It is an art of stress reduction based on the work of two American physicians, Dr. William Fitzgerald and Dr. Joe Shelby Riley in the 1920′s. Foot and hand reflexology is a scientific art based on the premise that there are zones and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all body parts. The physical act of applying specific pressures using thumb, finger and hand techniques result in stress reduction which causes a physiological change in the body. Then in 1957, the first ear reflexology map that resembles a shape of the human body was discovered in France by Dr. Paul Nogier. Later the Chinese verified this map and came up with another Chinese ear map.
In the 1890′s knighted research scientist, Dr. Henry Head, proved the neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. Nobel prize winner, Sir Charles Sherrington proved that the whole nervous system and body adjusts to a stimulus when it is applied to any part of the body. In Germany, Dr. Alfons Cornelius observed pressure to certain spots triggered muscle contractions, changes in blood pressure, variation in warmth and moisture in the body as well as directly affecting the “psychic processes” or mental state of the patient. Currently research studies to further validate reflexology are being conducted in many countries including Switzerland, Denmark, USA and Australia. In Japan and Denmark reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving each company thousands of dollars annually. The American Academy of Reflexology teamed up with Dr. Terry Oleson and conducted a study on the positive effects Reflexology has on PMS symptoms. This study was published in Obstetric & Gynecology in December 1993. Over 300 Reflexology research studies on over 150 health challenges have been conducted around the world.
Many of our health problems can be linked to stress. Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique. Reflexology can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax. Through relaxation the body is able to help itself deal with any problem it may be experiencing. Some of the frequently reported benefits of Reflexology are…relief and elimination of pain in the neck, shoulders, lower back, sciatica, reduction or elimination of pain in the head (headaches), reduction of the effects of long-term stress and tension in the lungs, stomach, colon (large intestines) and much more.
Reflexology gently nudges the body towards better functioning by improving lymphatic drainage, circulation, breaking down calcification between nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation.
Reflexologists do not practice medicine in any form. They do not diagnose any medical disorder. Nor do they prescribe or adjust medications. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment, but is a complement to any type of medical treatment or therapy. Though serious reaction to a reflexology session is rare there are situations where the use of reflexology is not appropriate. The professional reflexologist always uses discretion when working on chronic and/or degenerative diseases.
No, reflexology should not be painful because the primary goal is relaxation.
Sensitivity is an indicator of where the body is holding tension.
Reflexology is not a panacea for all ills, nor can it guarantee good health. However, it can be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction.