Reflexology – An Overview
So what exactly is reflexology and how can it help you? Now lockdown has lifted somewhat and self care and mental health is more important than ever – it’s the perfect time to discover the ancient art of holistic foot massage and how it could help you. Grab a brew and read on…
What is Reflexology?
You may know that Reflexology is a holistic therapy involving massage and manipulation of the feet, sometimes the hands – and even the face and ears ( I mainly work on the feet). The various zones of the feet correspond to areas of the body, so a reflexologist works systematically along the foot, applying gentle pressure to specific points. Reflexology is used to relieve tension and treat illness. The theory is that there are reflex points hands and head, as well as the feet, which are linked to every part of the body.
Think about how calming it is to walk barefoot on soft grass or warm sand. Take that to the next level: Reflexology helps aid relaxation and can reduce anxiety, pain, nausea, constipation and insomnia. My Relaxing Reflexology patients will tell you it has many more benefits than that. You can read about their experiences of Reflexology here or on my facebook page or google reviews
Reflexology has been employed for over 4,000 years, with some indication of its use in China and Ancient Egypt as early as 2330 BC. North American Indians are also thought to have used a similar foot therapy hundreds of years ago. I think we can call that ‘tried-and-tested’!
Some sort of foot massage treatment has been around since the 16th century. Later, apparently, US president James A Garfield (1881) relieved aches and pains by applying pressure to his feet. A Dr Fitzgerald introduced ‘Zone Therapy’ to the medical profession around 1915. As with many holistic treatments, Reflexology was met with some suspicion, but continued to develop and is now widely used.
How does Reflexology Work?
The theory is that energy points in the feet are revitalised through the gentle pressure and this has a beneficial effect on the corresponding part of the body. Massaging tense, swollen or tender points on the feet may help release tension or pain elsewhere.
What are the Benefits of Reflexology?
Reflexology is used to benefit both mental and physical wellbeing. At the very least, it’s an incredibly relaxing treatment – and that alone has countless benefits. However, there’s much more to Reflexology than self care and me-time, valuable though that is:
- Aches and Pains: Reflexology is often used to help treat headaches and migraines, back ache and neck pain. It may alleviate the tension in the muscles that can cause pain.
- Neurological Conditions: Reflexology can stimulate over 7,000 different nerve endings. With age, these nerve endings can lose sensitivity and Reflexology may help.
- Anxiety and Depression: The hormone Serotonin encourages a feeling of wellbeing and a lack of serotonin is linked to low mood and depression. Massage of the top of the toes can promote production of serotonin. Several glands are also involved in emotions and so stimulating the appropriate Reflexology points can be helpful. Reflexology is often used to help alleviate anxiety and stress.
- Circulation: Reflexology may improve the body’s blood flow and effective circulation enables the body to simply work better.
- Foot Health: Reflexology stimulates the muscles, eases ankle and heel pain and reduces stiffness.
- Insomnia: Reflexology undoubtedly aids relaxation as well as reducing stress. Many patients report a major improvement in their ability to sleep – and the quality of that sleep. This is huge. Tiredness and fatigue can be so debilitating, and also exacerbate low mood or anxiety. Better sleep is crucial to mental AND physical health and is also key to recovery from illness.
- PMS or Menopause: Many women are affected by their hormones and can be plagued by irritability, tummy pains, bloating, headaches, fatigue, insomnia and mood swings which can really be helped by massage. Reflexology may help reduce symptoms of the menopause, too.
- High Blood Pressure affects millions of people and contributes to kidney disease, strokes and heart disease. Reflexology has been found to have a positive effect on systolic blood pressure and triglyceride.
- Cancer Patients: Reflexology can help with the effects of gruelling treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Massage can help patients sleep better, reduce nausea and vomiting and help the digestion – as well as all the benefits it has for mental wellbeing.
- Detox: Reflexology may help eliminate toxins from the body and improve bladder function.
There are specialist forms of reflexology for specific purposes.
Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage
RLD is an award-winning treatment focusing on stimulating the feet’s lymphatic reflexes through massage. This unique sequence has been researched and developed by Sally Kay BSc(Hons), whilst working in Cancer Care. The results appear to support the theory of reflexology – RLD has a positive effect on Lymphoedema and also:
- Chronic Fatigue
- Sinus Problems
- Muscular Tension
- Aches and Pains
- Premenstrual Syndrome
Reflexology for Fertility
One in every three couples experience fertility problems. Fertility Reflexology, also known as Reproflexology, works to enhance your natural fertility, and is much more affordable and less invasive than traditional private treatments. I am an Advanced Reproflexology practitioner and I am also a Board member of the ARR.
The benefits of maternity reflexology are well-researched and studies have shown that women who have maternity reflexology experience less painful labours, shorter first stage labour and better sleep, even after pregnancy. Please see the Maternity page under treatments for more information on this.
Regular treatments can help to manage, prevent and relieve many symptoms experienced during pregnancy, including:
- Morning sickness
- Swollen feet and legs
- Pelvic and lower back pain
- Tiredness and breathlessness
Reflexology reduces stress and is also a great way to prepare your body for birth naturally by helping to relax the pelvic area.
I Need Reflexology! How Do I Book?
You can see me at The Hen House, Kingsbridge, Devon on Tuesdays 10-6pm and Wednesdays 10-6pm
Contact me to book here: https://relaxingreflexology.com/contact
Phone: 01803 362 077
Mobile: 07912 044330