Reflexology, while similar in
principal to Shiatsu and
Acupressure, focuses on points of
the hands and feet believed to
correspond to each organ, gland and
structure of the body. Practitioners
manipulate reflex points to reduce
tension, improve blood supply and
reestablish harmony among body
functions. As in Shiatsu and Jin
Shin Do, clients can remain clothed
except for shoes and socks.
What is Reflexology?
The ancient healing art of
reflexology has been known to man
for many thousands of years. It was
first practiced 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 anaesthetizing 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
feet and hands are linked to other
areas and organs of the body within
the same zone.
In the 1930's, Eunice Ingham, a
therapist, further developed and
refined the zone therapy into what
is now 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 You?
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
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 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 You Go For
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 pleasant and soothing.
Reflexology will relax you while
stimulating the body's own healing
Usually a treatment session lasts
for 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 is transitory. It is, however,
vital information for reflexologists,
as it shows how your body is
responding to treatment.