Reflexology arose from the traditional system of Chinese Medicine. Reflexology does not use acupuncture per sé, but does make use of pressure points, mainly in the feet, to stimulate the body’s own healing potential through massage techniques.
According to acupuncture, there are 12 meridians that run the length of the body, as well as 2 special meridians, called vessels.The meridians and vessels make up the body’s energy system, which works to maintain the health of the organism, by maintaining a smooth flow of energy and creating harmony within the body.
The six main meridians (those that penetrate the major body organs) are represented in the feet. Knowledge of the meridians can help to pinpoint problem areas in the body. Reflexologists stimulate reflex points (and sections of meridians situated there) on the feet, and sometimes the hands, ears and other parts of the body, to unblock energy pathways that have become congested, causing illness and pain.
At the first treatment, the therapeutic reflexologist will take your full case history. This is necessary to establish a complete health picture, and will be used as a reference to establish progress during ensuing treatments. Personal details will be required to establish heredity problems, and for future reference.
Reactions to reflexology treatments differ from person to person, but are generally pleasant, and give you a sense of calm, relaxation and rejuvenation. However since reflexology stimulates the body’s own healing power, it can be expected that the body will react, as it rids itself of toxins. The severity of reactions depends on how imbalanced the body was before treatment, but should never be too extreme.
Some examples of cleansing reactions include:
- Aggravated skin conditions such as pimples
- Increased mucous in the nose, mouth and chest
- Increased urination and flatulence
- Dizziness, nausea, headaches, fever, fatigue, depression
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Temporary outbreak of a suppressed disease
Do not worry – these symptoms are a necessary part of the healing process and will pass!!
The therapeutic reflexology therapist should explain the treatment and techniques to you before he/she commences with your first treatment. It is important that you understand the basic principles of a therapeutic reflexology treatment, so you can feel relaxed and confident, and know what to expect.
During treatment, there should preferably be no talking, as you need to relax and allow your body to respond to the treatment without distraction. If at any stage you feel uncomfortable or unsure, do however feel free to communicate this with the reflexologist. The aim is to make the reflexologist aware of your body’s reactions to stimulation, as this will help with his/her assessment, and to keep the session as comfortable for you as possible.
If an organ is diseased, the reflex related to that organ, located on the foot, will be sensitive or sore. If there is congestion along a meridian, the reflex related to that meridian may feel sensitive or painful. This is an indication that there is a blockage in the energy path related to that reflex.
The feet are supplied with an abundance of nerve endings, and are thus very sensitive. They are also the end-point of circulation in the body, and blood must be circulated back up against the force of gravity. Congestion will impede this process, and thus toxins tend to concentrate in the feet. Grainy calcium crystal deposits, which cause the pain felt during treatment, may be felt in the nerve endings in the feet.
They develop into acid crystals that impede normal blood circulation. Reflexology treatment breaks these crystals down, allowing the residue to be removed by the blood circulation.
As mentioned, different people react differently to treatment, and so the duration and number of treatments required will depend on the individual’s constitution and history, age and attitude, as well as the nature of illness and the body’s ability to react to treatment.
The first treatment should take about one hour, including recording of your case history. Following treatments should take between 30 and 50 minutes.
The session cannot be too short, or insufficient stimulation will be achieved; too long a session may result in over-stimulation, which can cause discomfort. A once-off treatment is not sufficient to correct problems that have been developing over years. A course should last between 8 and 12 sessions, preferably taking place twice a week until there is some improvement, at which time frequency can be reduced to once a week.
As long as the patient reacts positively, there is value in continuing treatment.
Therapeutic reflexology does not treat specific diseases, but aims rather to eliminate problems caused by specific diseases by bringing the body back into a state of balance.
A therapeutic reflexologist does not practice medicine, nor does he/she diagnose or prescribe medicine. A therapeutic reflexology assessment simply determines which parts of the body are out of balance, and the therapeutic reflexologist treats the patient accordingly, to restore harmony and energy flow.
Therapeutic reflexology can be used as a prevention technique, whether after a course of treatment, to prevent re-emergence of a problem, or simply to maintain the body in a balanced state and prevent any slight imbalances causing problems. Session intervals in this case will vary, sometimes between weeks and months.
Therapeutic reflexology is beneficial for anybody, at any age.