Reflexology is a natural healing technique based on the principle that there are reflexes in the hands, feet and ears that correspond to every part, organ and gland of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and promotes the natural function of the related areas of the body. Most commonly, reflexology works on points on the feet. The feet are seen as reflected images of the body; visualise a body superimposed over the soles of the feet, with the head at the toes, and the rest of the body following down the foot. That body map is the basis of reflexology.
The process of reflexology is a systematic application of pressure using specific thumb and finger movements to access the reflex points. When these reflex areas are stimulated by the therapist, nerve pathways are stimulated, circulation is increased, and congestion is cleared. This helps facilitate the body to relax and resume a natural state of balance, or homeostasis, assisting the body to heal in its own natural way.
The practice of reflexology dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, and was introduced by Dr William Fitzgerald to the West as ‘Zone therapy’. He observed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.
In the 1930’s Eunice Ingham further developed this zone theory into what is known as reflexology. She found that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body. Reflexology works on the feet to aid healing to the whole person not just the presenting symptoms.
Three-quarters of today’s diseases can be attributed to stress and tension. Stress causes constriction of the blood vessels, a tightening which can lead to severe consequences. It impedes the blood/nerve flow to that body part, triggering disease. Reflexology aims to open these pathways.