WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is a deeply relaxing treatment where gentle pressure is applied to your feet using a natural, organic balm. Reflexology is extremely effective and is based on the theory that reflexes in the feet and hands correspond to each organ and structure in the body, and are linked to those organs by energy channels. When illness occurs in the body, the corresponding energy channels become blocked. Reflexology is applied to clear these blockages. By stimulating the reflex points a positive response can be achieved in the corresponding part of the body, allowing the energy to flow freely again, restoring the body's natural balance and therefore good health. It can help in a number of ways including improve circulation, reduce stress, aid sleep and promote an overall sense of well-being.
HOW DOES REFLEXOLOGY WORK?
Reflexologists use a technique of applying gentle pressure to reflex areas on the feet to bring about a state of deep relaxation and to stimulate the body’s own healing processes. It’s a natural therapy that can help boost the immune system and create a stronger body and calmer mind. It is widely acknowledged that 75% of all illness is linked to stress of some kind and this is what reflexology seeks to target. There are over 7,000 nerves ending in the feet which are worked during treatment to help create a sense of well-being and balance.
Reflexology is based on the principle that every reflex in the foot connects to a part of the body. Stimulating these reflexes can help many health problems in a natural way. Imbalances in the body manifest themselves at the affected reflex point on the feet, and a reflexologist can identify these imbalances during a treatment. For example, the big toe is the ‘head’ reflex, and an imbalance here may mean the client suffers from headaches, migraines and/or anxiety. By working this reflex point, it helps to unblock energy channels and this is done by applying a medium pressure to the area. It can take several treatments to awaken the reflexes and to fully start reaping the benefits, as most people’s feet have fallen into a dormant state due to the wearing shoes and the overall lack of daily stimulation they receive.
Reflexology is not a therapy used to diagnose illness; it is not a medical treatment. It does not cure-only the body can do that. Instead it facilitates healing within the body and aims to bring balance, harmony and a strong sense of well-being to the body to keep it working at optimum level.
THE HISTORY OF REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy. There is evidence of some form of foot and hand therapy being practised in China as long ago as 4,000 B.C. and also at the same time in Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankmahor, a physician, which showed pictures of foot and hand massage being carried out where the hieroglyphics read "Please do not hurt me" and the reply is "I shall act so you praise me".
Sir Henry Head (English physiologist) in the late 1800s was able to chart areas according to the spinal segment to which they belonged. After years of research he established Head zones which are labelled in anatomy books today as dermatomes. Head’s work conclusively proved the neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. Sir Henry Head discovered healing could occur if sensitive areas on the body were massaged.
The more modern form of reflexology was first pioneered by an ear, nose and throat surgeon by the name of Dr William Fitzgerald (1872-1942). Dr Fitzgerald was the founder of Zone Therapy, which was an earlier form of reflexology. He discovered that exerting pressure on the tips of the toes or fingers caused corresponding parts of the body to become anaesthetised. From this, Dr Fitzgerald divided the body into ten equal zones, which ran from the top of the head to the ends of the toes. By using tight elastic bands on the middle sections of the fingers, or using small clamps on the tips of the fingers, minor surgery could be carried out with no further anaesthetic agents required.
Reflexology as we know it today was pioneered by a woman called Eunice Ingham (1889 - 1974), or the mother of modern reflexology. Eunice Ingham was a physiotherapist working in a doctor's practice using the zone therapy developed by Dr Fitzgerald. Ms Ingham thought, however, that it would be more effective to be practised on the feet rather than the hands. After extensive research, she developed the map of the entire body on the feet - where one point on the foot corresponds to a certain part of the body. By using acupressure or massage techniques on these points, a positive effect is created in the corresponding body part.