What is Reflexology Therapy?
This non-invasive, safe and natural complementary therapy uses the autonomic nervous system to induce a deeply relaxed state which eliminates the tension, stress and anxiety of everyday living.
In addition, Reflexology Therapy triggers the body's own internal healing ability so that the body rebalances and functions more efficiently and effectively. Whether for preventative care or in response to physical or emotional health challenges, Reflexology Therapy is the perfect treatment to complement any type of medical approach or therapy.
How does it Work?
Reflexology Therapy is based on the principle that there are reflexes on the feet which correspond to every organ, gland and area of the body. Reflexology Therapy can be done on the hands and ears as well.
Registered Canadian Reflexology Therapists (RCRT) view the feet as mirror images of the body. In fact, the clinical charts used in Reflexology Therapy map the body and all its organs and glands anatomically correct on the feet.
The techniques used in a Reflexology treatment are more akin to acupressure than massage and it is not ticklish. Using thumbs and fingers, Registered Reflexology Therapists apply skilful and comfortable intentional pressure on the reflexes and areas of the feet. Based on research, it is the stimulation of these reflex points, using the autonomic nervous system, which causes positive and predictable physiological changes elsewhere in the body, and induces deep relaxation and rejuvenation which can last for days. Massage techniques, along with creams or oils, are generally used at the end of a Foot or Hand Reflexology treatment.
What is the History of Reflexology Therapy?
Reflexology Therapy is over 4,000 years old. There is evidence that it was practiced in Egypt, and in Indian and Chinese cultures for centuries.
In the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and America, these ancient traditions were translated into modern scientific methods, and are practiced today by trained and registered Reflexology Therapists.
Dr. William Fitzgerald, a respected medical doctor from Connecticut was one of the pioneers in the United States. He referred to his theory as Zone Therapy. It was an American physiotherapist, Eunice Ingham, who further systemized this theory and coined the term, Reflexology.
Today, in Canada, there are more than 4,000 Registered Reflexology Therapists. The Reflexology Association of Canada (RAC) is the national governing body where students of Reflexology Therapy must successfully complete a comprehensive study program, examinations and a practicum to be certified. Reflexology Therapists registered with RAC must participate in an ongoing Professional Development and Continuing Education Program to maintain their registration.
What does Reflexology Therapy do for a person?
Reflexology Therapy is used extensively to relieve tension and stress throughout the body. Reflexology also reduces or eliminates pain; increases energy levels; improves circulation; enhances nerve conduction; and promotes the natural functioning of the related areas of the body. Case studies have shown that it is also proves effective in assisting healing for the following systemic conditions:
Diabetes, Menopause, Migraines & Headaches, Thyroid
Kidney conditions, Bladder conditions
High and Low Blood Pressure
Immune & Lymphatic System:
Arthritis, Chronic Fatique Syndrome, Allergies
Fibromyalgia, Frozen Shoulder, TMJ
Asthma, Allergies, Bronchitis, Sinus conditions
Vision loss, Hearing loss, Multiple Sclerosis, Sciatica, Insomnia, Parkinsons Disease, Depression, Schizophrenia
PMS, Endometriosis, Prostate conditions
Constipation, Diarrhea, Crohns Disease, Colitis, Diverticulitis, Stomach disorders
Reflexology is a therapy which helps to heal the whole person, not just the prevailing symptoms. Reflexology Therapists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat for specific conditions. Reflexologists treat the body as a whole, working and balancing all the systems as one integrated organism. That is why all the systems are worked in a treatment, not just the system related to the symptoms.
What does a Reflexology Therapist do in a Treatment?
A Certified and Registered Canadian Reflexology Therapist first aims to provide a healing environment for the client, ensuring the treatment area is clean, quiet and restful. Prior to treatment, a client's medical history is taken and discussed. The feet are then cleaned, thoroughly inspected for any common foot problems or pathogens, and warmed up using a variety of gentle manipulation techniques.
The actual Reflexology treatment then begins. The Reflexology Therapist walks with his/her thumbs and fingers, the bottom (plantar), top (dorsal) and sides (medial and lateral) of the feet, applying pressure to specific areas or reflex points. Depending on the needs of the client, a Reflexology Therapist will vary the amount of pressure on the different areas of the foot, the hand or the ear. As a gentle, soothing finish, foot cream is massaged into the feet or hands at the end of the Reflexology session. The entire treatment is approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
How will I feel after a Reflexology treatment?
After the first treatment or two, most people experience a feeling of well-being and deep relaxation; still others feel energetic and rejuvenated. Some feel mildly lethargic, but notice an increase in energy or a lessening of stress over the following hours or days. The more often a person receives Reflexology Therapy, the more benefits they are likely to notice. Reflexology Therapy has been observed, worldwide, to create physical changes that bring about balance, ease and healing.
Who can receive a Reflexology treatment?
Reflexology Therapy is safe for everyone. It is drug-free and there are no known contraindications. The pressure and length of the treatment may vary depending on the age and physical condition of the client. The Reflexology Therapist will determine the best frequency of appointments based upon a client's specific needs.
Copy courtesy of Six Feet Productions, a complementary healthcare educational company in which Family Physiotherapy Centre?s Director of Reflexology and Orthotic Consultant, Mary Thorne, is a partner.