A Brief Overview
According to Ancient
& Modern Teachings...
The human body is found to be completely reflected, as “reflex” points and regions, on the feet, hands and ears. These areas house a reflection of your health, being mirrors to the entire body, and serve to help adjust the body’s natural processes to regain and maintain an equilibrium. Reflexology is a natural pressure technique applied to these reflex areas to help promote relaxation and aid in adjusting physiological and psychological changes within the body. My technique may be compared to a mixture of soothing massage and therapeutic acupressure. It is safe, non-intrusive and aids in creating a sense of health and well being.
How Does It Work?
The answer is a bit... ambiguous. As a practitioner who has seen countless positive benefits from my years of practice in reflexology, I wish I had a clear, scientific answer. There are numerous theories from various sources on how reflexology works, but there's no clear, definitive answer...yet. Here's a sampling of the current theories:
Bone, muscle, ligament, tendon, and/or fascia in the feet that is compromised in placement or integrity can compromise the integrity of posture, movement, and certain systems from flowing properly and can affect the health and well being of the entire body.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
By allowing the body to enter a deeply profound state of rest and relaxation, that integrative reflexology offers, the parasympathetic nervous system engages, allowing the body to balance it's systems, recover, and heal.
The extremities have a plethora of nerve endings. Palpating these areas relieves congestion in the nerve endings allowing better neural communication.
Reflexology works upon re-circulating vital energy through meridians and micro-acupressure systems.
Every part of us (the universe, and all things within it) contain the message and mirror image of the whole. There are maps on individual parts of the body, like the feet, hands, and ears that mirror the entire body. By working on these remotely, the whole organism is being worked on.
Subtle energies, life force energy, flow from giver to receiver.
I believe there is some validity in all these theories, however, let us take a closer look at two theories in particular… bio-mechanics and the engaging of the parasympathetic nervous system.
The feet are the foundation to the entire body structure, as is the foundation of a building. If the foundation is unstable, so will the entire building. Therefore, if the feet are not bio-mechanically stable, are tight or stressed in any way they can alter the postural integrity of the entire body, affecting the skeletal framework, muscles and body organs. This is because the body has to compensate for the imbalances at its foundation — shifting off center. Palpating and relaxing the feet and lower legs enables the mechanics of the foot to move towards normalcy. By increasing the structural integrity of the body’s foundation, the alignment and health of the spine, body and organs can begin to stabilize to a more natural position and process. Therefore, it affects the whole health of the body.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
When was the last time you relaxed? I mean, REALLY relaxed in a deeply nurturing and healing way? The type of reflexology I offer can usually bring about such a profound relaxed state of being, engaging the parasympathetic nervous system.
I'm sure you've heard of the "fight or flight" response, that's the polar opposite, and the response given by the engaged sympathetic nervous system. It's great to have around in an emergency, but it can really rev up the body into an unhealthy tizzy and get stuck there.
The parasympathetic nervous system that reflexology activates, calms and relaxes the body, allowing it to perform all the life-enhancing tasks, like resting, digesting, repairing, rebuilding, and renewing. Most of my clients feel this as they sink into their session and reap the benefits for quite a while afterwards.
The Answer Remains Ambiguous
Although the single answer to how reflexology works is still somewhat a mystery, particularly the relationship to the body regions and the reflexology maps, we are discovering more clarity on reasons why it is beneficial. More importantly, the results are in every person who benefits in the slightest way… because that is the real reason for the application. To bring a sense of health and well being to you.
Beyond the benefits of reflexology map correlation to the body that aids healing processes indirectly, reflexology foot massage can also have a direct benefit to the feet (and its owner and body) due to the direct work on the foot structure. I have seen benefits in my clients who put a lot of demand on their sore and aching feet.
People with specific conditions that can cause sore feet can also reap relieving benefits, including those who suffer from:
Foot traumas, injuries & surgeries
Most anyone with foot pain
Foot and leg pain
Experience Reflexology For Yourself
Whether you are in good health, a little ill, or suffer from severe or chronic conditions, reflexology and reflexology foot massage may benefit you. In more serious conditions, it is a good complement to other methods of health care, as it promotes relaxation. If you have any questions about the safety of reflexology and your particular condition, it is wise to consult a licensed health care professional you trust.