- What is Reflexology
- History of Reflexology
- The Therapeutic Benefits of Reflexology
- How is Reflexology Useful in Relaxation and Healing Common Diseases
- Scientific and Research Reports that Back the Healing Properties of Reflexology
- Image Sources
The information presented in this e-book will be quite intriguing for all those people who have this yearning to know more about the Reflexology technique. The information will help them to use reflexology in their home and work environment. It will also be of good use for individuals who are into studying reflexology. It would also work for those who would like to get a better understanding the techniques of other practitioners. All the methods and the procedures are explained using simple language and directions that can be followed very easily.
The book also contains images for making the words come to life. However, it is to be noted that this e-book has not been conceptualized in the form of a comprehensive A to Z authority on the techniques of reflexology. This e-book is basically a kind of “How To” e-book meant for people who have keen interest in this amazing modality. It will explain to the readers what is reflexology, its history, how it works and what are its therapeutic benefits.
Readers will also get to know how reflexology can help on relaxation and in healing common diseases. It also contains scientific and research reports serving as an evidence of the healing properties of reflexology. The book has been written in easy to understand language. Information in this e-book is user-friendly.
What is Reflexology?
For reflexologists, the feet serve as the main part of the entire human body. Each and every part and organ of the body is represented in the feet. Two organs of the human body are represented on both feet like the kidneys and the lungs. One organ is represented on one foot like the liver which will on the right foot. The heart on the other hand will be on the left foot. Where the body part or organ is reflected in the feet, it is called organ reflex like the heart reflex. Right side of the human body is represented by the right foot and the left side of the human body is represented by the left foot.
Each foot features 26 bones, 7000 nerves, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments. Reflexology is basically a kind of drugless therapy that creates physiological changes in the human body. It does this by improving circulation naturally. This in turn helps in reducing body tension and in enhancing relaxation. This therapy helps in eliminating body waste and in restoring the different functions of the body making way for better health.
Reflexology involves applying pressure to various points on the ears, hands, and the feet. It is quite relaxing. It also serves as one of the most fruitful methods of alleviating stress. The core concept of Reflexology revolves around healing by application of pressure on the key areas in ears, hands, and feet. They are quite advantageous for the health of an individual.
Reflexologists make the efficient use of foot charts that guide them while they apply pressure to certain areas of the body. Most of the times, the practitioners make use of different items like rubber bands, wooden sticks and rubber balls for carrying out their work effectively. The professionals who practice reflexology include physical therapists, massage therapists and chiropractors. According to reflexologists, this therapy of applying pressure on different areas of the body can help in treating different medical conditions. These include cancer, diabetes and asthma.
Reflexology is usually considered a very safe procedure. However, inappropriate pressure might lead to negative health issues. Reflexology is not just for the feet but even for the face, ears and hands. However, foot reflexology seems to be very popular. It is also worth noting down that reflexology can turn out to be a torture if you are ticklish. It is very rare but most of the times there are people who find that the sure and firm touch used by the reflexologists does not tickle.
Reflexologists are trained in healing medical conditions. They supports the mind, the body and the emotions allowing people to heal on their own. It offers astonishing results within a very short span of constant practice. Reflexologists are not experts in diagnosing and curing chronic medical conditions.
For centuries, researchers and scientists have explored the fact that there are different energy zones within the human body. Many studies have also established the theory that the reflex regions on the hands and the feet have connections to the different areas of the body and the organs by way of an energy zone network. This method was called Reflexology by Eunice Ingham in 1930.
To explain reflexology in just one sentence, it is the procedure of applying mild pressure on the reflex points of the hands and the feet. It is for stimulating the healing system of the body, for complete relaxation. It helps a person to get back to the state of well-being and balance, thereupon restoring the overall health and well-being of a person.
