Reflexology is a holistic treatment based on the principle that there are areas and points on the feet or hands that map via the nervous system to corresponding parts of the body. When pressure is applied to these areas and points it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, and helps to restore homeostasis (balance) in the whole body. Reflexology is known as Zone Therapy in countries other than the UK.
There are 7,000-7,200 nerve endings in the human foot, and each of these is a reflex point that corresponds to a body part. Reflexology uses special finger/thumb manipulations to stimulate reflex points, which will stimulate the flow of energy to the corresponding body part. This gradually helps to restore homeostasis and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself, physically and emotionally. As reflex points are minute, the movements are quite precise and care must be taken to cover all of them to ensure that the treatment is comprehensive and therefore a holistic treatment for the whole body. However, there is no reason why a specific reflex point (or points) can’t be worked on more if an imbalance is detected. Imbalances manifest themselves through crystals at the affected reflex point, which vary from being slightly crunchy like sugar to lumps of varying sizes. Dispersing these crystals is what unblocks energy channels, and this is done by applying firm pressure with the thumb (or fingers depending on where on the foot the reflex point is). Visible signs of imbalance could be hard skin, discolouration of skin (e.g. yellowing), marks on the foot (red marks can indicate acute problems), and bunions. The odour, temperature, and moistness of a foot also play a part in assessing it. It will often take several treatments to awaken the reflexes and start to see some effect.
Reflexology has been practised in some form for thousands of years, indeed the first solid proof is to be found on a pictograph painted on an Egyptian tomb dated between 2500 – 2330 BC. The next evidence is a lot younger, in the form of a book written by two physicians called Dr Adamus and Dr Atitis on zone therapy in 1582. Another picture shows the practice in China, dated 1870.
Some of the benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increases energy, boosts circulation, induces a deep state of relaxation, eliminates toxins, stimulates the central nervous system, prevents migraines, cleans up urinary tract conditions, speeds recovery after injury or surgery, helps relieve sleep disorders, reduces depression, and relieves pain. Furthermore, it can help ease the treatment of various cancer and even helps to soothe the pains of pregnancy, even those occurring after the baby is born.