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What is reflexology?

History of reflexology

Types of reflexology

What happens during a reflexology session

Questions on what a Reflexology therapy session involves

What can reflexology treat

Places where Reflexology is practiced /taught in UK

Reflexogy in relation to Allopathic ie western medical treatment


What is reflexology?

Reflexology is based on the idea that each part of the body has a "reflex" impact on the other parts.

Reflexology treatments can be defined as a part of the foot or hand being pressed or massaged in order to create an effect on another body part or organ as a reflex.

The idea is that each part of the body has a specific connection to a point in the hands and/or feet.

The connection works both ways in that a specific part of the hands or feet is pressed /massaged to cure, heal and relax the specific body part it connects to.

The specific area on the hands or feet is referred to as a point or zone.

In the UK this treatment is now recognized by many GPs and is reasonably highly thought of, as research shows that many problems with the back, neck and bowel can be the result of to tension and stress. Reflexology has a significant relaxing effect on patients. Unlike conventional treatments which often only remove the immediate pain, it deals with the root problem ie stress.

It is though to improve various problems by having a positive effect on the blood circulation to the whole of the body and relaxing muscle tissue.

History of reflexology

The roots of Reflexology can be traced back to Egypt and China thousand years ago.

While many people throughout history can be seen to have worked in this field, in the modern era the principal exponent and “inventor” of modern reflexology was Eunice Ingham.

She shaped the practice into a clinical therapy by formally identifying the parts of the feet and hands that correspond to different organs of the body.

She wrote two books explaining her research in this area which have become the standard texts in the field. She also established a school in UK ‘The International Institute of Reflexology’ where her theory continues to be taught and ongoing research is carried out on reflexology.

Types of reflexology

Reflexology is practiced in two ways:

1- Foot Reflexology

As the name suggests, this type of reflexology is primarily done on the feet.

The idea is that nerve endings from all parts of the body are connected to the feet. Pressing different zones of the feet have a corresponding effect on various parts of the body.

For example the heels are linked to the lower back. If you go for a proper reflexology session the therapist will go over all areas on your feet one by one but will tend to focus more on the zone linked to the troubling organ of the body.

2- Hand reflexology

Although reflexology is generally known as a foot therapy, the hands also play a very important role.

The reflex zones in the hands are thought to be deeper than those in the feet but their massaging can be very effective, particularly if used in parallel with the foot massage.

It can be also very helpful in cases when the patient wants to do the therapy on his/her own or if there is not enough room for removing shoes/socks.

What happens during a reflexology session

The actual treatment is conducted in a gentle, easy going atmosphere that is very relaxing and soothing for the patient.

You will sit or more probably lie down.

The reflexologist will begin the session by examining your feet and hands to identify which parts of your body need attention. From this they will decide how to proceed.

You don’t have to do anything. Just lie there with your eyes closed. Perhaps after some initial friendly chit chat it is probably best to falll into silence in order to relax more fully.

Generally the therapist just uses his/her hands. The massage is firm but not with too much pressure.

The treatment might also include some massage creams / oil or even powder if deemed necessary by the reflexologist.

The time span for the treatment could be 40-45 minutes and be taken once a week or even up to 3 times a week depending on your condition, age and severity of the problem. On average it takes 4-6 weeks to see the results – although you will feel more relaxed immediately


Questions on what a Reflexology therapy session involves

Do I need to buy any equipment?


What to wear when going for the therapy?

Anything you feel comfortable in.

You will be asked to take off your socks (if you are wearing any) but you don’t need to take off your clothes.

What is expected of clients?

In your first meeting with your reflexologist, he/she will take a “personal history” asking you questions regarding your way of life, eating habits, any operations that you may have undergone or any minor or major illness that you have or had.

It’s very important that you are frank and open about even the slightest medical problems with the reflexology therapist.

The reflexologist may take notes on you and may keep a record of your progress (responses to the treatment) in the future. This will be confidential.

What are the main Qualifications a reflexology therapist should have?

The therapist is required to have proper training in this therapy from a recognized institute such as The International Institute of Reflexology in UK.



What can reflexology treat

Reflexology therapy is considered to help the following conditions

· Lower back pains
· Stress related pains like headaches etc
· Menstrual problems
· Digestive tract problems
· Diabetes
· Kidney problems


Places where Reflexology is practiced /taught in UK

International Institute of reflexology
Centre for Clinical Reflexology
The Association of reflexologist
Advanced Reflexology Training
British reflexology Association



Reflexogy in relation to Allopathic ie western medical treatment

While reflexology is regarded quite highly by many allopathic GPs / primary medical carers, what should be kept in mind is that reflexology should not be considered an alternative for any prescribed medicines and ongoing medical treatment.

It best seen as complementary to any ongoing medical treatment. The two can run in parallel with each other.

Advice from their Doctor should be taken in particular by diabetics and pregnant women, before starting this therapy.

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