Reflexology is just a foot massage… right?
Wrong! Reflexology is a gentle, non-invasive therapy that encourages the body to balance and heal itself (Hull 2011).It is based on the theory that different parts of the feet correspond with different parts of the body.
The body is mapped out on the feet,hands,ears and face and reflexologists believe that applying pressure to these points (reflexes) in a specific way, can promote relaxation and also improve general wellbeing.
It is true that we use massage techniques during a treatment, but you will “feel “ a good reflexology treatment. You may even notice some subtle changes during or after a session. It does not tickle – even for the most sensitive soles !
How does reflexology actually work?
Whilst there is no scientific proof that massaging your big toe can relieve your headache, there are thousands of documented case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of reflexology. The pain gate control theory was developed in the 1960,s and changed the way many scientists viewed pain. One of their concepts that may give an indication of how reflexology has an analgesic affect, was their proposal that rubbing an area stimulates large diameter sensory nerve fibres ,and pain stimulates small diameter nerve fibres.Basically,both these signals enter the spinal cord at the same time, however, if there are more large diameter sensory fibres than small fibres, then a “gate” will be closed that stops transmission of further pain signals. An example of this application in a medical environment is a TENS machine, which is used to treat pain.
The energy theory in reflexology (Zone theory) suggests that energy flows through the body in specific channels or pathways, therefore congestion in one area will lead to a state of “dis-ease “ in the body. In acupuncture this energy is called Qi or Chi, in Shiatsu it is Ki and in yoga it is prana. What all these therapies have in common is the belief that energy needs to flow through the body to maintain good health.
There are many other theories to explain reflexology however,
“The why and wherefore I am not prepared to explain, I only ask that you try it out”
– Eunice Ingham
Reflexology is a complementary therapy and is not intended to replace a medical diagnosis or treatment.
How do I know if my Reflexologist is qualified and insured?
Simple answer to this – you can ask them ! A professional Reflexologist will be registered with a professional body such as the Association of Reflexologists so you can check online Association of Reflexologists . The Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council holds a voluntary register for practitioners that have reached a specific professional standard Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council.
Please be aware that there are various levels of reflexology training and of course you need to find the right therapist for you. My advice would be to try a couple before deciding on a course of treatments. You may find that your experience will be totally different with each therapist!
Don’t book a foot massage when you want a reflexology treatment!
Where did reflexology originate?
There are claims that reflexology dates back to ancient Egypt, China and the Native Americans, as depicted in the art and sculptures of these indigenous cultures. However, it is unknown if this was actually the practice of reflexology as we know it today.
Zone therapy was introduced by physicians in the 1800s,who discovered that applying pressure to certain areas of the body could produce a response in another body area. This technique was then used as a form of pain relief. Eunice Ingham (1889-1972) a physiotherapist, further developed this work and handed down her legacy to her nephew Dwight Byers who remains the leading expert on reflexology today.
Interesting how the Art of Reflexology was discovered by physicians!
Ok so how can rubbing my feet help with my hormones for example?
Reflexology can help with reducing stress by promoting deep relaxation and restoring balance. When our body detects stress, the hypothalamus in the brain stimulates the production of hormones including adrenaline & cortisol (fight or flight response).Whilst this is absolutely okay when faced with a grizzly bear in the woods, long term stress can be really damaging to our health.
Our endocrine, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems are all affected. Stress can exacerbate menopausal symptoms, menstruation and impede the natural process of pregnancy and childbirth.
It’s simple really – reducing stress can only have a positive impact on your health!
Why choose Barefoot Soul for Reflexology?
At Barefoot Soul, Andrea will work with you using her extensive knowledge of how the body works with your unique experience of what your body needs to restore balance. Andrea is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in the NHS, and is also a level 5 qualified, experienced Reflexologist.
We use a holistic, mind body approach to your physical,emotional,spiritual and mental health. Andrea will hold space for you in a beautiful ,nurturing setting and you can trust your session will be held in confidence.
Experienced in Foot, Hand, Ear & Facial Reflexology – Andrea specialises in Women’s Health.