Reflexology is based on the ancient theory of energy channels running throughout the body that can be stimulated through the application of pressure to specific points. It is a similar philosophy as acupuncture. There are reflexology maps for the hands, ears and face but I practice the more traditional form using the pressure points of the feet.
There are over 7000 nerve endings in the human foot!
Reflexology is not generally used to treat specific ailments; instead we apply the holistic approach and treat the entire body. A reflexology treatment:
During the treatment I often notice sensitive parts of your feet which relate to tensions throughout the body. They sometimes feel like bubbles or crystals under skin. You may also feel certain areas of your feet feel delicate during the treatment. In some rare cases my clients have experienced feelings in their body that relate to the part of the foot that is being stimulated.
Reflexology both relaxes and energises. It promotes good general health and wellbeing to help restore balance physically, mentally and emotionally. It soothes and rejuvenates body, mind and soul as needed.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy; it should not be used as an alternative to modern medicine but rather alongside it. Although it may show up tensions in the body I am not a physician and therefore cannot offer any diagnoses. If you have any medical concerns you should contact your GP.
Reflexology is believed to have been practiced for thousands of years. Paintings dating back to around 2400 BC have been found in a physician’s tomb in Saqqara, Egypt depicting the massage of the feet and hands.
It is traditionally considered to have originated in China, around 3000 years ago. It is similar in theory to other therapies such as acupuncture which also uses specific points in the body to relieve tension and open energy channels. These energy channels or meridians were researched in China by the Yellow Emperors of Internal Medicine.
Native American tribes are known to have practiced a form of foot therapy and massage for hundreds of years. American President James Abram Garfield was known to have applied pressure to his feet to alleviate pain in the late 19th century. Indeed throughout the 19th century there were studies of reflex actions and reflex massage in England, Germany, Russia and Austria.
The modern study of reflexology (or Zone Therapy) is considered to have been started by Dr. William Fitzgerald in the USA in 1915. Fitzgerald’s research was deepened by Dr. Joe Shelby Riley who created what is considered the first reflexology map of the feet. This was developed further by Eunice D. Ingham who refined the map and also discovered that by varying pressure (rather than creating a numbing effect as had previously been the practice) the therapy was more beneficial. She toured the United States for 40 years, presenting lectures on ‘compression reflex massage’ and wrote three books on the subject. Eunice D. Ingham’s reflexology foot map is very much the basis of the map that we use today.