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Reflexology

foot massage
Reflexology is an ancient art practiced for several Millennia. It was initially practiced in ancient Chinese cultures, ancient Indian people, and the Indians. The therapy came to the West in 1913 by Dr. William Fitzgerald. He noticed that when you pressed on specific body parts, it had an anesthetic effect on particular body areas.

Pressure on a certain part of the zone could affect other areas within the same zone. Fitzgerald divided the body into ten equal zones and vertical zones. Zones all end in the foot and toes. Reflex areas of the feet can affect the areas of the rest of the body above the feet and in the same zones. Because the feet and hands are not difficult to get access to, these are used to affect change in all body areas within the correct zones.

How Reflexology was Developed

In the 1930s, a therapist by the name of Eunice Ingham developed this kind of therapy further by developing the concepts of using the feet into the field of foot reflexology; for example, pressure on the big toe can help the head. Any other areas of the toes that have congestion or tension, there will be mirrored tension or congestion in tension in a corresponding area of the body.  In the same way, calm feet can illicit can calm the rest of the body.

Self-Healing Beliefs

Reflexology practitioners believe that the body has the ability for self-healing.  After a traumatic brain injury, another injury, illness, or stress, the body is in a state of imbalance with blockage of vital energy pathways.  The body will not function properly.  The therapists believe that using reflexology can maintain and restore the natural equilibrium of the entire body and restore healing.

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexology uses just the hands and light pressure to the feet. Every application elicits a different and unique effect on the rest of the body.  A sensitive hand can exert special effects on blockages and mineral deposits, causing the imbalances you feel like pain and tension in other areas of the body. By working on specific areas of the foot, tensions are released, and the energy flow in the body is improved. Circulation and tension are removed, so the body is allowed to heal, counteracting a lifetime of misuse and injury.

Does Effective is Reflexology?

A systematic review using randomized controlled studies has concluded that the best therapy out there does not support a positive effect on the body. There are no convincing studies that reflexology treats any disease or makes anyone better.  Even among reflexologists. There is disagreement as to what reflexology actually does. There is the problem of patients resorting to reflexology and getting sicker because they are choosing reflexology and avoiding classical, conventional medical techniques that can be more helpful than reflexology.

Image by Ryan Hoyme from Pixabay Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.3.20]
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