Foot therapies such as reflexology were an important part of healing in many ancient cultures. Reflexology is based on the principle that certain points on the feet and hands correspond to specific parts of the body. By applying pressure to these reflex points, a trained reflexologist can release tensions, improve the blood supply and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
Reflexology can be used simply for relaxation as well as to maintain good health. Treatment is relaxing and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.Alternatively, many people find reflexology beneficial for a wide range of physical symptoms and problems:
- Chronic pain, including neck and back pain and arthritis
- Migraine and chronic headaches
- Tiredness and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Digestive disorders, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
- Menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome
- Symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (as reviewed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence NICE).
Reflexology treats the body holistically. Following any trauma or stress, reflexology practitioners believe that the body can be out of balance, causing the energy flow to be blocked. Reflexology treats the imbalances and alleviates symptoms, however it cannot diagnose specific problems.Reflexology is thought to:
- Reduce stress and encourage relaxation
- Improve circulation and lymphatic flow
- Balance the whole body
- Remove congestion and blockages from the energy pathways
- Normalise gland and organ function.
At your first session your reflexologist will take a history of your condition and your general health, and explain a little about reflexology therapy.
Your practitioner will use pressure from their thumb and fingers to stimulate the appropriate reflex points for you. You may feel warmth and tingling in your feet and the rest of your body during your treatment. You may also feel relaxed and drowsy; it’s perfectly normal for clients to fall asleep during their therapy sessions.
Afterwards you may need to use the toilet more regularly. Many people feel calm and relaxed with an improvement in their symptoms. Some patients feel lethargic and nauseous, or even tearful, for a short time. This is thought to be due to the body eliminating toxins following the reflexology treatment.
It’s important not to drink alcohol for 24 hours before your reflexology therapy. It’s also advisable to avoid heavy meals before treatment, and drink plenty of water afterwards.
It’s important to inform your practitioner of any chronic illness before your treatment, especially thyroid disease, epilepsy, cancer and depression. Diabetics in particular should talk to their doctors before having reflexology as treatment may interfere with their medication.
Reflexology may not be suitable for people with foot problems including gout, ulcers and circulatory conditions.
Please tell your reflexologist if you may be pregnant as it is not advisable to have reflexology during the first three months of pregnancy.