It is surprising to realize I haven’t written about one of my favorite therapies offered here at Health Harmonized before. Many of you have already experienced this wonderful therapy, but it is time Reflexology had its own article.
Reflexology is an amazing therapy. How often do you have someone focused just on your feet? As a reflexologist, I sit in service at your feet to bring you relaxation, relief, and revitalization. Yes, reflexology can work the hands and even points on the face and ears, but most often, it focuses on those feet.
When we used to run around without shoes on our feet, the reflex points would be stimulated just with our everyday movement. A twig would hit the liver reflex, the rock we balanced on while looking for game would stimulate the lung area, the earth would gently conform to our feet in some places and not in others putting pressure on the ascending and descending colon points. You get the idea. However, with our modern shoes and lack of time having our feet touching earth, our feet do not get the stimulation they evolved to benefit from.
Further, our modern shoes often are made with the opposite of health in mind. Those cute shoes often create issues with bunions, hammer toes, callouses, and more. They do not allow us to really spread our toes and feel grounded. All of this can create health issues.
Reflexology is a way of having your feet focused on to help your body reestablish homeostasis. This homeostasis, or balance, helps bring about health as we have previously discussed.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a science that deals with energy pathways which correspond to all the organs, glands, and parts of the body. It is a unique method that uses the thumb and fingers to reflex these areas in the hands and feet.
Reflexology is ancient. There are images from the Physician’s tomb in Egypt from over 4500 years ago showing hand and foot reflexology.
There are over 7200 nerve endings in the bottom of each foot and 5500 in each hand. Anywhere the body has a congregation of nerve endings, it is mapping itself. This allows the reflexologist to understand where in your body each area of the foot corresponds to.
Reflexology is also sometimes referred to as Zone Therapy.
Here is a chart from https://reflexology-map.com/feet-map/ that is helpful to see where areas are. There are hundreds of maps of the feet with slight differences. They are all valid.
Who can benefit from emotional release?
This is another therapy where everyone can benefit. There are precautions that need to be observed in some persons.
For example, pregnant women should not have their ankles worked on because there are points relating to the uterus that can induce contractions and bring about a miscarriage (although, some midwifes and doulas use this point during labor to help labor along).
Also, children need much less time than adults do. This is because they are very responsive to reflexology. Less pressure is also required, especially for babies. Where a normal adult session will be 30-60 minutes, children often only need 10-15 minutes with half or less the normal pressure used.
The elderly also need less pressure and time because of thinner skin. They also need more gentle rotations.
Finally, in cases of thrombosis or blood clots, only the dorsal (top) and plantar (bottom) of the feet may be worked. This is to avoid the risk of a clot breaking free.
Even the most debilitated case can benefit from reflexology. Your therapist may choose to use less time and pressure to ensure you will receive the most benefit.
What are the benefits of reflexology?
Here is a short list of things reflexology may assist with.
- Relieves tension
- Return the body to homeostasis/balance
- Improve blood supply to the central nervous system
- Improve circulation
- Enhances the ability of nutrition to the cells
- Improves detoxification (wastes leaving the cells)
- Improves oxygenation
- Helps to unblock nerve flow/impulses
- And more…
What to expect during a session:
During a reflexology session you will remain fully clothed except for your feet–we need access to your whole foot and will need your shoes and socks off. You will be laying on a massage table or sitting in a chair if your therapist has the room set up for that. Your therapist should offer you a blanket and other things to make you the most comfortable. Sessions last for 30-60 minutes with actual table time ranging from 25-55 minutes.
Reflexology can be a little uncomfortable. This is because the reflexologist is working on areas that may have some dysfunction. Also, there may be calcifications or hard bits on the ends of the nerve endings. It can be uncomfortable to break up the calcifications. I like to tell my clients that discomfort during a session is ok; however, pain is not. Tell your therapist if you experience pain because s/he can change the pressure to make it tolerable.
Persons who are highly toxic and ill may experience more discomfort. For example, every client with fibromyalgia I have worked on has more pain than normal. Make sure to share your health conditions with your therapist so s/he can understand what changes may need to be made for you to have the best, most healing session possible.
The goal I always have first in my mind as a reflexologist is to help my client relax during the session. This often means you will fall asleep on the table. This is wonderful as it allows you to enter a more healing state and achieve even more benefits form the therapy.
After the session, many people have reported improved sense of self, relaxation, and changes in chronic conditions.
I hope this has sparked your interest in trying out reflexology yourself! It is truly an amazing therapy. Come in and try out a session today! Your feet and entire being will thank you.
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Note: Everything here is for information only. This is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Seek a qualified medical professional.