If one takes a look at the human body from a reflexologists point of view, the picture to the left may be something that you would see in your minds eye. Notice how similar the sketch is to the modern day images we see from the science journals that show the advanced technology of computed tomography also known as CT, PET or MRI Scanning techniques. As the body lies horizontally, keeping the perspective from the soles of the feet, the organs in their natural positioning further up the body are "mapped" onto the soles of the feet. Thus by applying the therapeutic massage techniques only to the small area of the feet, reflexive effects occur in the organs further up the body, when the correct reflex points are intentionally stimulated appropriately. Here we have the joining of art and science to deliver a therapeutic treatment in order to urge the body towards a state of homeostasis, balance or feeling of well being.
Therapeutic Foot Reflexology facilitates a state of relaxation which gives the body a chance to move towards a "feeling of well being".
During and for some time after a treatment subtle changes take place in the body such as increased circulation and deeper breathing which in turn leads to a cascade of other benefits including hormone balancing and pain relief. All of this has the potential to come about during a one hour appointment where the patient would experience firstly, a foot cleansing to facilitate their comfort followed by various massage therapy techniques which apply gentle pressure point and reflex stimulation to the patients bare feet.
The Health benefits of Therapeutic Reflexology
Receiving regular reflexology treatments has been observed to have a beneficial effect on the body so much so that therapeutic reflexology is now seen as a viable complimentary treatment method for many ailments. Regular treatments can assist a patient to attain better health because the massage techniques employed on the feet have a tendency to increase circulation which in turn stimulates lymph drainage, promotes hormone balancing, removes obstructions of the energy pathways which traverse the body and helps to eliminate toxins. Reflexology may also assist to balance the many systems in the body which include the digestive system, speeding it up or slowing it down as per the patients own individual requirements, because we are stimulating and therefore activating the body's own energy systems in order to strengthen and ward off disease from the root cause.
Some ailments that may be treated with reflexology include:
Hypertension (high blood pressure) - The therapist would enquire as to diet and lifestyle and discuss food drug interaction, inform patients about heart healthy food choices locally available, Discuss bladder and kidney functioning as these organs play a role in this disease.
High Cholesterol - Increased circulation along with diet correction can work towards medication dosages remaining stable with time.
Diabetes - Foot Reflexology increases circulation, diabetic feet tend to be very sensitive, and special care is taken. There are different approaches for Type 1 and Type 2 as well as those that have been noted as pre diabetic by their physician.
Infertility - Foot reflexology has a balancing effect on the hormones, it may help firstly to calm and relax anxious minds and also stimulate the relevant hormone interactions, menstrual and ovulation cycles and signs are observed and noted. Often helps to work in conjunction with a homoeopath that can monitor blood hormone levels.
Headaches & Migraines- Foot reflexology can stimulate the liver and gall bladder meridians because Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that some headaches manifest as a result of poor digestion.
Hormonal Imbalances - regular (monthly) therapeutic reflexology can assist to make it through the change of life as it has a balancing effect on the hormones, menopause does not need to be dreaded or suffered if correct care is taken with diet and lifestyle it is possible to transition into the next stage of life comfortably.
Insomnia - The hormone balancing, melatonin which is made by the pineal gland in the brain controls sleep and wake patterns,
IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) - The therapist strives to stimulate the the colon or large intestine reflex which may alleviate the alternating symptoms of constipation and diarrhoea.
Acne - The therapist would enquire about the diet and inform the patient of any habits that are contributing to breakouts, here hormonal balancing and correction of diet can be very effective in relieving symptoms.Observations of signs on the liver energy pathways are of particular importance to these patients.
The treatment philosophy is based on many principles that find their origin in Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as stimulating the organ reflex on the foot that is responsible for the imbalance, with the intention of activating energy flow that may have been stagnant or blocked, this in turn leads to the cascade effect of health benefits one experiences over the course of a few reflexology treatments.
An understanding and knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pathology (causes of disease) as well as an understanding of nutrition allows the therapist to inform and teach the patient about their body facilitating a creative process of attaining better health from within.
Therapeutic Reflexology is a non invasive and gentle treatment however there are instances where caution should be taken.
Patients suffering from phlebitis (inflamed varicose veins) and patients who have recently been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting) should not receive reflexology treatments because these health issues lie mainly in the veins and blood vessels of the legs and increased circulation for these patients is an undesirable risk.
Pregnancy and Reflexology
Pregnancy is a time of hormonal upheaval and as reflexology has been observed to effect and balance hormones, applying reflexology techniques during a "strong" pregnancy can only improve the experience of the expectant mother. However if the pregnancy has been difficult and high risk then it is better to refrain from treatments. During the last days of pregnancy when a baby has "overstayed" his or her time in the womb (after 40 weeks of gestation) reflexology has been known to bring about labour with intentional stimulation of the pituitary gland, fallopian tube and uterus reflex points.