History of Reflexology
For the modern day people, it is very vital to remain aware of the magnificent archetypal history patented by practitioners in this field. The history of reflexology dates back over 6000 years. The ancient Egyptian doctors were the ones who started the scientific study of the human body for the first time around 4,500 years ago. These doctors achieved greater excellence in setting bones, treating different illnesses and in caring for injuries and wounds. They preserved the anatomical observation, medical treatments and surgery by way of careful record keeping.
Ellen and Ed Case from Los Angeles discovered a picture on one of the walls of the Ankhmahar tomb in Egypt in the year 1979. This was when they were touring Egypt in the year 1979. The tomb is called the tomb of the physician and it dates back to 2330 B.C. as per Egyptologists. It is probably the 3rd oldest history of manus/pedis cure Reflexology till date. It offers modern day physiotherapists and reflexologists a consciousness about the sense of connection and the roots of the oldest health care professions practiced across the world.
The pictograph discovered at the tomb shows physicians applying pressure on the great toe and the thumb of the patients. It also shows the patients applying pressure on the gallbladder meridian point under their arms. According to hieroglyphic translation created by the Papyrus Institute of Cairo, pain indicated a health problem in the ancient times.
Reflexology is based on the ancient form of therapy. Reflexology has its roots from ancient Egyptian and Chinese therapies dating back to 4000BC. The Indians forming the North American tribes are also known to practice a kind of foot therapy nearly hundreds of years ago. However, in spite of these evidence available, there is great confusion regarding the real origin of reflexology.
It would be enough to stay that this beautiful therapy has stood the test of time and it has even helped people in improving their health. In AD 1500 Zone Therapy was used and during the 16th century, there were many books published on the subject of Zone Therapy. One of the most famous books on this subject was written by Dr. A Tatis and Dr. Adamus while there was another book written by Dr. Ball. However, the credit for the discovery of a systemized foot therapy goes to Dr. William Fitzgerald.
Dr. William Fitzgerald was the one who names it Zone Therapy. He brought the attention of the medical world towards this therapy between the years 1915 and 1917. In the year 1915, an article was published in the Everybody’s Magazine entitled “To stop that toothache, squeeze your toe.” This article which brought Dr. Fitzgerald’s work before the common people was written by Edwin Bowers.
In the year 1917, a book named Zone Therapy or Relieving Pain in the Home was written by Dr. Fitzgerald. This book was further enlarged and published as Zone Therapy or Curing Pain and Disease.
About Dr. Williams Fitzgerald
Dr. William Fitzgerald obtained his degree in medicine in 1895 from the University of Vermont. Next, he practiced at the Boston City Hospital for two and half years before leaving for London. In London, he practiced at the Central London Nose and Throat Hospital and then took up the position of Assistant to Professors Chiari and Politzer in Vienna. Both these doctors were highly popular and respected doctors in Vienna.
Dr. Fitzgerald never involved himself in publishing the original sources of his Zone Therapy. However, he was highly influenced by the work of Dr. d’Arsonval in Vienna. On his return to the US, Dr. Fitzgerald started serving at the St Francis Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut. Here, he was the head of the Nose and Throat Department. The Zone Therapy was discovered and re-discovered by Dr. William Fitzgerald around 1909.
It would be important to note that in acupuncture, the Chinese had divided the human body into different longitudinal meridians by around 2500 B.C. starting from the year 1915 till the 1930’s, zone therapy was highly controversial. Nevertheless, this therapy got success with dentists and osteopaths. Dr. Shelby Riley was one physician who believed in Fitzgerald’s work. Dr. Shelby Riley and his wife, namely Elizabeth give credits to Dr. Fitzgerald for bringing cone therapy to before the public.
Eunice Ingham was another physiotherapist who worked with Dr. Shelby at St Petersburg. She extended Dr. Fitzgerald’s work. She was the pioneer in making people understand that they should help themselves if their doctors are not using reflexology. She worked with many doctors for proving her findings and demonstrating the ultimate techniques of Reflexology. She also worked for demonstrating the fact that reflexology was a very useful diagnostic device.
