What is Reflexology Massage?
Reflexology, although it's often combined with massage, is technically not a form of massage. It's a separate practice that applies pressure to reflex zones on your feet and hands.
Reflexology is the ancient art of foot massage which believed to originate in China and which was also known to the Ancient Egyptians. It is believed that energy runs through the body in channels known as meridians and that massage of the feet stimulates these energy channels, promoting healing and relaxation. Every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and massage of the feet stimulates the corresponding part of the body so that receiving a reflexology massage is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.
What's a reflex zone? Simply, it's an area connected to other parts of your body. You have reflex zones on your feet, hands and ears. The basic theory underlying applying pressure to reflex zones is that the pressure affects the nerves, which then carry signals to other parts of your body. Reported benefits include relaxation and improved lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. These benefits help relieve the effects of stress, which in turn helps your body find balance and heal itself.
How does that differ from massage? Many of the benefits are the same. However, massage is the manipulation of soft tissue, while applying pressure to reflex zones isn't an attempt to manipulate soft tissue. Also, reflexologists who aren't also massage therapist are limited to touching your feet, hands and ears.
What to Expect During the Session?
Most often the client's are in anxiety state, which means that all the energy is in the head, so the rest of the body doesn’t have enough energy. The therapist's work triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing anxiety, stopping the fight-or-flight response, and letting the body heal.
Benefits of Reflexology
The aim of reflexology is to create homeostasis, which means that the organs in the body are all working together and at their best. There are two major benefits to Reflexology therapy:
Reduction of Stress - Stress is a big part of daily living. The most obvious effect of reflexology massage is that of stress reduction. The techniques of reflexology include finger or thumb walking--where the therapist walks the finger or thumb over different areas of the feet in a set sequence--and massage and kneading of the foot using the whole hand. The experience is generally firm, but gentle, and should never cause discomfort or pain. According to “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology,” people of any age or sex--the elderly, women, men, teenagers, children and babies--can derive positive benefits from reflexology.” Although results vary from individual to individual, the soothing action of reflexology generally leaves the recipient feeling deeply relaxed and peaceful afterwards.
Pain Reduction - Constant pain is debilitating. Therapists believe that that illness is caused by blockages in the meridians or energy channels. These blockages inhibit the flow of life enhancing energy, also known as ‘chi,’ causing the accumulation of negative energy, resulting in pain or disease. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet, and these are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system, to the whole body. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing. Some therapists and reflexologists believe that The massage is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress reduced, so pain is also reduced.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.