Eleanor Miles, a student in this year’s Therapeutic Hand & Foot Reflexology Professional Certification, wrote an informative document to share with her massage clients intended to answer their questions and peak their interest in trying a reflexology session. She has graciously allowed me to share it with you.
Reflexology – What Is It?
Reflexology is a protocol of manual techniques, such as thumb and finger walking, hook and backup and rotating-on-a-point, applied to specific reflex areas predominantly on the feet and hands. These techniques stimulate the complex neural pathways linking body systems, supporting the body’s efforts to function optimally.
The effectiveness of reflexology is recognized worldwide by various national health institutions, and the public at large, as a distinct complementary practice within the holistic health field.
What does that mean? It means I will apply manual pressure to points in the feet and hands which correspond to the entire body.
It also means that reflexology is different from massage. It’s actually closer to acupuncture. There are massage therapists advertising reflexology which turns out to be just some extra attention to massaging the feet. There is nothing wrong with extra attention to the feet. It feels lovely, but it does not address the specific reflex areas.
An actual reflexology treatment involves using the thumbs and fingers to walk the entire surface of the foot or hand. When the therapist feels congestion or the client reports sensation, that area or point is worked more specifically with deeper pressure. Also, points will be worked that correspond to individual organs or areas that were identified by the client as needing attention.
Does a reflexologist diagnose disease? No. Congestion may indicate that a body part is stressed. If this seems to support symptoms you have been experiencing, I will encourage you to see your doctor. If not, it may just show some temporary stress in the system.
Does a reflexologist treat disease? Again, no. The point work stimulates the nervous system and supports the body’s efforts to function well. I believe that deep relaxation is where healing happens, and reflexology facilitates deep relaxation.
During my student clinic experiences, my five classmates and I set up in one big room. I worked with five clients over two days and audible snoring happened with all five. When we were practicing on each other that session, I was so relaxed that I snored. I took a little bit of teasing over being the “snoring queen”!
Does reflexology hurt? There is disagreement among practitioners. I have heard of clients who were told the treatment had to hurt to be effective. I do not believe this. More pressure does not mean more healing. Yes, there may be tender spots and point work may feel intense. If it does not feel good to you, always speak up and a good therapist will adjust the pressure.
How does reflexology work? There are several theories: that it affects energy such as Chi, that the rest, repair and awareness provided during a treatment stimulate healing, or that the physical point work affects nerves and chemicals directing the body’s workings. There is no scientific evidence of how reflexology works.
But let me be very clear – there is ample scientific proof showing that reflexology does work. There are hundreds of scientifically performed studies available online showing a measurable change in disease conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s or sinus issues.
Will you like reflexology? Try it! If you don’t like having your feet touched, consider having your hands worked.
I believe that health can always be improved. Our job is to support our body as it does its work. We do this by getting medical attention when needed, and providing the nourishment and rest our body needs. Reflexology will help you rest and heal.