She even gave lectures at medical clinics regarding the use of reflexology. In her reports, she acknowledged the fact that reflexology did work. Doctors around the world knew the benefits, but the time consuming and money factors let their interests down. Eunice Ingham is known as the founder of modern reflexology. She also wrote two popular books on this subject. The books are called Stories the Feet Have Told and Stories the Feet Can Tell.
Apart from writing books and giving lectures, Eunice founded the International Institute in coordination with Dwight Byers, her nephew. She founded this Institute with the hope that her work could be continued even in the future. At present, Dwight Byers serves as the President of this Institute.
Throughout the forty years of treating people, Eunice Ingham came up with a mechanism of different procedures. These methods enable practitioners to connect with reflexes in the most economic and efficient way. The entire procedure is called Original Ingham Method.
How to do Reflexology?
Reflexology is the ancient art of healing. It involves applying mild pressure to different regions of the ears, hands and feet. These feature peripheral nerves connected to the central nervous system. If these areas are massaged properly, they can tap the central nervous system into relieving pain. It automatically relieves from stress.
Reflexology can best be practiced by understanding its fundamentals. Engaging a nerve in the big toe can reduce tension in the head. It can help in reducing headache. In the same way, applying pressure on the heel can help in digestion. This therapy can even be used for treating serious conditions as well.
Research shows that there are four main effects of reflexology. It has an impact on specific organs. It reduces different symptoms by helping the organs to function in the proper manner. It relaxes the mind and the body. It reduces anxiety and also has the ability to relieve pain. It is equally important to understand the different reflexology zones.
You can imagine your body to be divided into a mechanism of transverse and longitudinal zones. The transverse zones divide the regions of the feet into different zones corresponding to the abdomen, chest, neck, pelvis and head. By applying pressure to an area of the foot helps in activating the healing power of the body. It is called zone therapy.
When performing reflexology, it is important to know the location of the reflexes on the feet. They are in correspondence to every gland, organ and limb of the body. This way reflexology can be used for stimulating the healing power of the body. When the body experiences stress, there is a depletion of energy reserves. It has an individual losing the ability to combat pain and fighting infections. However, when the body is treated through reflexology, its healing power gets activated.
Consulting a reflexologist is the best thing that you can do to understand and get the benefits of reflexology. This will introduce you to the practice in the best way possible. A reflexologist will show you the finger walking procedures used for applying pressure to certain points on the ears, feet and hands. This will help in relieving pain and stress in other body parts. However, prior to making an appointment, you must check the credentials of the reflexologist.
You can even try applying pressure to the reflex points on your own. For this, you will have to identify the zone that you want to engage. Next, you must find the right reflex spots on the foot. You can do this by having a look at the charts available online. Try applying mild pressure on the area for stimulating the body. It will have the body creating endorphins that relieve stress by interrupting the pain cycle.
Reflexology is quite similar to a foot massage. Pressure applied to on the reflex points should not feel painful. Rather, they should feel firm. The thumbs and the fingers can be used for applying gentle pressure for a few minutes. It is also important to prepare the body for Reflexology session. For this, the body should be completely relaxed. It is a holistic practice, but there is no mental preparation needed for making it effective.
First of all, you need to get into a very comfortable position. Next, remove your socks and shoes and then sit cross-legged on the yoga mat or the bed. You must try relaxing your body for preparing it for the healing procedure. You can either try your own methods of reflexology or have a partner applying pressure in the reflex spots.
You can relieve tension in the head and the neck by applying mild pressure to the joints of the neck and the head. Apply pressure on the two big toes for relieving head tension. A t
ight chest is a sign of stress. People who experience stress generally have trouble in taking a deep breath. Applying pressure on the balls of the feet alleviate discomfort in chest. The chest contains major reflexes to the airways, lungs, thymus gland, heart, shoulders and chest.
