Sunday, 7 February 2010

Your best foot forward

Luckily with Reflexology it is about working on both of your feet, and even on your hands.

But what is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a Holistic Treatment for the Mind and Body which involves working on your feet and sometimes on your hands. It is a unique treatment using fingers and thumbs on the reflexes of the feet. It is not a massage but it is a deep treatment sending messages from your feet to your body. It's based on the principle that there are reflex points on the feet and hands that correspond to every organ, gland and part of the body.

A reflexologist will begin a reflexology treatment by taking a thorough health, diet and lifestyle consultation. Following this, they will examine your feet and may ask further questions. The treatment will then begin with some general relaxation techniques, followed by a precise thumb and finger walking technique aimed at applying pressure to every reflex area on the top and bottom of the foot.

Reflexology is not ticklish as a firm pressure is used. If a particular part of the body is out of balance, the corresponding reflex may feel tender or sore during the treatment. It is important that you let the practitioner know so that steps may be taken to rectify this discomfort.

A full foot reflexology treatment will generally last 45-50 minutes.

How Does Reflexology Work?

With the extensive nerve distribution in the feet, and the large portion of the sensory and motor area of the brain devoted to the feet, stimulation and therapeutic movement of the feet activates responses throughout the nervous system. The results are body-wide effects. Circulation is improved, lymphatic movement is enhanced and the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals are triggered. Neurologically, the activation of receptors in the feet changes the tempo and tone of the body by sending new messages into the system, which responds by becoming homeostatic (balanced). In essence, the foot becomes a conduit for sharing information throughout the body. Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral and central nervous system, then is relayed to the brain and on to the various organs to allocate the necessary adjustments in fuel and oxygen. Finally a response is sent to the motor system and the body’s overall tone and tension level is adjusted, reducing stress on the body’s internal systems. Dr. J. Manzanares, M.D., surgeon and reflexologist with 20 years of medical experience who has treated 70,000 clinical cases of reflexology patients, confirms this neurological circuit that takes place from the receptors in the feet. There are over 7,000 nerve receptors in each foot and there is no other single part of the body that when massaged can affect the entire body like the feet. No wonder we love foot rubs! Reflexology can help to restore the body’s natural balance, increase energy levels, improve sleep patterns, boost the immune system and improve your general well being helping to keep your body in good working order and resisting illness.

Amongst other things Reflexology can:

Relieve stress and tension (responsible for 75% of illness)

Improve nerve and blood supply (restoring vital energy pathways)

Encourage Homeostatis (the body's natural ability to heal itself)
Reduce pain and increase energy

Enhance body awareness and a sense of well being

Reflexology can assist with a wide range of illnesses (including but not limited to):

Stress and stress related conditions including anxiety and depression.

Back Pain




Sleep disorders

Hormonal imbalances

Sports injuries

Digestive disorders

What to expect from a typical Reflexology session:
If you have never had reflexology before you may wonder what it is all about:

On your first visit the reflexologist will ask you a series of questions about your
general health and life style.

You will then be asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit in a reclining chair or couch.

The reflexologist will use their hands to apply pressure to the feet, working specific areas with their fingers and thumbs. The pressure will vary on each client depending on their needs and preference. Each foot is carefully worked, starting with some relaxation techniques.

You may feel some areas of discomfort where there is a build up of crystal deposits; this will indicate to the Reflexologist an area that needs attention.

At the end of the treatment you will be encouraged to drink water and to continue to do so to help clean out toxins. The reflexologist will ask you to take note of how you feel in the coming hours.

A series of 5 to 6 sessions is often required for a specific illness, or monthly sessions for maintaining that feel good factor.

Who Can Benefit?
Anyone can benefit from all ages, pregnant mothers, babies, children, teenagers and the elderly.

PregnancyIf you are pregnant reflexology can increase health and well being and gives an excellent environment for both mother and incoming soul. It reduces stress and anxiety which can cause problems.

Children to Teenagers
If you have a child or teenager with anxiety about school or exams, reflexology can calm them and help them cope. A reflexologist is always a good listening ear and can give the child someone else to confide in.

ElderlyIf you are elderly and the circulation in your legs and feet is not working as it should, your legs and ankles might look purple from lack of use; Reflexology can really help with the circulation and make you feel so much better.

Specific IllnessIf you have a specific illness, along with your visits to your Doctor or the hospital, a reflexologist can help you tap into your body’s natural ability to heal itself, relieve stress and tension and improve blood and nerve supply.

We all suffer from stress in various forms,
everyone needs goals and challenges and a little stress
can help us to achieve. However too much stress affects
your physical health and leads to depression. (75% of all
illness is caused by stress). Reflexology is a brilliant way
to counteract stress, kick-start your vitality and boost
your self confidence.

What causes stress?
Any sort of loss, bereavement, divorce, separation, a child leaving home. A long term illness, moving house, loss of job and money worries to name a few.

In work worrying about deadlines or about not being up to the challenges of a particular task or not getting on with your co workers. All of these things can lead to stress.
Reflexology can give you an hour for yourself where you can totally relax in a safe environment. Regular treatments can help you take charge of your problems rather than allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by them.

Signs of stressIncreased irritability

Heightened sensitivity to criticism

Signs of tension such as nail-biting

Difficulty getting to sleep and early morning waking

Drinking and smoking more


Loss of concentration

If you recognise any of the above you could be showing signs of stress. By pressing the reflex point on your feet, concentrating on the points that correspond to the adrenal gland (the glands that produce cortisol the anti-stress hormone), and using lots of relaxation and breathing techniques Reflexology will make you feel a whole lot better!

About me
I trained with The International Institute of Reflexology. This entitles me to be a member of the Association of Reflexologists who promote the professional standards of Reflexology to the highest level. Although the profession is self regulated, when you see the initials IIR MAR you know that the practitioner is a professional adhering to a strict code of conduct, holds a current first aid certificate and is fully insured.

I am committed to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This means I continue to develop my skills by attending courses and lectures in the field of Reflexology.

An interesting addition:
The use of MRI technology is being used to tie the fundamental understanding of reflexology to scientific certainty. MRIs have shown a direct link between the pressure points on the feet and their individual reflexes throughout the body.“Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies are about to change reflexology, providing illustration of some of reflexology’s basic tenets. In three separate studies, Hong Kong researchers explored with fMRI what happens in the brain when pressure or technique is applied to specifc reflex areas of the left foot. Their finding: the specific parts of the brain activated by such work correlates with reflexology’s theory and intended use.In one study, reflexology applied to a specific part of the foot activated the reflected area. Specifically technique stimulation applied to the inner lateral corner of the left great toe activated the right temporal lobe, the part of the brain related to the reflex area. of the brain inner lateral corner of the left great toe to see if this would activate the part of the brain reflected by this reflex area, the right temporal lobe.” Feb 11th 2008

For a visual introduction to Reflexology have a look at this:

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