What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a popular and relaxing holistic treatment based on the principle that reflex points on the soles, tops and sides of the feet are connected to corresponding areas throughout the body. In this way, the feet can been seen as a map of the body.
During a Reflexology treatment, the reflexes will be worked on with thumbs and fingers, using specialised massage techniques to help correct imbalances throughout the body and help release blocked energy.
Here's a great video from the Association of Reflexologists to tell you more.
What are the benefits of reflexology?
Reflexology aims to treat the whole person and not just a set of symptoms. It can be particularly helpful for restoring good sleep patterns, for improving your sense of wellbeing, for helping you to relax, improving low mood and releasing tension. Below is a list of some of the pleasant 'side-effects' from a treatment:
It's important to remember that reflexology does not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe and should never be used as an alternative to seeking medical help.
How does reflexology work?
The basic theory behind reflexology is that the whole body can be mapped out on the feet, with different points (called reflex points) corresponding to different areas of the body. For example, you can see on the footmap to the right that the big toe correlates to the head.
By working on these points with various finger and thumb techniques, there is an indirect stimulation to that part of the body. This encourages the body to rebalance that part maybe by releasing tension or making it more active if it is sluggish. For example, slow digestion is a common problem, so by working the stomach and bowel areas on the feet it can encourage them to be more active and effective. Below is a link to an interactive footmap if you would like to find out more:
A full reflexology treatment also puts the body and mind into a state of deep relaxation. This switches us from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) to our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and repair mode). When we are in this rest and repair mode our body focuses its energy on tissue repair, immunity, digestion and it promotes hormonal balance and better sleep. So in addition to focusing on specific problem areas, there is a whole body effect which promotes healing.