Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to and massaging certain areas of the feet, hands and ears. The aim is to encourage healing and relieve stress and tension. It is also used to improve general health and well-being. Reflexologists don’t claim to prescribe, diagnose or cure.
The ancient Chinese practice of reflexology is a manual therapy focusing on the feet. The method has been used for several thousands of years and is known to have been practised in a similar manner by the Chinese and the Egyptians. Reflexology was described in the form in which it is now known by the American Eunice Ingham in the 1930s who based her method on Zone Therapy . The main pioneer of Reflexology in Great Britain was Doreen Bayly who introduced the method in the early 1960s.
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Reflexology treatment is based on the principle that certain areas of the feet - called reflexes - are linked to other areas on the body through the nervous system. The arrangement of the reflexes has a direct relationship to the area of the body they affect. For example, the right side of the foot is linked to the right side of the body and the tips of the toes correspond to the head. Consequently, when a toe is massaged, it relieves and refreshes the mind. The liver, pancreas and kidneys connect to the arch of the foot and the lower back and intestines towards the heel. In general, there are 5 zones on each side of the body, making up a total of 10 zones altogether.
The reflexologist manipulates the pressure points so that any part of your body that is in pain or is weak can be strengthened with the pressure on these points. Reflexology does not claim to be a 'cure-all' but many people have found they have been helped by reflexology. Reflexology may be given for a wide range of disorders including headaches, migraines, sinus congestion, stiffness in the neck and back, digestive problems, and hormonal problems. Uses of reflexology also extend to post-operative or palliative care. It is a popular therapy among cancer patients who find it helpful for relaxation. For many patients undergoing intensive medical treatment, reflexology can help to boost emotional well-being.
The British Reflexology Association