You must press the reflex points on the instep or the bottom of the foot for relieving stomach tension called jitters. This also helps in reducing tension in the abdominal organs. If the shoulders, arms and legs feel tight due to stress, reflexology can be used for losing them. Apply pressure on the reflex points on the external edges of the feet for discharging tension in the legs and the arms.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology is the healing practice that is based on the idea that the feet feature reflex points corresponding to the different glands and organs of the body. The points are generally located on the ankles, soles, toes and foot. Reflexology involves applying pressure on reflex points with hand, finger and thumb techniques. It not only offers great pleasure but also promotes good health. Some therapeutic benefits of reflexology include:
Taking foot massage before going bed is of good help in sleeping better. Reflexology before going to bed can help in unwinding the body. It will also relax nerves and improve the circulation of blood. This encourages restful sleep. There are some acupuncture spots on the feet that should get a proper massage for promoting better sleep.
Helps in Relaxing
After a long and tiring day, one of the best ways of relaxing the body is a soothing foot massage. Reflexology gives you the required energy by releasing blockages holding back energy. It also relieves the signs of fatigue and stress. It also helps in improving the feeling of general well-being.
Helps in Fighting Depression
Reflexology can also be of good help in fighting depression. As per studies published in Journal of Clinical Nursing, reflexology can help in dealing with stressful periods of grieving. It offers consolation helping an individual balance between grieving and adapting to the changes in life. Specific reflex points on the feet can be of real help in relieving the signs of depression.
Mental health and emotional stability can be secured by applying pressure at the center of the big toe.
Relieves Pains and Aches
Reflexology can be of greater help in treating different varieties of pains and aches. These include migraines, headaches, upper and lower backaches and neck pain. You can massage the spinal reflex with your thumb for relieving backaches. Massage the tops and soles of the feet. This can also help in relieving backaches.
You can massage the joints joining the toes to the foot or the toes itself for relieving neck pain. Apply pressure on the ankle for reducing swelling and pain in the ankle. This will also help in relieving migraines and headaches. Apply pressure between the Achilles tendon and the outer ankle for relieving lower back pain. You can also get good relief from thigh pain by using the same procedure.
Improves Nerve Function
Reflexology is known to stimulate around 7000 varied nervous endings in one session. This way, it helps in increasing the reactivity and the function of the nerves. Cleaning out and the opening of the neural pathways can be useful in improving flexibility and functionality. These channels are very similar to muscles. Therefore, it is important to work them regularly for keeping them sharp.
Enhances the Levels of Energy
Reflexology can also help in increasing energy creation and metabolism procedures within the human body. It can do so by aligning the functionality of different muscle and organ systems. A session of reflexology can help you in getting your energy level back if you are feeling sluggish.
The reflex therapy also aids in in improving the function of the bladder. It also helps in reducing urinary tract problems. Reflexology is one of the most efficient systems of removing toxins and other unwanted substances. By doing so, it protects the body from weakened urinary system.
Stimulates the Central Nervous System
Open neural pathways are highly beneficial for the central nervous system in many ways. It gives the brain the ability to handling inputs effectively. This further helps in speeding up the cognitive procedures. It also makes way for faster physical reactions. Reflexology boosts the memory of an individual. It enables the brain to work faster and better.
The perfect blend of increased circulation and nerve activity enables the cells to grow faster. This helps in the faster healing of wounds. The cells can grow faster due to balanced functioning of metabolism. Reflexology also helps in relieving pain making the patients feel better.
Reflexology cannot be taken as a direct cure for cancer but it can always help in easing the side effects of chemotherapy. This is one major cancer treatment. It helps the cancer patients in getting to sleep. It also reduces the risks of vomiting and anxiety. Indigestion problems in cancer patients can also be treated with reflexology.
As has already been said, reflexology helps in clearing the neural channels and in increasing circulation. This helps in slowing the spread of cancer. It also helps in stimulating the activity of antioxidants. The antioxidants work in destroying the cancer cells. Proper research is still going on this field.
Menstruation and Pregnancy
It has been proved through studies that reflexology can be advantageous for pregnant women. It helps in reducing the chances of post-partum depression. It can even help a woman’s body in healing faster. Reflexology can enable a woman to get back to metabolic activity quickly.
