What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a theory and therapy that uses the feet to treat the whole body. It's a holistic therapy that works on all levels working to create balance in the body. The aim of the reflexology treatment is to restore our natural ability for self-healing, as a result energy flow is encouraged to flow freely around the body.
The areas of the feet act as a map of the body representing zones and pathways. Physical and mental well-being is maintained when the energy is flowing freely. If the energy flow is stagnant or blocked then we become ill. Gentle pressure is applied to points on the feet – known as reflexes – which are used to stimulate energy flow and release any blockages.
What to expect from a reflexology treatment
The reflexology treatment is usually carried out on a massage couch or in a reclining chair and you will be asked to remove footwear and socks. A detailed medical history will be taken before the initial examination of the feet. The practitioner will use their thumbs, fingers or knuckles to apply gentle pressure to the feet. A variety of different reflexology techniques will be applied to work on the reflex points on each foot.
Above all, reflexology is not painful, but certain areas of the feet maybe a little tender or sensitive, therefore the amount of pressure will be adapted to suit your individual needs. The aim is to restore our natural ability for self-healing by encouraging energy flow around the body.
Click on the interactive foot map to discover how reflexes on the feet relate to different areas of the body Interactive Foot Map
What can reflexology do for you?
Besides Reflexology being a wonderfully relaxing experience, where you can take time out from everyday pressures, it is useful in other areas. It is often used to help people cope with more specific health issues and works alongside regular healthcare to enhance better health.
Relaxation - encourages relaxation which helps improve mood and aids restful sleep
Stress Relief - helps to relieve anxiety, promoting peace and calm, giving relief from stress
Soothes the feet - helps to ease pain and tension in the feet
Improves circulation and reduces pain - by working on specific reflex points
Improves our overall sense of well-being - supports a healthy mind and body when used regularly
Frequently asked questions
Is Reflexology just like a foot massage?
Reflexology treatments do involve some massage techniques, particularly at the beginning of the session when getting the feet ready for treating. But reflexology is not specifically a massage therapy. Reflexology involves the stimulation of the reflex points using a foot map as guidance. Learn more here.
Is it suitable for everyone?
Reflexology is suitable for anyone at any age, occasionally there maybe times when it is not suitable to treat and any underlying health problems will be considered.
Is Reflexology safe during pregnancy?
Yes, it it totally safe and very beneficial for mums to be. It is a gentle way of relieving anxiety and stress during pregnancy. Many reflexologists are trained in maternity reflexology. Learn more here
Is it ticklish?
As feet can be quite sensitive some people wrongly assume they will be too ticklish for reflexology. The treatment is not designed to be ticklish. The feet are held firmly and the Reflexologist applies the right amount of pressure, involving specific techniques.
Is the therapy diagnostic?
Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice. It is not medical, it works holistically, therefore a Reflexologist cannot diagnose conditions or health problems. The aim of the therapy is to restore the body's natural ability for self-healing by encouraging energy flow around the body.
Is it painful?
Reflexology creates deep relaxation and calm and generally the experience should be relaxing, Sometimes there could be some reflex points which are a little bit more tender than others, due to imbalances in the energy pathways.
What should I wear during the reflexology session?
It's best to wear loose and comfortable clothing, the only clothing to be removed are socks, tights and shoes, all that is exposed are the feet and ankles.
What happens during the Reflexology session?
Your first appointment will include taking a thorough health consultation. You will then be asked to relax on the couch with feet exposed. Firstly, feet are cleansed and massaged gently before the treatment commences. during the treatment reflexology techniques such as thumb walking will be applied all over different areas of the feet. After the session the feet will be cleansed with hot towels leaving you and your feet feeling perfectly pampered.
How often should I have a treatment?
If you are looking for Reflexology to help with a specific condition then a course of regular sessions is advised. A lot of people enjoy having Reflexology treatments for maintaining their health and well-being and for just enjoying the deep relaxation and time out it provides.
Reflexology is a therapy that dates back for thousands of years, it has its roots in ancient Egypt, China and India. The earliest know pictorial evidence was discovered in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 2300 BC. the Chinese have been using the application of pressure as a healing therapy for over 5000 years. The ancient therapy of acupressure uses thumb pressure or acupoints - a series of points along lines of energy throughout the body - to help unblock energy encouraging the body's ability for self-healing.
Modern - therapy introduced to the west
Dr William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat specialist developed "zone therapy" in which the body was divided into 10 longitudinal zones. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body with in the same zone.
In the 1930's Eunice Ingham, an American Physiotherapist, through her work mapped reflex points for the entire body onto the feet. She developed the zone theory further into what is known today as reflexology. She discovered that by applying pressure onto these reflex points a therapeutic effect on the corresponding part of the body in that zone was achieved. Doreen Bayly trained under Eunice Ingham and brought Reflexology to Britain in 1966,.