What is Reflexology?
Practitioners of reflexology apply stimulation to nerves on the feet, hands and ears to relieve stress and boost the general health of the patient. The goal of reflexology is not to diagnose illness or provide healing. The role of a professional reflexologist is to stimulate blood flow, improve lymphatic supply and tune the proper functioning of the nervous system. All of which serves to facilitate recovery from illness and increase the body’s resistance to illness.
There are a number of theories, which attempt to explain how reflexology works. The main two are the nervous system theory, which states that reflexology works by stimulating the nervous system to send signals to the brain, which in turn responds by sending adjusting signals across the body.
The other theory is the Qi doctrine, which relies on a philosophical concept used in Chinese traditional medicine called the Qi. Supposedly, when there is an excess or lack of Qi in a certain part of the body, the organs there become susceptible to illness. Stimulation of key point by reflexology is intended to correct the distribution of Chi and therefore provide support for recovery similar to acupuncture.
It must, however be stressed again that Reflexology per professional regulation cannot be viewed as a diagnosis or treatment tool. It only facilitates recovery.
Practices analogous or similar to reflexology date back to the civilizations of ancient Egypt, India and China. The history of modern acupuncture begins with William H. Fitzgerald M.D. (1872-1942) – an American ear, nose and throat physician. He demonstrated that pressure to one point on the body resulted in a blocking of pain perception in another. Fitzgerald’s techniques were developed by Eunice D. Ingham (1899-1974), who was a nurse and a physiotherapist. He discovered, that the hands and feet were particularly sensitive to pressure and mapped out the relationship between different parts of the hands and feet and the rest of the body. This was the birth of modern reflexology.
Relaxation and stress relief are the primary reasons, why most people go to see a reflexologist. Sometimes, a mainstream healthcare professional will recommend a visit to a reflexologist for therapeutic purposes.