What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body. Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside allopathic healthcare to promote better health for their clients.
Is reflexology suitable for me?
Reflexology is a therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from newborn babies to those receiving end of life care, and everyone in between. However, there may occasionally be times when it is not suitable to provide a treatment.
Will reflexology help me?
Well trained reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe. Reflexology is a very individual treatment which is tailored to you as a whole person, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting your wellbeing. Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!
The theory is that reflexology helps the body to restore its balance naturally. Usually, after a treatment your tension may be reduced and you might feel relaxed. You might also notice yourself sleeping better and find your mood and sense of wellbeing improving. You may also find that other aspects improve too; however, this happens on an individual basis.
There have been some positive research projects carried out with reflexology; however, as yet, there is not a large enough body of evidence for us to make clinical claims of effectiveness.
With ever increasing levels of stress in everyday life, it is important for people to take more responsibility for their own healthcare needs. Reflexology may be one of the ways to mitigate the stresses of modern life.
Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice
What happens when I go for a treatment?
A full medical history will be requested on your first treatment, and you will be asked to sign a consent form for treatment. This information will be kept confidential. Reflexology is a very easy therapy to receive; depending on the type of reflexology, the most clothing that will have to be removed for a treatment to take place will be your socks and shoes.
The therapist will then use their hands to apply pressure to the feet, lower leg, hands, ears or face, depending on the type of reflexology chosen. You may feel areas of transient discomfort during the treatment, but generally the experience should be relaxing.
The therapist may recommend a course of treatments.
How will I feel after a reflexology treatment?
It is useful to give feedback to the reflexologist as this may show the response of your body to treatment. This in turn might help the reflexologist to tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs.After one or two treatments your body may respond in a very noticeable way. Most people note a sense of well-being and relaxation; however, sometimes people report feeling lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is usually transitory and reflexologists believe that it is part of the healing process.
Reflexology and how it works
Your feet are a perfect microcosm of your body. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet and reflexology uses these reflexes to create positive change within the body.
Reflexology is an ideal form of treatment to prepare the body for pregnancy and birth and indeed to treat many general health conditions.
In pregnancy, your body will go through significant changes that will affect the emotional, hormonal and physiological balance of your body. Reflexology can help to alleviate discomfort arising from this imbalance and restore the body’s natural state of well-being.
Reflexology is a wonderful way of helping you through the myriad of changes of motherhood. It is, however, not recommended if there is a history of premature labour, severe hypertension, placenta praevia or recent vaginal bleeding. If you suspect any problems in your pregnancy it is important to contact your doctor or midwife.
Reflexology during pregnancy
Reflexology can be used for any of the following reasons during pregnancy:
- General relaxation
- Relief of stress and anxiety
- Increased energy levels
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Reduce heartburn
- Relieve backache
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Oedema (swelling, mainly of feet and ankles)
- Ligament and groin pain
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction
Reflexology and Labour
Research has shown that regular reflexology treatments during pregnancy can reduce the incidence of very post mature babies (after 41 weeks) and shorten the duration of labour, with many women requiring less pain-relief. Other benefits include:
- Helping to initiate labour
- Providing some pain relief
- Co-ordination and acceleration of regular contractions
- Reducing the chance of a retained placenta.
Reflexology post pregnancy
Reflexology can help to reduce postnatal problems for you and your baby. It is used to help with:
- Inadequate lactation
- Engorged breasts
- Urine retention
- Stress and anxiety problems
- Sleep problems
- Postnatal depression.
A brief history of reflexology
Whilst the art of reflexology dates back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, this therapy was not introduced to the West until Dr William Fitzgerald developed ‘Zone therapy’. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.
In the 1930’s, Eunice Ingham further developed this zone theory into what is known as reflexology. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body.
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