Reflexology is an alternative treatment that is found to be very effective when used along with osteopathy, acupuncture or light therapy. An extremely relaxing form of massage, it relates to specific “reflex points/areas” located on the feet, hands or ears. These points correspond with each body organ, gland or system and are linked to these body parts by “zones”, “energy channels” or “meridians”. Energy channels tend to get blocked when there is an imbalance or illness in the body. Reflexology therapy techniques remove these blocks and allows the energy to start flowing freely again.
Known as a holistic and healing art, reflexology usually yields the best of results when the practitioner works with dedication and self-belief. It not only reduces muscular tension and stress but also cleanses the body of impurities and toxins that are harmful. Reflexology is used as “Preventative Healthcare” as it revitalizes energy and brings about balance in the whole system.
Research in the US as well as around the world indicates that reflexology brings about positive benefits for various conditions. The National Cancer Institute as well as the National Institutes of Health conducted numerous studies that have indicated that reflexology has helped to reduce/lessen pain, stress, anxiety and depression as well as enhance sleep, natural healing and relaxation.
The theory that reflexology definitely works with the central nervous system of the body is built on the studies done in the 1890s by Sir Charles Sherrington and Sir Henry Head, who showed that there is a neurological relationship between internal organs and the skin and the body’s nervous system can adjust to a stimulus. Therefore according to this theory, a pressure applied to the hands, feet or ears will send relaxing and calming messages to various parts of the body from peripheral nerves in the feet, hands and ears.
“The Gate Theory” and “The Neuromatrix Theory” also explain why reflexology produces relief from pain and stress. The theories suggest that the brain creates pain which is a subjective experience in response to cognitive or emotional factors; therefore one’s moods and factors like stress and tension can affect our experiences of pain. Thus reflexology therapy reduces pain by improving the mood and reducing stress.
Another theory states that the human body has “vital energy” and there is congestion or choking of the energy flow which causes illness and disorders in the body.
Reflexology helps with the flow of energy. The “Zone Theory” in the human body is divided or separated into ten vertical zones that correspond to toes and fingers right up to the head. The theory states that every muscle, organ and gland that is located in a zone is accessible through a reflex point on the feet or hands.
The guiding principles in the practice of reflexology are:
- Practitioners do not heal patients – the body heals and repairs itself.
- The practitioner is only a participant and not the healer.
- The human body responds to touch which encourages healing.
- It is possible for both the client and the practitioner to “feel” the move of energy from reflex points on the feet, hands and ears to other corresponding parts of the body.
- Reflexology cannot replace medical treatment
- Reflexology is used as an alternative treatment or a complementary therapy
- Reflexology differs from foot massage
- Reflexologists state that most health problems are stress and tension related.
This is proof enough for people who are stressed and suffering from chronic ailments to try this form of treatment that has been in use in India, China, Egypt and other ancient civilizations.