What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a natural complementary therapy that uses massage techniques on the face, hands or feet to stimulate specific reflex points that relate to corresponding areas of the body. Treatments help to increase circulation and bring about a state of deep relaxation, which encourages the elimination of toxins and helps to support the body’s own natural healing processes. Click on the AOR interactive foot map to see how reflex points on the feet correspond to different areas of the body!
Where did Reflexology come from?
Early indications of reflexology practice can been traced back to Ancient Egyptian times around 2,500 BC, where hieroglyphic pyramid murals are believed to show patients receiving a form of reflexology treatment on their hands and feet. Reflexology is also thought to have been practised in India and China around a similar era. Various forms of reflexology were also practised throughout Africa and by North American Indian tribes.
The development of modern-day Reflexology is largely attributed Eunice Ingham, who built upon previous works of Zone Therapy in the 1900s by surgeon Dr. William Fitzgerald and physician Dr. Joseph Shelby-Riley, to map out corresponding areas of the body on the feet. Ingham also gave Reflexology its name as we know it today.
How does it work?
Reflexology is believed to work in many different ways on many different levels:
Stress relief: Reflexology is a deeply relaxing treatment. When the body is in a natural state (free from stress) it is able to maintain what's known as homeostasis, which refers to a balanced state, and function optimally.
Reflex response: There are over 7,000 nerve endings in our feet, which connect to every part of our body. Thus by applying pressure to reflex points on the feet, this stimulates the nervous system throughout the body, promoting relaxation and enhancing the body's system processes.
Boosts circulation: The massage techniques used on reflex points during a Reflexology treatment help to break down any build up of toxins in the body. In this way, Reflexology improves circulation by assisting in the removal of waste products no longer needed by the body.
How can Reflexology help you?
- Promote relaxation
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase circulation
- Boost your immune system
- Reduce pain and tension
- Improve sleep
It is important to note in light of the above, that Reflexologists do not and should not make claims to diagnose, treat or cure. Reflexology should be seen instead as a way of supporting relaxation and assisting the body's own natural healing processes.
What can you expect from a Reflexology treatment?
Reflexology is a holistic treatment, so before your first appointment you will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire about your health and lifestyle, and also have a brief phone call to discuss reasons for treatment and answer any questions you may have. This will enable your treatment to be personalised to your specific needs.
All treatments take place in a welcoming treatment room, where you will be seated on a massage table with a pillow and blankets to help keep you warm and comfortable, allowing you to completely relax during your treatment. A selection of soothing relaxation music is also available to be played during your treatment if you wish.
Can anyone have a treatment?
Yes! Reflexology can benefit anyone of any age.
There are however certain circumstances when Reflexology would not be considered suitable, for instance:
• Contagious or infections conditions, including:
- athlete's foot
- verrucae or warts on the feet or hands, depending on the extent
- cold sores (for Facial Reflexology)
• Certain medical conditions, including:
- fever, diarrhoea and or vomiting
- contagious or notifiable disease
- unstable heart conditions
- recently undergone or about to undertake surgery or a medical procedure
• Any medical condition that is currently being treated or investigated will require GP consent prior to treatment.
How can I get the most out of my treatment?
• Drink plenty of water after your reflexology treatment to help flush out toxins from the body
• Try to rest as much as possible to allow the body to restore itself back to health
• Have an extra layer handy, as you may feel cold after your treatment
• Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee and alcohol
Are there any side effects?
The effects of reflexology vary from person to person. Most people experience an improved sense of well-being and feel relaxed. Occasionally, you may have a reaction to a treatment and experience some mild side effects, including:
• Temporary worsening of your usual symptoms
• Feeling thirsty
• Increased sweating
• Feeling hot or cold
• Increased urination
• Feeling emotional or upset
• Feeling irritable or restless
• Nausea / slight diarrhoea
• Runny nose or flu symptoms
• Skin reaction
• Mild headache
The above reactions are a sign that your body is trying to rid itself of toxins, and should reside within 24-48 hours.