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Information about Reflexology and Reflexologists
Reflexology (sometimes called zone therapy) is a form of alternative therapy in which the nerve endings, primarily in the feet but also in the hands and ears, are stimulated by specific massage techniques to effect changes in another part of the body and thereby creating health and help overcome disease.

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Information about Reflexology and Reflexologists

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology (sometimes called zone therapy) is a form of alternative therapy in which the nerve endings, primarily in the feet but also in the hands and ears, are stimulated by specific massage techniques to effect changes in another part of the body and thereby creating health and help overcome disease.
As the name suggests Reflexology is thought to activate the body’s reflexes. Mostly this is focused on the feet as Reflexologists apply a form of very specific and skilled foot “massage” techniques. It is a form of complementary medicine and involves a method of treatment using massage to reflex areas found in the feet and the hands. Most commonly, the feet are used as the areas to be treated. In the feet, there are reflex areas corresponding to all the parts of the body and these areas are arranged in such a way as to form a map of the body in the feet with the right foot corresponding to the right side of the body and the left foot to the left side of the body. Thus, it becomes possible to treat the whole body and therefore treat the body as a whole.
Although Reflexology may not be a therapy for any specific condition it has proved useful in relieving the symptons of stress, chronic pain, arthritis, insomnia, asthma and many painful stomach disorders.
It has proved to be a popular natural therapy that allows not only symptoms to be treated but also their causes.
Similar to acupuncture and acupressure reflexology concentrates on the flow of energy through the body, the energy flowing through pathway or meridians which must be stimulated and kept clear to ensure good health.

A brief History of Reflexology

There is evidence that some form of Reflexology has existed for over 3000 years. it is known that both Chinese and Egyptian healers used massage of both feet and hands as a means of treating other parts of the body. It wasn't until the 19th and 20th Centuries that it was taken up by the Western World. In 1913 Dr. William Fitzgerald pioneered the use of "zone therapy" in the United States. He identified ten zones of bioelectrical energy that flowed from the zones of the body to relex points on the hands and feet. These were very similar to the Ancient Chinese concept of meridians and energy flow they both agreed that the bodies internal energy forces can be influenced by touch.
Dr Fitzgerald's (a ear nose and throat specialist) main contention was that by applying pressure to certain points of the feet and hands other parts of the body could be anaesthetised.
This idea was further developed in the 1930's by Eunice Ingham a Physiotherapist who worked in a Doctors practice where she used Dr Fitzgerald’s Zone Therapy method. She refined these methods and it became known as "Reflexology" recognising that the feet were more sensitive than the hands she mapped out the whole body showing how it related to certain points on the feet. Much of this work is still recognised today and some variations have been developed and are in use, Eunice Grahams ideas form the basis of modern Reflexology.

How does Reflexology work?

Reflexology depends on keeping the neural patways clear thus ensuring the free flow of energy throughoutt the body. By using pressure points in the feet and hands a "reflex" can be provoked in many of the organs of the body. By using these various pressure points it is thought that the sensory receptors in the nerve fibres and impulses re stimulated dispersing energy throught the whole body and nervous system. Different parts of the feet and hands are believed to correspond to different organs, glands, and other key areas of the body.

What are the benefits of Reflexology?

Reflexology acts as a general preventative therapy to help you look after your body and mind. It is also appropriate and benificial for many physical and mental or emotional conditions:Helping physical effects that result from stress, tension or anxiety
Helps physical conditions that are related to internal organs, such as, digestive disorders and disabling neurological conditions.
Reduces muscular tension
Relieves fatigue
Increases energy or reduces tension
Changing sleep patterns that promote healthy, refreshing sleep
Strengthens natural self-healing mechanisms.
Helps recovery from illness or surgery.

Emotional and mental effects can be improved by:-
Promoting calmness and a sense of well-being
Relaxing the body and mind
Relieving stress
Soothing emotional distress

Some general complaints that can benefit from Reflexology:-
Acute undiagnosed pain
Back pain
Circulatory problems
Digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease
General stress related disorders
Hormonal imbalances
Injury to the feet (or hands)
Migraine & headache relief
Pregnancy (in the first 3 months)
Sleep disorders
Sports Injuries
Thyroid disorders
Varicose veins.

What does treatment involve?

Reflexologists apply pressure on "reflex zones" found on the feet, hands and the ears, which are said to correspond to the different parts of the body. Application is done through thumb, finger and hand massage techniques. The Reflexologist applies gentle but firm pressure with fingers and thumbs to ease areas of tension and alleviate congestion.
Reflex areas, like hand and foot, composed of 7200 nerve endings are stimulated by pressure applied. An improved instruction to every gland, single part and organ of the body could be achieved by such a health science. The body is then believed to pursue a biologically correct, strengthened and reinforced state.

First of all, there should be a preliminary talk with the practitioner before treatment. The reflexologist then begins to work on the client's feet, or hands if necessary, noting problem areas. There may be discomfort in some places, but it is fleeting, and also an indication of congestion or imbalance in a corresponding part of the body. For the most of the part, the sensation is pleasant and soothing. Reflexology can help relax the client and is believed to stimulate the body's own healing mechanisms. Usually a treatment session lasts for about one hour. For some cases, a treatment can last nearly two hours. A course of treatment varies in length depending on the need of the client body. The reflexologist will discuss this with the patient at the first session.

Reflexology has proved very beneficial for a wide range of chronic and acute conditions - especially for all stress-related problems. Many practitioners have reported that clients with problems such as sinusitis, asthma, migraine, depression, ME, muscular and skeletal disorders, menstrual problems, hypertension, bowel disorders etc have benefited from treatment. Reflexology has also helped small babies with colic, maintained peak condition in athletes and brought peace to the dying.

Are there any side effects from Reflexology?

No there are no painful or harmful side effects, a general relaxed feeling of wellbeing is how most people describe their feelings after reflexology treatment. Reflexology is non intrusive or invasive it is safe and effective and is totally natural, it should not be painful especially because the primary goal is relaxation and helping the body to do what it is designed to do, however there can sometimes be a slight feeling of soreness ot tenderness around the reflex point that is being treated but this soon passes. If you suffer any discomfort during a healing session discuss it with your reflexologist.

Your reflexologist should always check before each treatment to ensure that there is no reason why you should not have a treatment.

Some General Reflex Points

It is generally thought that the right hand side of the foot affect the organs and glands of the right hand side of the body and similarly the left hand side of the foot affects the left side of the body e.g.
Your Liver is located on the right side of your chest and abdomen. Hence the area of your feet that treats the Liver is via the lateral aspect of your right foot.
Your Spleen is on the left side of your ribs, below your heart. Hence the spleen is treated via the outside or lateral aspect of your left foot.
Your Kidneys which are fairly central are stimulated via the cetre of your soles.
The toes relate to the brain, head and sinuses.
The ball of the foot relates to the lungs and heart.

The heel of the foot relates to the pelvic area and the sciatic nerve.

There are many complex charts detailing Foot and Hand reflex points that are used by Reflexologists (see examples below)

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Read much more about Reflexology in one of these excellent books.....


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