What is it?
Reflexology works on the theory that certain points on the feet correspond to areas and organs of the body. By stimulating these areas on the feet (or hands), your reflexologist can stimulate blood flow to organs and parts of the body to encourage healing. The overall aim of reflexology, apart from being an intensely relaxing treatment, is to provide the ideal environment for healing, optimum health and general wellbeing.
An Ancient Therapy
Various forms of foot therapy appear to have been practised in the ancient world- the earliest being in Ancient China 4000 years ago. There is also evidence that foot therapy was practices by Native Americans, and in Ancient Egypt. This picture is from the physician’s tomb, Saqqara, Egypt. 2,500 BC.
Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology has been shown to reduce stress, and can be used at work and home to help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, reduce those panicky fight or flight symptoms, and help encourage a sense of deep relaxation. For this reason Reflexology is used by some as a means of support whilst a trying to conceive a baby. See here for more information.
Reflexology is not suggested as an alternative to medical treatments, but may be useful in alleviating symptoms of nausea, anxiety, stress, pain perception and to help boost general well being.
If you are living with cancer, reflexology may be suggested as a useful therapy. Reflexology is often used to help control the side effects of chemotherapy and is also used in palliative care settings (2), and is being investigated as a treatment for lymphoedema - following mastectomy. (3)
The Association of Reflexologists is the foremost training body in the UK, running courses at the highest possible level across the UK including as part of BSc University programs (1). For more information about my training please see the 'About me' section.
Many organisations provide useful information regarding reflexology:
Reflexology-blood flow to organs-electrical pathways http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10460981