What is Reflexology?
The ancient healing art of reflexology has been known to man for many thousands of years. It was first practised by the early Indian, Chinese and Egyptian peoples.
In 1913 Dr William Fitzgerald, an American ear, nose and throat surgeon, introduced this therapy to the West. He noted that pressure on specific parts of the body could have an anaesthetising effect on a related area. Developing this theory, he divided the body into ten equal and vertical zones, ending in the fingers and toes. He concluded that pressure on one part of a zone could affect everything else within that zone. Thus, reflex areas on the hands and feet are linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.
In the 1930's, Eunice Ingram, a therapist, further developed and refined the zone theory into what is today known as foot reflexology. She observed that congestion or tension in any part of the foot mirrors congestion or tension in a corresponding part of the body. Thus, when you treat the big toes there is a related effect in the head, and treating the whole foot can have a relaxing and healing effect on the whole body.
How Can Reflexology Help Me?
The body has the ability to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury or disease, it is in a state of imbalance, and vital energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning effectively. Reflexology can be used to restore and maintain the body's natural equilibrium and encourage healing.
A reflexologist uses hands only to apply gentle pressure to the feet. For each person the application and the effect of the therapy is unique. Sensitive, trained hands can detect tiny deposits and imbalances in the feet, and by working on these points the reflexologist can release blockages and restore the free flow of energy to the whole body. Tensions are eased, and circulation and elimination is improved. This gentle therapy encourages the body to heal itself at its own pace, often counteracting a lifetime of misuse.
Who Can Benefit From Reflexology?
Since reflexology treats the whole person, not the symptoms of disease, most people benefit from treatment. The therapy brings relief to a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, and is suitable for all ages. Once your body is in-tune, it is wise to have regular treatments in order to help and maintain health and well-being. An increasing number of people are using this safe, natural therapy as a way of relaxing, balancing and harmonising the body.
What Happens When I Go For Treatment?
On your first visit there is a preliminary talk with the practitioner. The reflexologist then begins to work on your feet, or hands if necessary, noting problem areas. There may be discomfort in some places, but it is fleeting, and is an indication of congestion or imbalance in a corresponding part of the body. For the most part, the sensation is relaxing and soothing. Reflexology will relax you while stimulating the body's own healing mechanisms.
Usually a treatment session last about one hour. A course of treatment varies in length depending on your body's needs. Your reflexologist will discuss this with you at the first session. After the first treatment or two your body may respond in a very definite way: you may have a feeling of well-being and relaxation, or you may feel lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this transitory. It is, however, vital information for your reflexologist, as it shows how your body is responding to treatment.
The Association of Reflexologists
The Association was founded in England in 1984 and now has branches in many parts of the world. The Association arose from a need to establish standards and to provide a network of qualified practitioners to which the public can refer with confidence. It is a truly independent organisation not affiliated to any particular training establishment.
The aim of the Association is to help maintain a high standard of practise and patient-care and to promote reflexology. Members are men and women who are qualified therapists and who abide by the Association's Codes of Practise and Ethics. They do not claim to cure, diagnose medical conditions, or prescribe. They do not treat specific ailments, but treat the whole person by stimulating and balancing the whole body.