Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears utilizing specific thumb, finger and hand techniques based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet, hands, or ears with a premise that such work effects a physical change in the body.
The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as:
"A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."
What is a reflexology chart?
A reflexology chart mirrors a reflection of the body on the feet and hands, left foot or hand representing the body's left half and right foot or hand its right half. In reflexology practice, technique is applied to the relevant reflex area(s) to prompt a change in the related part of the body. Research has demonstrated such effects for several reflex areas and their reflected parts of the body, i. e. the kidney reflex areas and the kidneys; the intestine reflex areas and the intestines and the brain reflex area and the brain.
What techniques are used in reflexology?
Pressure is applied to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques. Stretch and movement techniques are utilized as "desserts" to provide relaxation to the foot. Tools or instruments- such as a golf ball or wooden foot roller- are used for self help application only. Reflexology session（for feet) lasts 30 minutes. The herbal decoction is apllied to soak the feet about 10 minnutes before reflexology.
How does reflexology work?
Reflexology works as the pressure techniques applied to the feet or hands interact as a part of the body's nervous system creating: relaxation, improved circulation, exercise of the nervous system and the benefits of touch.
Pressure sensor in the feet and hands are a part of the body's reflexive response that makes possible the "fight or flight" reaction to danger. Feet ready to flee and hands ready to fight communicate with the body"s internal organs-think adrenal glands and adrenal... to make possible either eventuality. The sudden adrenal surge that enables a person to lift a car is an example of this coordinated activity. The perception of pressure by the feet and hands taps into the reflex network that makes possible our every move. Reflexology, consistently applied, provides an exercise of these pressure sensors and thus a conditioning of the internal organs to which they are inextricably tied.
What are the benefits of reflexology ?
Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology to be effective and beneficial in many ways. A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns. Reflexology:
From the moment the reflexologist hands start their work, the relaxation begins as shown in research using EEG brain activity. All together, 24 studies demonstrate reflexology relaxation effects.
Reduction of pain is a significant result of reflexology work. The lessening of pain in response to reflexology is documented in thirty-six studies including individuals of all ages and health states: birthing mothers, menstruating women, phantom limb pain sufferers, lower back pain sufferers, cancer patients, kidney stone patients, senior citizens and individuals with pain resulting from surgery. Such results find explanation is what researcher Dr. Nancy Stephenson considers as affect on the neuromatirx of the brain, an expansion of the Fate Control Theory of Pain. According to Wikipedia: "Gate control theory asserts that activation of nerves which do not transmit pain signals, called nonnociceptive fibers, can interfere with signals from pain fibers, thereby inhibiting pain." Stimulating nerves that sense touch, heat, cold and pressure- as does reflexology- overcomes the action of the pain nerves.
3.Improves blood flow:
Separate studies show that reflexology work increases blood flow to the feet, brain, kidneys and intestines.
4. Benefits mental health:
Lessening of stress and anxiety is demonstrated in twenty-nine reflexology studies with study participants including healthy individuals, senior citizens, women and cancer patients. The stimulation of reflexology's pressure techniques creates change in the body's basic level of tension as demonstrated by research showing that reflexology relaxes the body using a variety of measurements: brain waves (EEG), blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and anxiety.Reflexology helps where nothing else can for many: phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients.
5.Complements cancer care:
Twenty-four studies conducted by nurses in ten countries show that reflexology helps with each stage of the cancer experience: following chemotherapy, post operatively, management of symptoms and during palliative/hospice care. Research demonstrates that cancer patients who receive reflexology work show significant improvements in physical and emotional symptoms: lessened pain, anxiety, depression and stress; reduced nausea and vomiting; lowered fatigue and improved quality of life.
6.Eases pregnancy, delivery and post-partum effects:
Women who received reflexology experienced shorter labor times and used less analgesia. In addition, reflexology showed a positive impact on postpartum depression, anxiety, urination and bowel movements.
7.Aids post-operative recovery:
Reflexology work aids recovery after surgery as shown by several studies, reducing pain and lessening the use of post operative analgesics.
How do I get results with reflexology?
For best results, apply reflexology techniques to targeted reflex areas consistently.You yourself can most easily provide reflexology work frequently and consistently, using self applied techniques to break up the stress patterns in your feet and hands. Apply pressure simply using a foot roller or, for the hands, a golf ball. Think morning, noon and night. Build reflexology into your life. It is easy to do reflexology while doing other activities. Put a foot roller under your desk at work, use a golf ball on your hands while waiting for the kids at school or do either while watching television. Be creative in how and where you apply techniques but be consistent.
What can a reflexologist tell me about my health?
Reflexology assessment takes place as stress cues are evaluated. Stress cues show adaptation to stress in a part of the foot or hand or a reflex area that reflects stress in the body. Adaptation is shown by visual signs such as callousing, knobby toes or a bunion. Indications of stress are also seen as sensitivity to technique application or touch signs perceived by the reflexologist as technique is applied. The assessment of such stress cues allows the reflexologist to target areas of stress and to design a session of pressure technique application appropriate to provide relaxation specific to the individual.
A reflexologist cannot diagnosis or prescribe. Also remember reflexology is an adjunct to medical help not a replacement for it. You should seek medical help if you have an urgent or acute problem.