Foot Reflexology Basics

Foot reflexology is a simple, non-invasive method to help balance the body. It has been described as a natural therapy that requires the application of a specific type of pressure on particular areas of the feet. It is based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet which correspond to every part of the body. Reflexology serves to relax, improve circulation and promote a general feeling of wellness.

 

History of Reflexology

Reflexology has been practiced for thousands of years in such places as China, Egypt, and India. In North America, it was Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat specialist, who first introduced 'zone therapy' around the early 1900s. His ideas were advanced by Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist, who developed techniques and a body map of the foot, which later became known as reflexology. Today, reflexology is increasingly becoming a popular form of natural therapy as it provides numerous benefits, particularly one of profound relaxation.

 

How Reflexology Works

Foot reflexology quite simply refers to the reflexes that have been mapped out in the foot. There are many different foot reflexology charts that show where the reflexes are for every part of the body. Reflexology is different than massage. It is thought that reflexology works through nerve endings whereas massage is applied to the muscles and soft tissue of the body. The actual technique is quite unique as it is meant to affect the reflex and not just the surface of the skin. A treatment should not be painful, though there may be uncomfortable or tender areas if your body is highly stressed. The more one applies pressure to those areas, the less tender they will become.

 

Benefits of Reflexology

Relaxation and stress management can aid in the relief of aches, pains and tension can aid digestive and elimination difficulties can help improve sleep patterns can increase mental and physical well being.

 

Reflexology Research

In the past, Reflexologists could only rely on anecdotal evidence to support their claims of the numerous benefits of this technique. Today, there are many associations and organizations promoting and supporting the work of Reflexologists from around the world. There is also an International Council of Reflexologists which has produced a Research Analysis Document that contains over 300 reflexology research studies, mainly from such places as China, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Even in North America, a study has been published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Some of the research studies examined the effects of reflexology upon certain health conditions such as: asthma, back pain, cancer, chest pain, childbirth, PMS, heart disease, constipation, gout, migraine, headaches, multiple sclerosis, and nervous exhaustion.