With the diverse list of medical management practices and treatments observed nowadays, one can get lost on the nature and benefits of these practices especially if they are alternative treatments that aren’t always recognized by Western medicine. Reflexology is not one of those because even if it is already an age-old practice, it is still growing in popularity in the west and a lot of chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists offer reflexology treatments for those people who have a need for it and are willing to give it a try.
What is Reflexology?
This treatment uses the application of pressure from the thumbs and fingers to specific “reflex points” on the hands and feet that correspond to certain body parts like organs and systems. Doing so improves blood flow all over the body, thereby promoting balance and relieving various pains and aches felt in different parts of the body.
The principle behind reflexology is that the body is able to heal itself by applying a gentle pressure to pressure points on your hands and feet. Similar to massage and acupuncture minus the needles, reflexology believes that “qi” or life energy flows through the human body and an imbalance to this life energy leads to feelings of pain, discomfort, or even an illness. Gentle massages to these energy channels get rid of any blockages and once again enhance blood circulation.
Is Reflexology good for you?
Some people have the notion that a reflexology session is similar to a massage when it is actually not, simply because they give off a calm and relaxing feeling after each treatment. Reflexologists or practitioners actually have a different training than massage therapists and you need to be certified as a reflexologist in order to offer this service as there is more to it than meets the eye. You have to learn about “reflex points” and learn how to apply pressure properly such as knowing which pressure points correspond to the specific body organ or system.
The following health conditions can benefit from the addition of reflexology to their medical management:
- Anxiety and depression
- Back pain and muscle strain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other GI disorders
- Poor circulation
- PMS and menopause symptoms
- Sleep and eating disorders
There are a few things you need to remember before your first reflexology session. It usually lasts for about 30 minutes to one hour and the reflexologist will likely work on your feet instead of your ears and hands unless there is a need for it. At times, the practitioner will massage all parts if warranted by your health condition. Show courtesy to the reflexologist by coming with clean feet since it is the part of the body that will be handled during the session.
Contraindications to this treatment are open wounds on the feet and hands, pregnancy because of the risks of triggering premature contractions, and other vascular conditions were a clot is present and can result in life-threatening conditions like pulmonary emboli.
The practitioner will do a health history check first by asking you questions pertaining to your health that may be considered as contraindications for this treatment or it can also give the practitioner an idea as to which part of the feet to focus on during the session.
Reflexology is not the same as foot massage but it may give you the same relaxing feel after. You’ll be able to sleep better after the treatment but at the same time feel energized too mainly because of the improved blood circulation. One can immediately feel the release of tension in one’s body. For this reason alone, many are curious and wants to give reflexology a try. On a final note, these are the types of reflexology treatments to choose from:
- Standard Reflexology
- Vertical Reflex Therapy (VRT)
- Zone Therapy
- The Reflex Meridian Therapy
- The Morell Technique
- 5 Elements Reflexology
You may have a different reaction to reflexology but more often than not, the results are positive. It won’t stay popular for centuries if it did not have any beneficial properties that really made a positive difference in people’s lives.