What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a natural, non- invasive, gentle foot massage , it’s a healing therapy which involves working on reflexes and pressure points which correspond to different parts of the body in order to restore balance in the body.
The theory behind reflexology is that when we become ill, the natural flow of energy in our body gets distorted and this stagnation of energy flow leads to disease.
Reflexology aims to locate these blocked zones and clears the channels of energy flow by assisting in activating body’s own healing mechanism, thus restoring balance.
We at Healing Tree Reflexology in Hemel Hempstead aim to bring back this natural state of balance back in your life through this gentle yet very powerful foot massage treatment which induces a state of deep relaxation, thus activating your para-sympathetic nervous system which helps to calm our nervous system and body.
History of Reflexology
Reflexology as a therapy is both old and new. It has been used for thousands of years in many countries like India, China, Egypt etc. Images of this ancient practice are featured on Egyptian hieroglyphs and there is evidence that it was also used in China as far back as 4000 BC. The Chinese used reflexology alongside acupuncture whereas Reflexology was practiced in the form of acupressure and acupuncture in India 5000 years ago. Acupressure was a part of the traditional Indian methods of using pressure points called marma and acupuncture traditionally was termed as ‘Bhedan Karma”(meaning “Piercing Through Therapy”). The methods of application were referred to as Marma-Chikitsa (Treatment of marma or pressure points). Also, The Gods and Goddesses have been worshipped in India with the sacred symbols painted on the soles of the feet and North American Indians have also practiced a form of foot therapy for hundreds of years. However, these pressure therapies were recognized as preventive and therapeutic.
Reflexology was brought to the west in the form of Zone Therapy. This is based on longitudinal lines running from the brain through the body to the hands and feet. Dr William Fitzgerald, an American who studied Chinese healing techniques and through experiments found the physiological changes throughout the body could be brought about by applying pressure to the feet or other extremities.
Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist heard about this discovery and became fascinated with this style of treatment which she introduced to her physiotherapy practice. She also found that Reflexology sped up the healing process after surgery. She was to eventually resign from her position and start a private reflexology practice. Her work became well known across the United States and she wrote the first book on the subject of reflexology, ‘Stories the feet can tell through Reflexology’.
Benefits of Reflexology
As we are starting to understand, stress has a huge impact on our health. We live in such a fast paced society nowadays that we don’t have time to relax and unwind and our bodies are feeling the brunt of it.
When we’re stressed, we produce excess amounts of cortisol which serves an important function, to prepare our bodies for ‘fight or flight’ situations. This is fine for genuinely stressful situations, but repeated stress can have a huge impact on the body. When we’re in this state of fight or flight, our bodies shut down all ‘non-essential’ functions, which changes immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, reproductive system and growth processes. This is why stress related illnesses are becoming more common and why we really need to spend time learning how to de-stress.
Reflexology is a holistic therapy and therefore means we treat the person rather than the symptoms they present. Once energy is flowing properly around the body, you may find general well-being improves. Reflexology cannot cure illnesses or diseases but it can help the body to work more efficiently, which in turn can offer some relief from symptoms such as:
- Poor Circulation
- Hormonal imbalance
- Fertility problems
- Digestive issues
- Neck/shoulder/back pain
- Depression and anxiety
This interactive foot chart shows all of the foot reflexology points and what they correspond to. The chart is for guidance only and should not be regarded as a definitive reflexology foot chart.