Reflexology has been practised in various forms for millennia. There is historical evidence of this therapy being practised in Egypt, Japan, India, China and by the native Indians of North America. Indeed, a form of Reflexology was even practised in Europe in the Middle Ages. However, the oldest historical evidence comes from the tomb of an Egyptian physician called Ankhmahor, who was buried in Saqqara, and the hieroglyphic (shown below) has been dated to 2500BC.
The art of foot reflex therapy was not introduced to the Western World until the 20th century when the Americans began to develop Zone Therapy (based on the principle that the body is divided into 10 energy pathways), which had been practised by the Europeans as far back as the 14th century, into reflexology as we know it today.
Reflexology is a communications system, which operates from the inside to the outside and then generates a response action. By working the hands or feet, signals are sent to the body to assist it to correct imbalances. The applications of reflexology range from relaxation and stress reduction, and improved circulation and nerve supply, to the treating of physical, emotional mental and spiritual imbalances.
A reflex point is a specific area, or point on the foot, that corresponds to another part of the body. When stimulated, there is a response to the stimulus in that part of the body and a healing or anesthetising effect may be achieved.
The head is represented by the great toes
Shoulders at the top of the balls of the feet
Spine located down the middle of both feet
Chest area across the balls of the feet
Abdominal area in the arch of the feet
Pelvic area represented by the heels
A reflexologist will look at a pair of feet as a ‘mini-map’ of the body, best shown in the simplified diagram above.
A holistic relaxation having an effect on the whole body, mind and spirit
Reflexology is deeply relaxing as it reduces your body’s needs for excess or unnecessary sympathetic nervous system (which activates the fight or flight response) and adrenal release. When your body is in a relaxed state, the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and hormonal activity, and relax the sphincter muscles) can function effectively.
In addition to relaxing your body, reflexology relaxes your mind. Stress of any kind, physical, psychological, environmental, social, can upset the balance of harmony between our body, mind and spirit which defines health and cause ‘dis-ease’.
When someone is unhappy and under stress, they can have vague symptoms of ill health such as an aching body, fatigue, tension in the neck, shoulders, back, a feeling of irritability, sleeping problems, an unhealthy diet. If the symptoms continue for a long time they may become chronic and lead to other illnesses. Reflexology helps considerably and is a natural, gentle, non-invasive therapy that can contribute to make us cope better with every day's life demands.
It provides a peaceful environment in which you can relax, learn to heal yourself, become conscious of your body’s needs and feeling grounded and empowered.
What to expect during a reflexology treatment?
I will always start with a consultation to get to know your history and maybe identify particular reflexes that could be important to focus on for the treatment. You may not have any particular symptom or illness, which does not matter as reflexology is effective in maintaining you in good health to prevent disease. All information is of course confidential and I follow GRPD guidelines. I then will ensure you are comfortable before the treatment commences.
Relaxation techniques are the first line of treatment to allow your body and mind to relax as much as possible and let the energy flow freely. The first session will include a full investigatory sequence to cover all the body systems. For subsequent treatments I will adapt the sequence to focus on any imbalances discovered during this session.
It is very common for you to doze during a treatment, and to feel like you are floating afterwards. I'll help you remain in that wellbeing state by giving you aftercare advice and feedback about your treatment and my findings..
Within 24-48 hours after the treatment, you will typically feel very relaxed but you could also experience reactions such as: tiredness, heightened emotions, thirst, increased micturition, feeling hot/cold, increase in your symptoms. Do not worry, this is part of a healing response as your body is re-balancing itself, so just put your mind at rest and drink plenty of water to help with this clearing process.