“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame.” – Thomas Edison
Reflexology is a popular healing modality that works with the incredible system of nerves and energy that flows in our feet, hands, and ears. Reflexology is the mapping of the organs and glands in the body on the feet and hands. Its primary goal is to reduce stress and increase circulation and create physiological changes in the body.
When the muscles of our body weaken, the muscle tissue in our feet gives way. The body structure goes down and one or more of the twenty-six bones in each foot may become misplaced causing undue pressure on some nerve ending. This shuts off a certain portion of the normal nerve and blood supply in the bottom of the feet and as any part of the blood stream becomes choked, it slows down the circulation. As the result of this slowing down of the circulation we have a formation of chemical deposits or waste matter forming in and around the misplaced joints. Reflexology releases irritating chemicals attached to the nerve endings and works to improve circulation in the body. This brings more nutrition to our cells and allows the energy to flow unimpeded.
We have hundreds of thousands of nerve endings on the soles of our feet. This makes them quite sensitive and responsive to the touch of reflexology. Your nervous system mobilizes around new sensory input. For instance, when you stub your toe, your whole body responds. This principle also works for positive input. That is, when your reflexologist slowly and intentionally works your feet, your whole body relaxes, allowing tension and pain to subside. By applying pressure to particular areas of the hands and feet, it affects physiological changes in the body and creates a deep sense of relaxation.
What Does Reflexology Help?
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Foot Pain & Burning
- Headaches (including Migraines)
- High Blood Pressure
- Hormonal Fluctuations
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Joint & Leg Pain
- Sinus Conditions
- Stress Related Conditions
- Pre- and Post-Surgery Support
Reflexology promotes better health by helping the body heal itself by restoring balance. Reflexology eliminates energy blockages thought to produce pain or disease in related areas. Underactive areas are rejuvenated and overactive areas are calmed, balancing the body systems. Reflexology approaches the body as a whole with interrelated systems. This means, for example, that working the sinus points alone does not necessarily relieve a sinus headache. A reflexologist stimulates all the reflex points, supporting overall well-being and enabling your body to concentrate healing energies wherever they are needed.
Reflexologists DO NOT diagnose, prescribe, or treat for specific conditions.
Reflexology is not a panacea for all ills, nor can it guarantee good health. However, it can be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction.
The Scientific Basis for Reflexology
In the 1890s knighted research scientist, Dr. Henry Head, proved the neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. Nobel Prize winner, Sir Charles Sherrington proved that the whole nervous system and body adjusts to a stimulus when it is applied to any part of the body. In Germany, Dr. Alfons Cornelius observed pressure to certain spots triggered muscle contractions, changes in blood pressure, variation in warmth and moisture in the body as well as directly affecting the “psychic processes” or mental state of the patient.
Two American physicians, Dr. William Fitzgerald and Dr. Joe Shelby Riley, did further work in this area in the 1920’s. Currently, research studies to further validate reflexology are being conducted in many countries including Switzerland, Denmark, the United States and Australia. In Japan and Denmark, reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving those companies thousands of dollars annually. In the United States, the National Institute of Health gave the University of Michigan a 5 year grant for study of the affects of reflexology on patients with breast cancer. The results were so impressive the funding was continued for additional years.
Reflexology: A Holistic Approach to Health
Reflexology is a study of the links between reflex points of the feet and hands and longitudinal (vertical) pathways or zones. It is a complimentary alternative technique that works by applying pressure to particular points on the hands and feet to affect physiological changes in the body. As reflexologists work on the feet, we form a picture of the entire body. In this way the feet or hands are considered a microcosm of the body with all organs and glands reflected in them. Reflexology provides the means whereby the body can be synchronized to balance (homeostasis).
All processes that take place in the cells of the body need energy. The energy transfer that is central to reflexology allows the body’s integrated systems to achieve homeostasis. Since all the systems of the body interrelate, only one area needs to be slightly out of balance to lead to disorders in other areas. These problems can often be observed to travel up and down a zone and even affect other parts of the body. Ill health often falls into what is known as the “vague symptom” category: a general malaise is often felt, every part of the body aches with general stress in the neck and shoulder or low back. The person may be irritable, not sleeping properly, picking at or eating too much food, making them feel ill or tense.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy that is a natural, non-invasive and drugless path to self-help, helping to restore a person to a more tranquil temperament, improve their mental condition and enable the person to cope better with life’s demands. Reflexology treatment encourages a generally healthier body by facilitating the proper functioning of the circulatory system, so enabling the supply of nutrients and oxygen to reach all cells of the body.
When the body is totally relaxed, its healing mechanism is given a chance to right itself as blood flow and nerve transmission are allowed to occur unimpeded. The benefits of reflexology are therefore multiplied; all parts of the body can be reached through precise stimulation of the reflexes through the feet and hands. A return to homeostasis can be achieved after approximately 40 minutes of such stimulation. Reflexology works the nervous system and makes you feel good from the inside out.