Reflexology: more than just a foot massage?
Complementary therapies have been growing in popularity for many years and they can have a positive effect on our wellbeing. There are so many choices of therapies that it’s important to understand a little about them before you choose.
Reflexology is an ancient holistic therapy that focuses on massage to stimulate reflex points on the feet. This therapy was thought to be practised by the Egyptians and Chinese as early as 2300BC. Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body.
Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside other healthcare providers, to promote better wellbeing for their clients. Each reflex point of the feet acts as a mirror that corresponds to a particular part of the body. By stimulating these points the 7000 nerves and the 26 bones in the feet help release blockages and re-balance the energy flow in the body. The exact nature of this action is not known but it corresponds more with the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine than western medicine.
What most of us want to know is what the therapy feels like and what it can do for us? Reflexology begins with a soothing, relaxing foot massage. The specialised reflexology massage follows, as the therapist works around your reflex zones using thumb and finger pressure, as well as massage techniques. Most therapists work on the feet and ankles but hand reflexology is also available.
The treatment should not be painful and for most it produces a deep sense of relaxation and tranquillity. Many of my clients’ feel that they have drifted off to sleep during the treatment but usually although deeply relaxed they are still aware and not fully asleep. During the session you may experience different sensations in your feet and body; it may feel like a tingle or it may feel slight pins and needles. Sensitivity varies from person to person and from treatment to treatment.
Many people chose reflexology simply to enjoy a precious hour to just relax and unwind. Reflexology can, however, promote wellbeing in other ways.
Scientific studies have reported reflexology treatments can be used as a powerful form of pain relief. Reflexology was shown to increase pain tolerance and pain thresholds by up to 45%. Research has also strongly suggested many other conditions benefit from regular reflexology.
- Pre Menstrual Syndrome;
- Phantom Limb Pain;
- Fatigue and Insomnia;
- Chronic Pain;
- Pregnancy ailments;
If you would like more information on these research studies please visit http://www.breathetherapy.co.uk/reflexology-research-blog/
Reflexology is enjoyed by many people of all ages, with many diverse needs. If you feel that a treatment may benefit you then you can contact a qualified and insured therapist via the Federation of Holistic Therapists. http://findatherapist.fht.org.uk/search-directory
About the author: Joanne Marie is a nurse, reflexology and massage practitioner working at Breathe Holistic Therapy Kidderminster DY11 5LB http://www.breathetherapy.co.uk/. A passionate advocate of complementary therapies Joanne works with a wide variety of clients. Joanne has an eleven-year-old son who loves reflexology and massage almost as much as his mother!