Reflexology balances the nervous system or releases chemicals such as endorphins that reduce pain and stress.
According to the medical dictionary reflexology is a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body.
The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body. Proponents believe that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits the person’s health.
Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed this zone theory in the 1930’s into what is now knows as reflexology.
The pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce pain and stress.
It is totally different from foot massage. Foot massage is similar to Swedish massage, the most common type of massage in North America. People typically use massage oil or lotion and use gentle gliding strokes all over the foot.
Reflexology is quite different. While many people find reflexology relaxing, it’s based on the theory that certain points on the feet correspond to certain organs and body parts and that applying pressure to the areas can promote health in the corresponding parts.
When done by a skilled practitioner, reflexology is a deeply relaxing treatment with benefits that can be felt throughout the body. The therapist will use various techniques that include holds, finger pressure, kneading, rotation and rubbing.
The best therapists also include hands and feet as part of the reflexology treatment, and you should feel an effect through the entire body.
A typical treatment is 45 minutes to 60 minutes long and begins with a consultation about your health and lifestyle.
You are then asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit comfortably in a reclining chair or on a massage table. Otherwise you remain fully clothed.
The reflexologist will assess the feet and then stimulates various points to identify areas of tenderness or tension.
The reflexologist then uses brisk movements to warm the feet up. Then pressure is applied from the toes to the heel according to your comfort.
Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. They may even feel sleepy.