I recently participated in a pamper evening, and it surprised me that many did not know what reflexology was! I don’t remember a time when I have ever not known what reflexology is, which upon reflection, says an awful lot! So here is a brief guide to what reflexology is, where it came from and what it aims to achieve.
Reflexology – What is it?
Reflexology is a “hand’s on” treatment which is applied to the feet (or hands) but its philosophy is to treat the whole body i.e. it takes a holistic approach to healing. It is based on the idea that the feet are mini-maps of the body, and by applying pressure techniques to particular reflex areas on the feet will have a stimulating effect elsewhere in the body.
It is a fact that there are over 7000 nerve endings in each foot, so by therapeutically stimulating these nerve endings will achieve a deep sense of relaxation. It is estimated that 75% of disease is stress-related, so regular relaxation is highly recommended.
Overall, through tension-relieving and energy releasing, a reflexology treatment aims to promote the body’s self-healing abilities.
Where did it originate?
Reflexology has been known to man for thousands of years, practised by the early Indians, Chinese and Egyptians. However, reflexology as we know it today has its origins in America with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist Dr William Fitzgerald, who founded “Zone Therapy” in the early 1900s. He discovered that certain areas, when applied with pressure, relieved pain and created numbness, but also when the pressure was removed, the cause of the pain was largely reduced too. Once these areas had been mapped they were known as “zones”. Dr Fitzgerald’s physiotherapist, Eunice Ingham, took great interest and became a pioneer in Zone Therapy throughout the USA. Ingham then devised a map of the body within the feet and the hands, developing and evolving “Zone Therapy” into “Reflexology”. Dawn Bayly brought Reflexology to the UK in 1966 after studying with Ingham in the USA and set up the Bayly School of Reflexology. Hanne Marquardt and Joseph Corvo also discovered Ingham’s Zone Therapy and worked on and evolved variations of Zone Therapy around the same time, the latter also taking into account the pressure points in the face.
Reflexology is an holistic therapy, working on the whole body and the person, not just the symptoms of the illness or disease. It has become one of the most popular forms of complementary therapy practised today.
What can it do for me?
Reflexology may bring relief to a wide range of conditions such as stress, anxiety, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, sciatica, depression, back pain and is safe and suitable for all ages.
Reflexology offers an individual some dedicated “me time” to relax and unwind, offering deep relaxation and combating stress.
Jackie Marsden MAR is a qualified reflexologist and independent consultant (Team Leader) for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic. Jackie leads and mentors a growing team of consultants (many of whom are therapists integrating organic products into their existing businesses) via the NYRO social selling channel, holding regular team meetings, one-to-one coaching via phone and facetime, and a closed facebook group. All views are my own.
Image copyright Jackie Marsden 2016