Massaging feet like so many other therapies is an ancient art dating back 2500 years. Egyptian hieroglyphics and papyrus show hand and foot treatments. The Chinese have used pressure point techniques. These were incorporated in full body treatments such as acupuncture and shiatsu.
Reflexology as a treatment in its own is still new. Its development into the treatment we know today began at the turn of the 20th century when Dr William Fitzgerald an American ear, nose and throat specialist developed zone therapy. He discovered that applying pressure to certain parts of the body, particularly the hands and feet, could give pain relief. He divided the body into ten zones, each zone linked organs and the energy flow between the zones. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist moved away from zone theory to develop a foot map pinpointing the bodies, organs and systems of the feet. This is the basis of reflexology as we know it today.
Reflexology is a holistic treatment that works on the feet and/or hands to balance the whole body. It includes both massage and pressure point techniques to have an effect on the energy pathways or reflex zones of the body. Each part of the foot corresponds to a part or an area of the body. Our anatomy and physiology of the human body can fit neatly into the shape of the feet. The points on the left foot correspond to the left side of the body and those on the right to the right side.
Energy may be deficient, stagnated or in excess, and reflexology aims to create balance and harmony in the system of the body.
The benefits and effects of Reflexology:
- Reflexology has a holistic approach it balances energy to return the body to a state of equilibrium on a mental and emotional as well as physical level
- Circulation is increased
- The lymphatic system is boosted, improving immunity and the removal of toxins and impurities from the tissues
- The treatment encourages the body to eliminate toxins and impurities and this can be seen by an increase in the activity of the kidneys and digestive system
- It is deeply relaxing, relieving mental and physical fatigue
- In a deeply relaxed state the body initiates its own healing forces
- Reflexology has far-reaching effects, more so than working on the external area of the body
- The treatment creates a feeling of well-being as endorphins are released
- It eases pain as the pressure on the points acts to confuse the body pain receptors and interrupt the pain cycle
- It both stimulates and soothes the nervous system
- There is a balancing effect on the endocrine system
- Reflexology has been shown to affect blood pressure, having a normalizing effect
Although benefits are often felt after a single session, regular treatment will maintain the effects.