The feet never take a day off so it is important that we take care of them. Massage and reflexology are a good way to do that.
Reflexology is a beautiful modality, or treatment, whose aim is not to heal but to bring the body’s energy, or qi, back into balance so that the body may heal itself. The bottoms of the feet, hands, and even the ears are mapped out to correspond with different organs and areas of the body. It is believed that by gently pressing on certain areas, corresponding with the map, one can balance the flow of qi allowing the body to heal itself.
Reflexology is a holistic massage treatment with roots in both ancient and modern traditions. There are records of reflexology-type treatments going back to ancient China and Egypt; but, it is an American treatment. It was first proposed by a nurse named Eunice Ingham in the 1930’s. She was influenced by her employer’s work in Zone Therapy. Eunice originally developed the modern reflexology maps and spent her life lecturing on and promoting it. Her nephew, Dwight Byers, went on to found the International Institute of Reflexology. Today, there are several forms of Reflexology practiced; however, the Ingham Method continues to be the gold standard.
It’s important to note that there isn’t any concrete evidence to support the use of reflexology, but I think that it is an important tool to have in anyone’s massage mojo toolbox if for no other reason than because it is usually deeply relaxing and deep states of relaxation help the body to rebalance.
Because of their similarities, many people confuse Acupressure and Reflexology. They both fall into the category of reflex therapies, but they are very distinct treatments operating on the theory that the body’s vital qi can be stimulated through touch points on the body, unblocking energy and allowing it to flow more naturally. Acupressure, however, deals with 14 long thin lines, called meridians, that run most of the length of the body. There are more than 800 pressure points along these lines all along the body. Reflexology, in contrast, has the entire map of the body and all of its reflex points mapped out on the feet, hands and ears. The body is separated into 10 zones called reflex zones instead of the 14 meridian lines of acupressure.
Generally, reflexology is considered very safe even for people living with serious health conditions. You should talk to your doctor first if you have circulatory problems in the feet or a history of blood clots or inflammation of your leg veins before seeing your reflexologist.
Lenardo DaVinci described the feet as a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art. Take care of your feet and your hands, and they will take care of you. If you’d like to know more about Reflexology, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.