Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet (or the hands). Reflexology is generally relaxing and may help alleviate stress. The theory behind reflexology is that areas of the foot correspond to organs and systems of the body.
Reflexology is a gentle and effective form of therapeutic treatment applied to the feet (click on feet link and see interactive foot map) hands (click on hand link and see interactive hand map) and ears. Reflexology is considered to be a holistic healing technique that aims to treat the individual as a whole, in order to induce a state of balance and harmony in the body, mind, and spirit. Reflexology is based on the belief that there are reflex areas on the feet, hands, and ears corresponding to all the parts of the body including major organs. The therapist stimulates and works these organs and systems through the reflexes, applying pressure to the feet with thumb and fingers. A treatment lasts between 40 minutes and 1 hour. Most people can benefit from Reflexology because it can bring relief to a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions and is suitable for all ages, including children. Once the body has been rebalanced, regular treatments can help to maintain health and general well-being.
History of Reflexology
The origins of Reflexology evidently reach back to ancient Egypt as evidenced by inscriptions found in the physician’s tomb at Saqqara in Egypt. The translation of the hieroglyphics are as follows: “Don’t hurt me.” The practitioner’s reply:- ” I shall act so you praise me. “
We cannot determine the exact relationship between the ancient art as practiced by the early Egyptians and Reflexology as we know it today. Different forms of working the feet to effect health have been used all over the ancient world. Dr. Riley maintained that this form of healing spread from Egypt via the Roman Empire.
How Does Reflexology Work?
The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are certain points or “reflex areas” on the feet and hands that are connected energetically to specific organs and body parts through energy channels in the body.
By applying pressure to reflex areas, a reflexologist is said to remove energy blockages and promote health in the related body area. Here are some examples of reflex areas and their corresponding body parts:
- The tips of the toes reflect the head
- The heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
- The liver, pancreas, and kidney are in the arch of the foot
- Low back and intestines are towards the heel
Although the roots of reflexology go back to ancient Egypt and China, William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed the zone theory in the 1930s into what is known as modern reflexology.
According to reflexologists, pressure on the reflex points also helps to balance the nervous system and stimulates the release of endorphins that help to reduce pain and stress.
Why Do People Get Reflexology?
People have used reflexology to address these conditions:
- Stress and stress-related conditions
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Digestive disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Sports injuries
- Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Digestive problems, such as constipation
- Multiple sclerosis
- Back pain
Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care. A 2015 review published in Integrative Cancer Therapies found that reflexology massage was more effective for the relief of cancer pain and surgery-related pain than body massage or aromatherapy massage.
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Roll your feet on a golf ball, marbles, or tennis ball so that you can strengthen your feet muscles and arches.
You exercise your legs or your arms, right, well you should also exercise your feet. There some great stretching and strengthening exercises you can do to strengthen the arches of the foot.
Use a golf ball, marbles, or a tennis ball to hit the tender trigger points in your foot.
Stand up or sit on a comfortable chair, with your feet on a carpeted surface. Place a golf ball under your barefoot. Roll the golf ball back and forth under your foot with as much pressure as you are able to. Roll the golf ball from the front of your foot to the back along the arches and other outer edges. Do this exercise 5 minutes per foot, 2 times per day. This golf ball exercise helps to relax the foot.
Stretch the Plantar Fascia while seating down.
Seated Foot Stretch- Sit in a chair with your foot crossed over the opposite knee and grab your foot with your hand and slowly bend your toes toward your knee. Hold this foot stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. This exercise stretch can be done 3 times to 10 times per day.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.