Reflexology is the application of pressure, stretch and movement to the feet and hands to effect corresponding parts of the body. Reflexologists view the feet and hands as a mirror image of the body. By applying technique, a reflexologist can break up patterns of stress in other parts of the body.
How does reflexology work?
There are many theories as to how reflexology works, but in our approach we look to the nervous system as the explanation of reflexology’s working. Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral nervous system. From there, it enters the central nervous system where it is processed in various parts of the brain. It is then relayed to the internal organs to allocate the necessary adjustments in fuel and oxygen. Finally, a response is fashioned that is sent onto the motor system. This message is fed forward to adjust the body’s tone or overall tension level. If applied properly, the tone will reset itself to a lower operating tempo. A lower operating tempo means a lessening of stress and less wear and tear on the body’s systems.
Where do you apply technique?
We apply techniques to the feet and hands. There is a school of thought that also applies it to the ear, arguing that is also reflexology. The techniques, however, are modified from auricular therapy, an acupuncture technique. It could be argued that all bodywork is reflexive, and, therefore, reflexology.
We find the extremities have a powerful influence because of locomotion. While we acknowledge that repeated patterns exist throughout the body, we find our most effective focus to be the feet and hands.
What are the benefits of reflexology?
In general terms, the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body, they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body’s equilibrium.
Whether reflexology can benefit certain conditions and diseases is still under investigation. Further scientific study needs to be done to come to some definite benefits of reflexology with regard to illness and disease.
Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care. It should not be construed as medical advice, and it should not be a replacement to medical help. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.
When should I do reflexology?
Reflexology can be done practically anytime and anywhere. The trick is consistency.
We have been impressed with the results from China. Their secret seems to be that they do reflexology once a day for six days in two-week segments. Then they review the results and do more segments as necessary. This requires self-help and family help as well as the guidance of practitioners. The practitioner can give you a quality signal to break up the pattern of stress, but you and your family can provide the quantity to help break it up.
Build reflexology into your life. It is easy to do reflexology while doing other activities. Put a foot roller under your desk or work your hands while waiting for the kids at school. Be creative, but be consistent. Five minutes a day is worth more than an hour once in a while.
How can I learn more?
Below are some books that you might be of use to you.
- If you are looking for self help read: “Hand and Foot Reflexology: A Self Help Guide” by Kevin and Barbara Kunz.
- If you want to work on your child read: “Parent’s Guide to Reflexology” by Kevin and Barbara Kunz.
- If you would like to learn to be a reflexologist read: “The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Revised)” by Kevin and Barbara Kunz.
Who does reflexology?
There are a variety of people doing reflexology, from concerned parents to doctors in China. It is a useful tool for a variety of situations. Many professions have taken up reflexology, from cosmetologists to nurses.
Reflexology is now being introduced into hospitals and HMO’s. It is even being considered for insurance reimbursement.
There are full-time professionals doing reflexology. We think the future looks bright for reflexology and the profession of reflexology.
What should I expect from a reflexology session?
Reflexology sessions in general last from 30 minutes to an hour. It is a clothed session with only the removal of shoes and socks as a requirement. (Some massage therapists add it as a part of an overall massage session, so they will require the removal of additional clothing.)
Reflexologists will use a chair and, at times, a table. Reflexologists use pressure, stretching and movement to work through the foot methodically. The whole foot should be worked in most circumstances. Both feet should be covered as well.
The reflexologist should work within your comfort zone. Too much pressure can actually be harmful and could lead to injury. But personal preference is something you should communicate about with your reflexologist. If you indicate that too much pressure is being used and the practitioner continues, we suggest you stop the session.
You should always have your wishes respected.
Do not rely on a reflexologist for medical help. The reflexologist is limited to complementing medicine not replacing it.
You should feel relaxation at the end of a session. How long that relaxation lasts is a good indicator of the effectiveness of the session. Make note of this. And tell your reflexologist your response to the session. This can be helpful information.
Finally, enjoy the session. Be careful that talking doesn’t interfere with the relaxation effect. Discussing world politics is probably something best left to another time.
Are there scientific studies?
There are many studies on reflexology. The rush is now on to test the effectiveness on certain disorders. The jury is far from in but we have compiled some of the findings in “Medical Applications of Reflexology, Findings in Research about Safety, Efficacy, Mechanism of Action and Cost Effectiveness of Reflexology”.
What follows are some helpful links about various aspects of reflexology:
- Medline studies
- Search Reflexology Research Library
- Lists of Research in Reflexology
- Scientific Studies on Reflexology
But browse around. There are lots of research here, and more to come. So bookmark this site and come back often.
What is Reflexology Research Project?
Reflexology Research Project is a project started in 1979 to forward the field of reflexology as a scientific method.