What is foot reflexology?
If you've ever had foot reflexology, you'll know how relaxing and pleasurable this deceptively simple-looking act can be.
Basically, it's an alternative medicine "pressure therapy" whereby pressure is physically applied to certain reflex points located in the foot using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques.
This "pressure therapy" is known to cure or prevent disease and is usually performed without oil or lotion. It also induces deep relaxation and a state of well-being.
History of reflexology
According to Greek legend, the feet symbolized the soul, and any lameness was perceived as weakness of spirit.
However, the earliest known reference to Reflexology dates back to Egypt, more than 4,000 years ago. Illustrations of a patient and physician were found on the wall of the Physicians Tomb at Saqqara. The hieroglyphics above the scene translated as: "Do not let it hurt" says the patient, whereby the practitioner replies: "I shall act so you praise me."
This ancient form of relaxation therapy was also used by the Chinese, in conjunction with acupuncture.
What's in a foot?
Overall, it was discovered that the feet are a mirror image of all the organs, glands and parts of the body.
Basic Reflexology Areas on the Foot
Head and Neck: all of toes, including joints and foot
Spine: runs up the inside of both feet
Chest area: ball of foot
Waist line: differs depending on individual; but always at the place where your foot is thinnest in width
Pelvic area: where the bottom region of your foot changes to a darker colour
Our nerve zones or reflex points go from the bottom of our feet to the top of our head, encompassing all vital organs on the way.
'Lumps' or 'grits' on the foot will reflect blockages of the energy in the body. Blockages can develop anywhere in the body for a variety of reasons: the season, a persons diet or emotions, a person's physical environment, etc. These blockages in energy pathways can lead to physical illness.
Reflexology works through the nerve endings to calm and relax the body by applying manual pressure to these reflex points in the foot stimulate the corresponding areas and remove blockages.
Why is Reflexology Good for You
- Relaxes the body
Just like a massage, foot reflexology induces a state of deep relaxation. Unlike an ordinary massage, however, it targets specific pressure points of the foot. This opens neural pathways and stimulates chemical changes in the body that lead to reduced muscle pain and stress. Many people fall asleep during a 1 hour session - a sure sign of relaxation and the feel-good factor!
2. Increases blood circulation around the body
Massage is generally good for improving circulation, but reflexology can help increase circulation in specific parts of the body. For example, massaging the spot on the foot devoted to the skin can increase blood flow to this area and give you a rosy glow.
3. Creates balance between the body's organs and systems
In certain countries where foot reflexology is commonly practised, clients experience better physiological functions after undergoing a session e.g. relieved of constipation, abdominal cramps etc.
One session could stimulate more than 7,000 nerves and this leads to the opening and cleansing or neural pathways. At the same time, the body is cleansed of toxins and impurities -which can only leave one feeling good.
However, foot reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment and should never be.
Who Should Avoid Reflexology
Wonderful as this pressure therapy is, reflexology is not for everybody.
- Patients with deep vein thrombosis or embolism i.e. an obstructino of the pulmonary artery by a blot clot or embolus) should not receive foot reflexology because of its tendency to improve circulation - the clot could move towards the heart or brain.
- Women in the early trimester of pregnancy (first six weeks) should also avoid it, as stimulation may cause contractions.
- Those with foot fractures, unhealed wounds, osteoporosis or active gout in the foot should also avoid reflexology in the foot.
What's the difference between reflexology and massage?
Many confuse reflexology with massage. While massage is performed to the soft tissues of the body. Reflexology is performed on the feet, hands or ears.
You can practice it at home among your family members too. The Reflexology Bible provides clear pictures and clearly written illustrations. Step-by-step sequences will make the instructions easy to follow.
Try it for yourself. By alleviating your tired feet, the rest of your body will fall in line. That's why I believe God made feet to be right at the bottom - so that walking itself can be a form of massage to the other organs in our body.
Amazon Price: $14.95 $8.64 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 29, 2013)