Reflexology is an ancient art in which pressure is placed over the foot and hand using the fingers and thumbs. The reflexologist uses no oil or lotion and places pressure on the hand or foot based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reportedly represent other major organ systems, to effect a physical change on the body.
This underlying theory behind Reflexology is the reason why the therapists does specific types of massage work over the feet and hands. For example, the tips of the toes are a reflection of the head and the heart and the chest reside around the ball of the foot. Practitioners believe that by applying pressure they can promote health through energetic pathways.
Most people find Reflexology to be very relaxing. It should not be painful and if you are uncomfortable you should tell the therapists because they should be working within your specific comfort zone. Some areas of the feet may be tender or sore and may may spend more time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure and not increase.
Individuals who suffer from stress and stress related conditions or tension headaches may be interested in receiving Reflexology therapy appointments. Others who suffer from digestive disorders, arthritis, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, sports injuries or menstrual disorders may find relief from Reflexology.
Reflexology is a particular means of treatment in complementary and alternative medicine therapies. It is believed to promote relaxation, improve circulation, reduce pain and soothe tired and sore feet. Some practitioners also recommend reflexology for postoperative or paliative care.
In a study in the American Cancer Society journal researchers found that one third of cancer patients use Reflexology as complementary therapy. Reflexology, however, is recommended only as complementary therapy and should never replace medical treatment for any specific diagnoses.
Since Reflexology is not recognized by the law there is no formal training required to practice it. However, some do offer Reflexology as part of their license to practice. There are some accredited courses for continuing education for nurses and massage therapists. However, diagnosing or treating disease would constitute the practice of medicine and would be illegal for anyone who does not have a professional license. Therapists are only able to claim that they are working to achieve over all health and well being for the diagnoses and treatment protocols recommended by an individual’s medical practitioner.
There have been several different research studies which have evaluated the use of Reflexology in the treatment of different diagnoses. Unfortunately, there have been no conclusive results that are similar from study to study. Proponents believe that the information from the research have proven that Reflexology is useful in the treatment of some diseases, while others point out that it is difficult to develop a credible placebo-controlled group which could be the flaw in most experimental subjects.
A typical treatment is usually 45 to 60 minutes long during which the individual remove their shoes and socks and sits in a reclining chair. Other than the removal of shoes and socks the participant remains fully closed. At this time the reflexologist will stimulate various points to identify areas that are sore or full of tension. It is only at this point that pressure is applied from the toes to the heel in the direction of the heart.
Most people feel calm and relaxed after their treatment and may actually feel sleepy. Women who are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant should talk to their doctor before seeing a reflexologist and also let the reflexologist know. Individuals who have all service, injury or blood vessel disease as well as diabetes with significant peripheral artery disease should consult with their physician before having Reflexology.