Introduction to Reflexology
Reflexology is a great therapy for overall well-being. It can be used easily and safely on most people, does not require much removal of clothing, and is non-invasive and gentle. Reflexology is a therapy which is appropriate for many people with chronic illness, or where there is restricted mobility.
Reflexology is a great therapy for a wide range of conditions and can help by:
- Increasing feelings of relaxation
- Reduction in stress or anxiety
- Increases para-sympathetic nervous system activity, so promotes healing
- Removes energetic blocks in body
- Easy self-administration of therapy supports long term improvement
- Re-balances chi, ki or prana levels in body, and facilitates health
- Increases levels of vitality and wellness
is believed to originate from ancient Egyptian practices, and has since evolved into the more structured treatment that is practised today. It is based on the principle that each system of the body has a corresponding point on the foot/ ankle area which is connected by an energetic pathway. Reflexology is most commonly used on the feet, but can also be used on the hands or ears, making it a good choice of therapy for people with restricted mobility.
Principles: In reflexology the body is divided into 'zones' and 'maps' with each corresponding to different areas of the body, physical systems, or organs. There are 10 longitudinal zones: imagine a mid line down the centre of your body, from head to toe, with 5 equal energy lines down each side. (see diagram) These correlate with the feet and hands - so the energy lines follow the lines of each finger through to the wrist, or each toe toward the ankle. In addition there are also transverse (horizontal) zones, and foot maps which correspond to specific areas such as the liver, heart or lungs.
During a session: In a reflexology session, gentle pressure is applied systematically to areas of the feet (or hands) using the therapists's hands. Stimulating each of the pressure points helps to release any stagnant areas of life force energy, boosts overall wellness, and increases feelings of health and vitality. An experienced therapist can detect imbalances and then releases energetic blocks and tension through gentle manipulation of the relevant area. This restoration of energetic balance is important because depleted chi or life force energy is believed to predispose to illness, whereas a healthy flow of the same energy creates vitality and well-being. So, reflexology is similar to many Eastern models of mind-body health, which use a similar concept of energy flow.
Reflexology is suitable for: Reflexology usually requires only the removal of socks and footwear to again access to the feet. So, it is a great therapy for anyone who is chair or bed bound, for people who have restricted mobility, and for anyone who prefers to remain fully clothed. Whilst most people prefer to receive reflexology on the feet, it can also be used on other parts of the body, including hands or ears.
Because reflexology is a gentle, non-invasive therapy it is suitable for most people, unless they have any infections, open wounds, or other conditions which would be a contraindication - talk to your practitioner if you are unsure.
If you have good mobility and dexterity, you can easily use reflexology on yourself at home, either to re-balance energy, or for healing of specific conditions. This can be particularly useful in the long term management of stress-related conditions.