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What is Reflexology?


Reflexology is based on the idea that there are reflex points on the hands and feet that relate to different parts of the body.


Revisiting reflexology: concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training says “…reflexology is basically a study of how one part of the human body relates to another part of the body. Reflexology practitioners rely on the reflexes map of the feet and hands to all the internal organs and other human body parts. They believe that by applying the appropriate pressure and massage certain spots on the feet and hands, all other body parts could be energized and rejuvenated.” (Embong, Soh, Ming and Wong, 2015).


Reflexology has been around for thousands of years and is thought to have been used in many cultures including: Egypt, Indian and China. However, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it was really introduced to the West by Dr William H.Fitzgerald who developed what is known as Zone Therapy.


His work was further advanced in the 1930s by Eunice Ingham. She created detailed charts of how the body is mapped out on the feet. Although many people were involved in its development, Ingham can be noted as the one to popularise the therapy into what we know it as today. “She shared the technique of reflexology with others by writing many books such as ‘Stories the Feet Can Tell, Stories the Feet Have Told, and Stories the Feet Are Telling’.” (Embong, Soh, Ming and Wong, 2015).


What to expect from Reflexology


Reflexology involves massaging and applying pressure to areas of the feet (can also work on hands and ears) to reduce pain and stress.


It is thought that systems and organs are reflected or mirrored to specific points on the feet and by stimulating the area, helps bring the body back into alignment and functioning optimally.


According to Weintraub, Mamtani and Micozzi: “Manipulating specific reflexes removes stress, activating a parasympathetic response to enable blockages to be released by physiological change in the body. With stress removal and circulation enhanced, the body is allowed to return to a state of homeostasis.” (Weintraub, Mamtani and Micozzi, 2008).


Benefits of Reflexology


Reflexology has many benefits, from giving relief to those suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS), to providing an aid for new parents with infants that are afflicted with colic.


It is also considered to be a safe treatment for everyone provided some adjustments are made. In her book, Alternative Medicine A Step-by Step Guide, Elizabeth Brown says: “Reflexology is safe for everyone, although some conditions such as pregnancy, may call for different treatment, and some reflex points will need to be avoided.” (Brown, 1997).


In a pilot study carried out in Finland which used reflexology as a treatment for colic, it was concluded that reflexology was successful in treating infants with the condition.


“Reflexology treatment seems to be a safe and effective way to treat infants with colic when conducted by a health care professional with reflexology training and experience.” (Hannula, Puukka, Asunmaa and Mäkijärvi, 2019).


In another publication, Massage Magazine discusses the positive use of reflexology as a treatment for symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).


“The study entitled ‘Reflexology for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a double-blind randomized sham-controlled clinical trial,’ conduct a diagnosis of MS and visual analog scale of patients. The study finds that reflexology provides relief from other symptoms related to MS such as fatigue, depression, disability.” (Reflexology, Foot Massage Ease Multiple Sclerosis Pain, 2010).


For more information email infoholistichealthmatters@gmail.com or visit us at www.holistic-healthmatters.com.



Bibliography


Brown, E., 1997. Alternative Medicine A Step-by Step Guide. Shaftesbury: Element Books Limited, p.49.


Embong, N., Soh, Y., Ming, L. and Wong, T., 2015. Revisiting reflexology: concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training.. [online] National Library of Medicine. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624523/> [Accessed 6 October 2022].


Hannula, L., Puukka, P., Asunmaa, M. and Mäkijärvi, M., 2019. A pilot study of parents’ experiences of reflexology treatment for infants with colic in Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 34(4), pp.861-870.


Massage Magazine, 2010. Reflexology, Foot Massage Ease Multiple Sclerosis Pain. (170), pp.P 84 2/3p.


Weintraub, M., Mamtani, R. and Micozzi, M., 2008. Complementary and Integrative Medicine in Pain Management. [ebook] New York: Spring Publishing Company, pp.201, 202. Available at: <https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Complementary_and_Integrative_Medicine_i/8xKFIuSW7xUC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=complementary+and+integrative+medicine+in+pain+management&printsec=frontcover> [Accessed 7 October 2022].

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