Introduction to Reflexology

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Introduction To Reflexology

Reflexology is one of the various forms of alternative medicine that is based on the massaging, squeezing or pushing precise areas of the feet and the palms. The intention of the massaging is to indirectly benefit other portions of the body and to improve overall health. Sometimes it also involves massaging the ears.

The Theory Of Reflexology

The underlying concept of reflexology there is a normal flow of energy in the body which at times get blocked leading to disease or "dis"-"ease", that specific areas on the soles of the feet correspond to certain other specific areas of the body and that when pressure is applied to these areas the flow of energy or life force is reestablished resulting in the removal of the dis-ease. For instance, pressure applied to the tips of the toes are supposed to be beneficial to the brain and other organs in the head. The application of pressure on the lobes of the ears are supposed to enhance memory.

The origins of this form of alternative therapy is lost in the ashes of time but mention of this type of healing is found in an illustration in an Egyptian tomb of a physician in Saqqara. Evidence of the practice of this can be found in the ancient writings of the civilizations of Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. The Chinese seem to have practiced it for well over 5,000 years with the early Taoists being credited with the practices of such forms of health practices.

Dr. William H. Fitzgerald a physician specializing in treatment of the diseases of the ear, nose and throat and Dr. Edwin Bowers first introduced this form of therapy in America in 1913. Later on, in the 1930s and the 40s, Eunice D. Ingham, a practicing nurse and physiotherapist further developed the techniques based on her experience. She also mapped the areas on the feet and the hands to the corresponding organs of the body.

How Does It Feel?
The general feeling that is felt by the people who have undergone this form of therapy is a sense of, not exactly numbness, but a sort of anesthetic effect on the body as a whole. Many have found the session to be relaxing. In rare cases only has discomfort or a ticklish feeling been attributed to the practice. If you do feel such a sensation, inform the practitioner immediately.

Who Needs Reflexology?
Reflexology seems to work for those who

· Have headaches due to tension,
· Are under stress,
· Have digestive disorders,
· Have pain in the back,
· Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or other menstrual disorders,
· Arthritis and
· Hormonal imbalances etc.

Reflexology claims to improve blood circulation and induce relaxation, reduce pain and bring about an improvement in overall health. Reflexology seems to be effective in post-operative care. It is a form of a complementary therapy and can only be recommended as such, and cannot serve as a replacement to normal medical care.

How Is A Reflexology Session Like?
In general, a session of reflexology treatment lasts about three quarters to an hour long. The session typically begins with some questions on your overall health and the kind of lifestyle that you lead. You have then to remove your footwear, including your socks, and stretch yourself out comfortably in a reclining chair or, if necessary, on a massage table.

The practitioner then slowly applies pressure over your entire foot, gently massaging with his/her thumb to locate areas of tension. The same treatment is applied to the other foot also. Oil may be used but it is generally not advised. The application of pressure is gentle and is not meant to cause discomfort to the patient. If there is any discomfort, the fact should be made known to the reflexologist at once.

What Will The Feeling Be After?

If the therapy has been effective, then at the end of the session you should have a distinct sense of relaxation. The duration of this sense of relaxation differs from person to person.

As in any other form of medication, reflexology also requires certain precautions to be taken. They include:

  • Not having a session of reflexology within an hour after a meal.
  • Exclusion of pregnant women, menstrual women and people with internal or external bleeding related problems.
  • Limitation of the duration of the session to ten minutes for patients suffering from heart related problems or who suffered from heart attacks.
  • Avoidance of a bath just after a reflexology session.

The claims of reflexology that it cures a disease does not have a scientific background, though the fact that there is a general feeling of wellness after a session of reflexology has been acknowledged. Reflexology should, at best, be used only as a complement to regular medical care and does not warrant its use as the one and only cure for any kind of illness.

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Oliver S. Daniel has 1 articles online

Oliver S. Daniel is a Freelance Writer of a variety of articles and can be reached at His website is

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Introduction to Reflexology

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This article was published on 2010/03/31