Reflexology is a holistic, non-invasive therapy based on the principle that reflexes, or areas, in the feet, hands, ears and other parts of the body correspond to internal organs and other physical structures. The reflexologist views these areas as a perfect mirror of the body, a microcosmic map of reflexes pointing to organs, muscles, bones, lymph nodes and endocrine glands that can be accessed by stimulating specific points on the map.
The image below shows a Reflexology foot chart and the specific areas or points that will be worked on during a treatment, depending on the patient’s needs.
Such mapping of reflexes is attributed both to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture points, ancient Egyptian practices and western Zone Theory. The latter was developed by American physiciotherapist Eunice Ingham at the turn of the last century, based on the research of physician William Fitzgerald, who studied the effect of using pressure for pain relief for various conditions. This practice has been widespread since the 1800s, with many studies on sensory nerve endings and the transmission of nerve signals showing that pressure on these points affects the autonomic nervous system. This in turn innervates and stimulates the function of all organs and structures in the body.
Reflexology in its current form is practised worldwide. Its aim is to return the body to a state of internal and external balance. However, professional Reflexologists do not claim to diagnose, cure or prescribe.
Reflexology is a holistic therapy, which means that it treats the whole individual and not the symptoms, so it is not possible to accurately predict how a person may react to treatment. At its very least, Reflexology is an effective stress-reliever which provides deep relaxation for the person receiving treatment, which has been shown to positively affect mood, sleep and wellbeing.
Reflexology is a therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from babies to the elderly. It is very safe, although for certain health conditions treatment will be applied with caution, or may not be considered suitable until more stable health is attained.