treatment and there is no minimum or maximum age limit. Sufferers of many diverse conditions have reported benefits from receiving Reflexology, it helps for example, PMS, Sciatica, Sinusitis, aches and pains, digestive disorders.
What to Expect from A Treatment
A person should expect an introductory chat with the Reflexologist before they begin treatment and should include the completion of a consultation sheet. Once formal consent has been given, following signatures from both the person and the Reflexologist, treatment can commence, providing no contra indications* have been identified.
* When treatment cannot be performed or when medical advice should be sought prior to treatment.
The Reflexologist will begin work on the feet, or hands, if appropriate, and will take note (usually mentally) of any problem areas. Clients may experience some discomfort in certain areas, however this will usually be brief and it will indicate areas of imbalance in the body. Generally the treatment will feel wonderful, relaxing and soothing.
The first treatment (including the chat and completion of the consultation sheet) will take around an hour and 15 minutes. The subsequent treatments will generally last around 45 minutes. A course of treatments can vary depending on individual needs and can be discussed with the Reflexologist.
The professional therapist does not rely on external aids, only the hands are used. Treatment takes place with the person sitting in a semi-reclined position on a professional couch or chair. You will be asked to remove only your shoes and socks and your feet will then be wiped over with a refreshing solution. The therapist will examine the feet before commencing a relaxing foot massage and will start the treatment which involves the therapist applying a specific pressure all over the foot/reflex points, increasing or decreasing pressure according to findings. The treatment will conclude with a relaxing foot massage.
How will I feel?
A client will generally feel well and relaxed after treatment however everyone’s body is different and can respond in individual ways. Possible side effects can be discussed with the Reflexologist and symptoms can vary widely. Do not be alarmed or worried by any side effects, these are usually a reflection that the treatment is working and your body is responding in a positive way.
Always check that the practitioner/therapist is a qualified Reflexologist and a member of a recognised Reflexology organisation, such as the International Federation of Reflexologists.
We would like to acknowledge the use of information taken from the International Federation of Reflexologists in compiling this information.