The benefits offered by reflexology have long been the subject of criticism. However, reports of success have cleared the doubts surrounding the benefits that reflexology offers. This therapeutic practice must be administered in the form of a supplemental treatment.
How is Reflexology Useful in Relaxation and Healing Common Diseases?
Approximately, 3000 years ago, practitioners in Asia were massaging feet and hands applying pressure on specific points for stimulating the organs. They also did this for stimulating the energy pathways and the nerve endings to promote good health. Many clients are of the view that it improves general well-being and health of an individual. Though, it works on various principles and there is very less evidence supporting its effectiveness.
The Chinese are of the belief that reflexology helps in stimulating the body. It improves circulation, reduces stress and restores the natural balance of the body. Reflexologists can always apply pressure on the big toe for calming the endocrine or the reproductive system. It also helps in relieving menopausal or PMS symptoms.
If you are lacking energy or have been seriously injured, reflexology can be of good help in restoring the balance of the body. It will even coax the body into healing on its own. Reflexology boosts sluggish circulation and treats anxiety, stress, irritable bowel syndrome and poor digestion. Other medical problems treated by reflexology include migraine, asthma, respiratory issues, bladder problems and period pain.
Reflexology can work towards relieving the pain of cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments. Zoning out some time of relaxing massage has a positive psychological effect on the well-being of an individual. In pregnant women, reflexology can relieve pressure on the feet and the legs.
As per conventional Chinese medicine, reflex therapy works like acupuncture. It restores complete balance of a body’s life force and energy flow. There is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of reflexology in healing common diseases and in offering relaxation. However, some researchers have come up with great ideas.
Researchers are of the view that there are four popular scientific theories on the work procedure of reflexology. First of all, reflexology works by increasing blood circulation to corresponding organs or areas of the human body. Researchers and scientists support this fact by determining changes in the flow of blood by using sonography.
Second theory supporting reflexology is quite promising. It is nerve impulse theory proposing that reflex therapy helps in enhancing nerve connection. It also modulates the ANS or autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls the involuntary functions of the body. These include respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and digestion.
Third, reflexology might work by boosting endorphins release. Endorphins are feel-good brain chemicals that relieve stress and reduce pain.
Last but not the least, researchers are of the view that reflex therapy works by way of placebo effect. Placebos have the ability to exert many measurable and proven psychological and physical effects. These include heart rate, blood pressure, pain perception and brain activity.
Scientific and Research Reports Backing the Healing Properties of Reflexology
Scientific and research studies carried out in the US and across the world indicates the possible advantages of reflexology for different medical conditions. The studies confirm that reflexology can be used as the best intervention for reducing pain, enhancing relaxation and reducing depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, research reviewers have noted that reflexology studies have mixed quality and high-quality research in this field in needed.
Summaries of Research
A large review by Kunz and Kunz in the year 2008 summarized around 168 abstracts and research studies from meetings and journals across the world. Most of these studies came from peer-reviewed journals in Korea and China. The studies carried information about the duration and the frequency of reflexology application. Kunz and Kunz concluded from the studies that reflexology might:
- Have a certain positive impact on specific organs
- Create relaxation effect
- Be connected with reduction of symptoms
- Help in pain reduction
Other mechanized reviews are indicating that reflexology might have a positive impact on type 2 diabetes. It might exert an advantageous effect on lowering incontinence and blood pressure. The reviews note that quality of the research studies on this subject is very small.
Another systematic review by Lee, Posadzki and Ernst evaluate its effectiveness in treating human conditions. Total 23 RCTs met the inclusion criteria and there was 8 recommending reflexology had advantageous effects. There were 14 RCTs that showed reflexology was not efficient and one was equivocal. Authors noted that quality of research studies was poor.
Results of Research on Specific Conditions
There are some examples of thorough research conducted on the possible role of reflexology in eliminating different health conditions.
