We have all heard and/or learned that our body has reflexes; a reactionary, or involuntary, response in the body when an outside stimuli triggers the central nervous system (CNS). I am sure you are all imagining the stereotypical doctor knocking on the knee to see how quickly the body’s CNS is able to react.
Our central nervous system works through chain reactions, and like the doctor and his tool, everyday our body is exposed to outside stimuli that cause chain reactions in our CNS. In today’s world we are overexposed to stimuli in all sensory aspects, which makes it difficult for our body to relax and repair itself. Luckily, there is a therapy that is dedicated to stimulating the body’s reflex points and resetting any imbalances.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is natural healing art that uses applied pressure techniques, traditionally performed on the hands and feet. Reflex points are three dimensional and run throughout our body, ending at various areas. The hands and feet are the preferred canvas for practicing reflexology, as they house and map out all organs and glands within the entire body. Every treatment covers all reflex points and their reflation to the entire body, making reflexology a holistic modality.
Historically, reflexology dates back to 2500 BC in Egypt. It can also be traced back to regions like Japan, China, India, 14th Century throughout Europe and carried to Western parts of the world in the 19th Century. Each culture has its own traditions and techniques – however all reflexology has the one goal of balancing and resetting the body back to homeostasis, via reflex points.
In Western reflexology, Zone Theory is fundamental. It organizes the reflexes into relationships between relative areas. The hands and feet are broken down into longitudinal and horizontal zones. Zones help organize all parts, organs, and glands as they intersect and overlap. Referral areas, when looking at just the structural body, are the parts that run along the same longitudinal plane and affect each other’s alignment. These referral areas are as follows: shoulders and hips, elbows and knees, wrists and ankles. The same concept is used for the perspective of reflex points and their relations to one another in the same zone. Therefore, any applied pressure along one zone will have effects to all points that run along it.
The right side of the foot corresponds to the right side of the body, as does the left side of the foot to the left side of the body. When dealing with the brain reflexes in the big toes the right side corresponds to the left-brain reflexes and the left side corresponds to the right-brain reflexes.
A reflexology session is always started by stimulating the right foot, working from the bottom up. This follows the body’s natural elimination/detoxification cycle. First, we want to boost the body’s natural nutrient circulation, aiding the body in optimal strength – and then move to the left foot to work with the body in assisting all-natural detoxification and elimination processes.
A reflexologist uses their fingers to walk along or push into reflex points. A reflexologist can determine deposits by feeling a gritty like texture beneath the palm of the hand or sole of the foot. Another indication is a swollen or tight feeling over a reflex area. Clients may also feel pain in reflexes that are in distress.
The Art of Reflexology:
Each reflexologist gets to customize a treatment to the client’s individual needs. Adjusting techniques or giving areas more attention to provide an ideal physiological response for the body to release any tension or blockages.
Who Can Benefit from Reflexology?
The short answer is…EVERYONE! Reflexology is an excellent non-invasive therapy, making it perfect for all ages and health statues. Reflexology is not just for people with a physical problem, as it strengthens all body systems. It is also helpful in assisting with disease prevention.
A session will leave you with an overall sense of relaxation. Throughout the treatment you may feel tingling or a sensation of warmth traveling throughout your body. This is the reflex response from the applied pressure to the reflexes. In addition, reflexology can help with:
- Back Pain
- Sinus Issues
- Joint Pain
- Allergy Symptoms
- Menstrual Disorders
- Post Operation Recovery
- Mood Swings
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Pain and Inflammation
By law reflexology cannot cure, diagnose or treat any specific condition. It does however provide an ideal environment for the body to follow its natural healing process. Reflexology is a great way to learn more about your body and the signs it shows when there is an imbalance. Reflexology can work in harmony with other modalities, both Western and holistic, and should be viewed as a complementary therapy.
Written by: Karissa J Hill – Reflexologist