Mostly associated with being a treatment for the feet and for relaxation and stress relief, Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas of the feet, hands and ears.
What may not be known is that points of the foot, hand and ear, are connected to the organs, areas and systems of the body through the central nervous system. These points are called reflexes and applying pressure to them can cause the corresponding area to relax which encourages healing.
The corresponding areas are detailed on a series of charts which are studied, along with muscle manipulation and pressure techniques by reflexologists and can commonly be combined with other hands on therapies such as massage.
What happens during a reflexology treatment?
As with all therapies, you will first be required to have a consultation with your reflexologist to establish why you are seeking the treatment, what results you hope to achieve and also to give them a more comprehensive view of your overall health.
Your therapist will ask you to fill out a health questionnaire and it is important that you are completely honest and are sure to report:
- If you have any medical conditions, are undergoing treatment or receiving medication
- Have recently had an operation or surgery or have any recently healed injuries
- You are, or might be, pregnant
Your therapist will then be able to tailor the treatment accordingly. Eg, if you have recently broken a toe, they will reduce the pressure that is given to that area.
A typical treatment will last between 30 minutes to 1 hour and depending on your treatment will be applying pressure to your feet (most common) hand or ears.
It is important to remember that reflexology is not just a foot massage.
Your therapist may start off with a general massage to increase blood flow and help you relax but reflexology is about applying firm pressure which may be uncomfortable and perhaps overwhelming at first.
You will feel the effects in your body as the corresponding systems and organs relax and you may even feel emotional. Your body is just reacting and it is completely normal. If you do have any concerns, or feel discomfort, you should discuss this with your therapist.
Afterwards you may feel very relaxed and sleepy or you may feel energised, results vary between individuals and between sessions so you may want to ensure that you have time afterwards to relax and recuperate.
What are the benefits of reflexology?
The reasons that someone would choose to see a reflexologist are as wide ranging as the benefits of the treatment itself. It is most commonly associated with relaxation and stress relief as both will help their overall general wellbeing.
However, as well as being a general healer, reflexology can help a variety of conditions such as:
- Anxiety & Depression,
- Sleep disorders
- Sports injuries
- Trapped nerves
- Muscle Pain
- Poor circulation
- Menstrual problems
- Symptoms of menopause
- Migraines and tension headaches
- Respiratory problems
- Irritable bowel syndrome
As reflexology applies pressure to the reflexes, each treatment can be designed to target specific areas of distress. It is best to discuss with your therapist if you have health concerns so they can tailor your treatment plan accordingly.
How does reflexology work?
The word reflex means a movement that occurs in response to a stimulus. Reflexologists apply pressure to points, called reflexes, on the foot, hand or ear which send unconscious signals through the central nervous system to corresponding area, in order to encourage relaxation and healing.
The general massage of the foot will increase bloodflow and help oxygenate the blood. While applying pressure to the reflexes will send signals to relax the corresponding area which encourages healing and regeneration.
So what should you be aware of before you attend your therapy session?
Your therapist will be in contact with your feet, so it’s not for those who are squeamish or uncomfortable with their feet being touched. That said, there is no need to be nervous. Reflexologists are comfortable around feet and even conditions such as verruca’s and open wounds can be overcome by wearing gloves to carry out the treatment.
However, Reflexology may not be suitable for everyone at specific times.
While reflexology can aid recovery of some injuries, some injuries that could be aggravated by applying pressure. (such as a recently injured foot or hand) Once, healed you should also let your therapist know so they can reduce the pressure at those points.
Blood clotting issues
Those with blood clotting issues such as thrombosis may want to avoid reflexology treatments until the issue is resolves. Reflexology helps improve blood flow and circulation which could potentially move blood clots towards the organs.
If you are, or think you might be pregnant, you should make your reflexologist aware. While it may still be possible to receive the treatment with some alterations, your reflexologist will be able to advise on how to proceed.
To find a Reflexologist near you check out our Reflexology Listings