What is Reflexology?
A system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body. This is the Oxford English dictionary definition of reflexology.
This definition is in part true. The theory behind the treatment is that the feet are a mirror image of our bodies and by performing a pressured massage on certain points of the feet, it can help restore the body’s natural balance.
Reflexology has been practised for thousands of years and has been found to have been cultivated as far back as 4000BC in both the Chinese and Egyptian cultures, with drawings depicted on the walls in the tomb of Ankmahor. The Native American Indians were also noted to have practised a form of foot therapy for their wellbeing.
How can Reflexology help you?
A.J Mc Vicar et als 2006 study suggested that with the connection between stress/anxiety and well-being, treatment may have some beneficial outcome for patients as it reduced state anxiety and cardiovascular activity. I know myself that when I have had a reflexology session I feel relaxed, destressed and calmer and patients that I have treated have said themselves that they well relaxed and calmer also after their treatments.
Dr Carol Samuel, a trained reflexologist, under took research at the University of Portsmouth into reflexology as a method of pain relief for her PhD. She found that people felt 40% less pain and were able to stand pain for about 45% longer if they introduced the treatment as a method of pain relief. Thus suggesting that reflexology could be used to alongside conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis and backache.
The above are just a couple of ways in which treatment maybe able to help. However, more research is still required in this field.
What is involved in a Reflexology treatment?
As a therapist, I like to firstly soak my patients feet in a warm foot bath with tea tree and lavender solution to help aid relaxation and to clean the feet.
After the feet are dried, the patient is asked to lie down on the couch where I check their feet for any verruca or any other issues. The treatment begins with warming the feet up before I actually begin the reflexology. I use a foot lotion to make movement more fluid and begin the firm but relaxing massage of both feet. Some areas may appear tender to the patient and this often indicated an imbalance in the area of the body. The session is finished off with a relaxing foot and lower leg massage. The session can take 45 – 60 minutes depending on the session booked.
To gain the most out of a reflexology it is advisable to book 4-6 consecutive treatments before going on to maintenance treatments every 4-8 weeks.