In 2015, Hudson indicated that patients getting reflexology treatment before undergoing varicose vein surgery showed significantly low intra-operative anxiety. They also showed shorter pain in comparison to patients receiving usual treatments.
In 2002, Williamson evaluated that foot massage and reflexology can help in reducing depression and anxiety.
Studies on the effect of reflexology during cancer treatment showed reduced instances of diarrhea, pain and constipation. It also showed improved life quality by way of reflexology. In 2000, Hodgson in a kind of controlled study consisting of 87 patients concluded that 100% improvement was possible with reflexology.
This improvement was seen in categories like appetite, appearance, communication, breathing, constipation, isolation, concentration, nausea, mood, tiredness and pain. In 2000, Stephenson et al. studied 24 patients in a hospital receiving reflexology with lung and breast cancer. The researchers evaluated a considerable decrease in pain in the patients suffering from breast cancer.
In 2002, Milligan studied the influence of reflexology on life quality of 20 patients suffering from cancer. The study concluded that the life quality of the patients improved through reflexology. There was a considerable decrease in the emotional and physical symptoms of these patients.
Kang, Ernst, Choi, Lee and Kim reviewed a clinical trial in 2002 and evaluated reduction in nausea, pain, fatigue and vomiting through reflexology. The mood and the sleep pattern of the patients also improved. To be precise, the studies recommended advantageous effects of reflex therapy for women suffering from breast cancer.
Ebadi studied the effect of this therapy on physiologic parameters in 2015. He found that there was no difference in the physiologic parameters of the patients undergoing open-heart surgery. However, the weaning time was shorter for the ones receiving reflexology.
In 1997, Frankel conducted a study for identifying the effects of reflex therapy on body physiology. He did this by measuring the baroreceptor reflex sensitivity. Results evaluated that the pressure sensors in the feet are connected to the brain. This single-blinded and small study contained twenty-four subjects. Out of these, ten received foot massage and ten received reflexology, four were in good control.
Type 2 Diabetes
A systematic review conducted by Song in 2015 concluded that DIY reflexology can help patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, RCT in 2014 by Dalai examined the sign management in type 2 diabetes. This concluded that reflex therapy could improve pain reduction, nerve conductivity, vibration and thermal sensitivities and glycemic control.
On 2002 Testa carried out a random and blind trial on 32 patients suffering from headaches. Results of this study showed that reflexology was effective in treating these patients.
Gozen and Koc, in 2015 noted a statistical difference in pain experienced by infants. Children receiving reflexology showed higher oxygen saturation, shorter crying periods and lower heart rates.
From specific research conducted in India, Singh, Chaudhary and Kumar evaluated two groups receiving postoperative interventions. They evaluated that the group that received reflexology has a substantial decrease in pain in comparison to the group that received pain medicines. These groups also received hand reflexology in place of conventional medicine for vomiting and nausea postoperatively. The researchers found that postoperative pain was less in patients receiving reflexology.
Overall, it can be concluded that reflexology is of high value in relieving generalized pain. This pain can be the result of chronically tight or cramped muscles. Like the other types of massage, reflexology can help in releasing endorphins resulting in relaxed and pleasurable states. Reviewers are researchers are skeptical till date, and they will be until improved evidence is available in the reviewed journals.
However, there are some claims applying pressure on the specific joints in the feet and the hands can eliminate issues of the organ. Reflexology can also help in alleviating the problems of different other systems of the human body. There is no evidence available that shows reflexology as an effective treatment for pain or other health issues.
Proper caution is necessary for regards to reflexology claims on cleansing the body toxins, promoting weight loss and increasing circulation. Studies are being conducted on this subject with results yet to be fetched for proper perusal. Studies on using reflexology for thyroid disorders, emphysema and hemorrhoids are yet to be conducted. It is also important to identify whether this therapy can cure earaches.
Reflexology is all about applying pressure on reflex points for getting relief from different medical conditions. This e-book offers detailed information on this subject. It might be of good help for the readers.