Reflexology is a 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.
If you’ve ever spent time letting someone massage your feet you will come close to understanding what an amazing experience this is. It’s waaaaaay more than a foot massage, but that’s the easiest way to describe it.
Overall, the main theory is that reflexology helps the body to restore its balance naturally. It reduces tension, aids sleep and generally puts you into a better mood. But of course it works slightly differently for different people.
Some of the reported benefits from practitioners and patients are its ability to stimulate nerve function, increase energy, boost circulation, induce a deep state of relaxation, eliminate toxins, stimulate the central nervous system, prevent migraines, clean up urinary tract conditions, speed recovery after injury or surgery, help relieve sleep disorders, reduce depression, and relieve pain. As if that’s not enough, it’s also popular with pregnant women.
One of the things we don’t ever really think about is how hard our feet work and the pressure that’ on them all the time. Aside from anything else, reflexology is a very good way to relieve that tension and stress that’s on our feet all the time. It’s also considered a potent way to support the body when it’s going through a hard time, whether that’s physical illness or emotional trauma.
As with so many of these tried and tested holistic practices, variations on reflexology have been around for some time – the ancient Chinese and Egyptians documented practices similar to it for a number of afflictions.
The team at Ragdale Hall said: “reflexology is a modern western therapy. Similar forms of foot massage therapy have been practiced since ancient times. Chinese in origin, however many ancient cultures recognised that the feet were a way of treatment. In the West, Dr Fitzgerald, an American ear, nose and throat specialist at Boston General Hospital, developed the method of Zone Therapy, published in 1917 with Dr Edwin Bowers. In the 1930s American, Eunice Ingham, devised ‘The Ingham Method of Compression Massage’ introduced to the UK by Doreen Boyly in 1960. Ingham developed and renamed Zone Therapy Reflexology and mapped out charts of the feet and reflexology zones. Her work has been developed and many charts now exist, but all reflect the body in the feet and hands.”
Director of Therapies at Grayshott Health Spa, Elaine Williams is also a big believer in the power of reflexology: “there are 72,000 nerve endings in the feet and if you look at the point where it goes in, that’s the waist. All the abdominal organs are in the middle and it’s uncanny how you’re massaging the foot and you find the organ that it correlates to. If you stimulate the feet the organs start balancing themselves and people get better.”
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