What is reflexology?
Reflexology is an ancient form of health care that goes back as far as the Roman Empire and Chinese and Japanese Buddhist Monks. It spread from there to Eastern Europe, where it soon spread to other areas of the world. By the mid-1500’s Germany and England practiced reflexology and used reflex zones. Around the 1900’s Germany and Russia evolved the practice by adding zones and pressure points (reflexes).
Zones are the same as the energy meridians of the body, which run from the top of the head through the bottoms of the feet and through the toes.
These zones basically encompass the nerves that run through the body, that go through the organs as they go through the zones.
Reflexes are the areas on the Face, Ears, Hands, and Feet that encompass the nerve endings. Light pressure points stimulates the reflexes. Nerves associated with each organ are activated to help them function optimally. The energy pathways down the same meridians are also activated by this same reflex stimulation.
Face, Ears, Hands and Feet; Oh! reflexology
Reflexology works on the nerve endings on the face, the ears, the hands and the feet. Ultimately the result is the same. The feet have the largest area to work with, and are most popular because the reflexes are the easiest to get access to. There are 7,000 nerve endings in the feet alone, which make them very easy to work with. Reflexology on the feet has shorter hold on each reflex, where the pressure is held a bit longer on the face, and even longer on the ears. The ears are much more condensed, so several points are activated at the same time often, and the ears are more effective for acute pain management.
There is a method to the location of the reflexes
There’s a “map” of the human body outlined by the location of the reflexes on each area that reflexology is done. On the feet, for example, when looking at the bottom of the foot, the “head” of the body is located on the toes, the lungs are on the “ball” of the foot, and the stomach, internal organs and intestines below, down to the bottom of the heel. The base of the toes going across is the “neck and shoulder” line, and if you
line up the two feet together the insides of the feet map together to create the “spine”. Since there are organs that we have two of, like the kidneys, there is one located on each foot. Other organs that we have one of, like the bladder, is split between the two feet; or the spleen and gall bladder, which is located on one foot or the other, according to where the meridians go through the body.
What is reflexology good for?
Reflexology is excellent for chronic conditions, for reducing stress, assisting in circulation and the functioning of the nervous system, cleansing the body of toxins, and bringing the body back to “homeostasis”, which is a fancy term for coming back into balance. When the body is in balance, it already knows how to heal itself. Reflexology relaxes the body, so it can get back to the job of healing itself. Clients report having results for headaches, digestive issues, allergies, pain, lymphedema, neuropathy, insomnia, depression, and a host of other concerns.
Is there a limit to what Reflexologist can do? Yes. Reflexologists cannot diagnose illnesses, or prescribe medications. It isn’t a “treatment” of an illness, but more an overall balancing of the body during the session. Reflexologists in this state may not use tools, or massage during the session.
How to tell if something is “wrong” during a session
A Reflexologist looks for specific things when doing a session, like the color and warmth of the skin, puffiness, injury, scars, and other issues that may be present. Swelling that is related to a health issue, or tenderness in certain areas may occur. These don’t necessarily indicate any specific issue going on in the body, but can indicate an area that needs additional attention to function optimally.
When internal knowledge shows up
Most clients want to know, “do you feel anything funny when an organ is not working well?”
What I feel is basically the collection of toxins, which congregate into crystals. As I am working on an area, I may feel them breaking up or “popping”, much like a “moisture bead” like you would find in health and beauty soaps and cleansers. This releases the toxins and helps them to flow out of the client’s system with water or other fluids that the client drinks.
Side effects of having reflexology?
Generally speaking, the biggest side effect is relaxation. Sometimes a client will feel the need to use the bathroom after a session is over. This is due to the stimulation of the bladder and elimination systems. There are times when “electrical” sensations are felt as the nervous system and energy systems are activated. Clients occasionally report a feel of “draining” when working the lymph areas and sinuses. If an area is overworked on a client with chronic stress or higher toxin levels, a “healing response” may occur. This is generally unusual and could include fatigue, sneezing, diarrhea or nausea, or headaches. I have not had any of these reported to me to date.
Times that reflexology is not recommended
Reflexology is considered a very safe experience. There are really only two reasons that reflexology should be reconsidered: a client with a history of embolisms and a client that has had chemotherapy within the last 48 hours. The reasons for this are that if a blood clot is present in the body,
reflexology could stimulate its release into an unwanted location. With chemotherapy, the reason to wait at least 48 hours from treatment is because reflexology ultimately stimulates better functioning of the organs. It may send the chemotherapy through the system too quickly. This prevents chemo’s full usefulness.
Article author, Deborah Dunlap
Offers services in Reflexology, Health Coaching, Reiki, and Aroma Touch in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
Connect with her at Hands, Heart and Health handshearthealth.com (Full bio below)