What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points, or reflexes, on the feet, hands and ears, correspond with different parts of the body. Pressure will be applied using fingers, thumbs and hands to stimulate energy flow, nerve function and the circulation of blood and lymph, with the aim of encouraging the body’s powerful own healing mechanism, placing it in a better position to rebalance itself and achieve homeostasis.
Our aim is to work holistically with our clients to promote better health and wellbeing. This is achieved by devising a bespoke treatment plan, which considers you as a whole, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting your wellbeing. Reflexology can be used by anyone at any time however there may occasionally be times when a treatment is not suitable and so if you have any questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.
Reflexologists do not cure, diagnose or prescribe, however subjectively, it can have a positive effect on symptoms such as anxiety, stress and depression, boosting energy levels, balancing hormones, reducing pain and improving sleep. Objectively reflexology can improve the circulatory system which is essential for the transportation of oxygen to all cells, carrying nutrients and hormones, removing waste products, regulating body temperature and carrying white blood cells and antibodies to help fight infection. Thus having a positive impact on your overall health, enabling you to feel healthier, energised and more balanced.
There has been some positive research carried out with reflexology, however, as yet, there is not a large enough body of evidence for reflexologists to make clinical claims of its effectiveness. Nevertheless, it can be a powerful form of preventative medicine and with the ever increasing stress in our daily life, reflexology can be one way to mitigate the negative effects this has on our physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Some people find it helps for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!
A brief history of reflexology
Modern reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy. There is evidence of some form of foot and hand therapy being practised in China as far back as 4,000 B.C. and also at the same time in Egypt, as depicted in the tomb of Ankmahor. The North American tribes of Indians are also known to have practised a form of foot therapy for hundreds of years. There is some confusion about the true origin of this powerful therapy, sufficient to say that it has stood the test of time and has helped thousands of people to better health.
This form of therapy, however, was not introduced to the West until Dr William Fitzgerald (1872-1942) developed 'Zone Therapy' in the early twentieth century. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone. Dr Joe Shelby Riley (1856-1947) trained by Dr Fitzgerald, further developed zone therapy by adding eight horizontal divisions to the zones of the hands and feet. His work is believed to be the beginning of reflexology as it is known today with the recognition that reflexes found on the hands and feet correspond with the anatomy of the body.
In the 1930's, Eunice Ingham (1889-1972) worked with Dr Riley and continued to refine and improve on his work. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body and that by alternating pressure, rather than having a numbing effect, stimulated healing.
More recently, the world of reflexology is changing and the benefits are becoming more widely accepted and appreciated. For example, in some Western countries, in particular Denmark, the issue of stress in the work place has been a key focus for a number of years. Denmark is known as the country with one of the best work-life balances in all of Europe and its citizens are the most likely to use reflexology to support their health and wellbeing. Studies conducted of on-site reflexology in various work places, including councils and the Danish Post Office, have shown that people take fewer sick days, pain levels have reduced, staff report an increase in overall wellbeing and motivation and an increase in satisfaction in the workplace including feelings of support from thier employers and an increase in loyalty to the company.
What is clear is that reflexology has ancient foundations that has developed and evolved into the modern world and is becoming increasingly chosen as a way of improving and maintaining health in a natural way.
Articles of interest:
- 'Is there science to support reflexology?': https://www.massagemag.com/science-reflexology-research-86595/
- “Alternative health: an expert explains the benefits of reflexology massage” The Telegraph. (14.11.14) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/alternative-medicine/11225610/Alternative-health-an-expert-explains-the-benefits-of-reflexology-massage.html
- “The effects of Reflexology on sleep disorder in menopausal women”. Science Direct. (2012). http://www.feel-good-dates.com.au/page44/page46/page46.html
- “Reflexology: as effective as pain killers”. The Telegraph. (09.04.13). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/9981099/Reflexology-as-effective-as-pain-killers.html
- “Reflexology – Caring for Older People”. Lynne Booth. (August 2010). https://www.magonlinelibrary.com/doi/abs/10.12968/nrec.2007.9.10.27201
- “Essential guide to reflexology for older people”. My Ageing Parent (20.08.15). https://myageingparent.com/health/medical/essential-guide-to-reflexology-for-older-people/
- “Reflexology to Help Stress and Anxiety”. Lynne Booth. (March 2013). http://www.positivehealth.com/article/reflexology/reflexology-to-help-stress-and-anxiety
- “Research: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reflexology”. Reflexology Research Project. http://www.reflexology-research.com/?page_id=117
- "History of Reflexology". The History of Reflexology. (2014). http://reflexologyhistory.com/index.html
- "Reflexology for MS". Multiple Sclerosis Trust. https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/reflexology
- “Reflexology can help sleep issues”. Lynne Booth (Feb 2015) http://www.positivehealth.com/article/reflexology/reflexology-can-help-sleep-issues
- 'Delegations and Referral Guide on Good Medical Practice': General Medical Council. https://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/21187.asp
- "The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage and Reflexology on Pain and Fatigue in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial". (2017). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27091583
- 'NHS Natural Health School' (2018). https://nhsnaturalhealthschool.co.uk/