Reflexology encourages the body to return to and maintain a balanced state much the same way as regular exercise would in maintaining a firm, toned body. Reflexology is applying pressure with the hands to specific reflex points on the feet.
Acupuncture points are located on the body and these points or "dots" are joined by meridian lines. Meridians traverse the body and carry our life force or chi. Imagine a garden hose that has a knik or twist in it. Water cannot flow from the tap to the end of the hose until the kink has been straightened out. Similarily, blockages in the form of toxins prevent the free flow of energy and optimal organ function in the body. When a reflexology treatment is given, circulation is improved which encourages these toxins to break up and be eliminated. This contributes to an uninterrupted supply of nutrients and oxygen to the cells and allows a cascade of natural healing processes to take place, for example the balancing of hormones, improved relaxation and pain management. When the body is balanced it is able to cope better with stress, maintain immunity and function correctly.
A client should expect during the first reflexology consultation, that the therapist discusses the clients general health and gathers personal information such as sleep patterns, energy levels, allergies or intolerances, medical operations, family history of illnesses, diet, relaxation and exercise. All this information is used to gather a comprehensive overview of your health in order to allow for a lifestyle assessment and serves as a base against which the efficacy of the treatment plan can be measured.
A reflexology treatment generally lasts between 45 minutes to one hour. The therapist uses a firm grip which is neither tickelish or constricting. Initially the feet are cleaned with a mild disinfectant and then various stretching and relaxation techniques are used on the feet to release tension. The reflexologist will then stimulate all the reflex areas and meridians on both feet, hence treating the whole body, regardless of known health conditions, encouraging the body to go back into balance so that the healing process can naturally begin.
The benefits of having a reflexology treatment include; the balancing of hormones by stimulating energy flow in the endocrine system. It is an antidote to stress and tension by unblocking congestions in the nerves and blood vessels. Reflexology encourages oxygen and blood flow in the cardiovascular system through increased circulation. It aids the healing process after surgery and eases pain and swelling in the feet and legs. Reflexology also encourages the brain to release “pain-killing” endorphins which promotes pain management.
Sometimes during a reflexology treatment there is tenderness or sensitivity in a particular area, which could be for various reasons; for example there is congestion in that corresponding body part or associated energy pathway, there are crystal deposits (toxins) on the nerve endings, or there is an injured or recovering area or organ. Tenderness can also be experienced if the Reflexologist is working on a commonly sensitive reflex area such as the pituitary reflex. As the Reflexologist works the area, the sensitivity will diminish indicating that balance in the problem area has been restored. Pain on a specific reflex is always brief and only lasts as long as pressure is applied on it and is always kept at bearable levels for the patient.
Reflexology encourages circulation causing a patient to feel rejuvenated and relaxed after a treatment. Patients often say they felt tired afterwards and had a good night’s sleep! Others may experience elimination reactions such as diarrhea, a mild headache, a runny nose, nausea or increased perspiration. These are all “normal” post reflexology symptoms and mean that the treatment has encouraged the removal of toxins and helped the body heal itself and bring it back into balance.
During a reflexology treatment a patient is given lifestyle suggestions that may include healthy nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. These changes along with reflexology treatments help the body regain balance and support continued good health. A reflexology treatment will mostly be very calming and comforting and the patient has a general feeling of well-being. The reflexology treatment is brought to a closure with a relaxing foot massage.