Reflexology, or zone therapy, is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on applying pressure to the feet and hands with certain finger, thumb, and hand techniques. While this may seem similar to massage, the practice uses no lotions or oils.
The Connection of Body Parts and Our Health
Interestingly, there is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology works. However, they all agree that certain areas on the feet and hands are connected to other specific parts of the body, and that by manipulating the pressure on these areas can improve one’s health through their qi, or life force.
Reflexology has been a practice in multiple cultures throughout the world for many years. Archeological evidence has found ancient reflexology systems in countries such as China, Egypt, and Japan.
Reflexology was introduced to the United States by doctors William H. Fitzgerald and Edwin Bowers in 1913. Their methods were updated in the 1940s by nurse and physiotherapist Eunice D. Ingham, who claimed that the hands and feet were both incredibly sensitive, mapping the whole body into “reflexes” on the feet.
Many reflexologists today still use Ingham’s methods for their treatments.
A Central Life Force
Several alternative medicinal practices believe in a central life force. Acupuncture and acupressure, like reflexology, believe that by manipulating the life force in certain parts of your body, you can strengthen or heal related physiological processes. For example, the big toes connect to the head (or the brain) and the ball of the foot connects to the lungs.
Reflexology and Your feet
Reflexologists use foot charts as a guide when applying pressure to a patient’s feet, using rubber balls, rubber bands, and even sticks of wood to assist them with their treatment. Through the application of pressure on these certain parts of the feet, not only is general circulation improved, but the area which that part of the foot is connected to regains normalized functions.
Reflexology Benefits, Includes Helping Cancer Patients
Several studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health claim reflexology can reduce pain and psychological systems, which include anxiety and depression, and can even enhance relaxation and sleep, help with headaches, and complement cancer treatment.
Other studies show that people who suffer from cancer can benefit from receiving reflexology as a complementary, alternative medicine, because the practice seems to aid in palliative care.
Reflexology additionally helps individuals who suffer from plantar fasciitis, ankle injuries, and other foot-related conditions. Reflexologists and massage therapists use Swedish massage and sports massage techniques on the feet, calves, and thighs. The practice can be applied after a workout, a run, or a long walk, to help you cool down and relax your muscles.
Certified Reflexologists – They Are Trained To Help
The American Commission for Accreditation of Reflexology Education and Training (ACARET) controls the standards for education that is required for reflexology.
The American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) utilizes a three-part examination process that makes sure the practitioner has met all of the standards that have been set by the board.
In order to be certified as a reflexologist, one must complete a minimum of 110 hands-on training hours. So if you use this alternative treatment and find a qualified reflexologist you’ll know you’re in good hands!