Reflexology is the application of pressure, stretch and movement to the feet and hands to effect corresponding parts of the body. Reflexologists view the feet and hands as a mirror image of the body. By applying technique a reflexologist can break up patterns of stress in other parts of the body.
There are many theories but in our approach we look at the nervous system as the explanation of reflexology's working.
Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral nervous system. From there it enters the central nervous system where it is processed in various parts of the brain. It is then relayed to the internal organs to allocate the necessary adjustments in fuel and oxygen, Finally a response is fashioned that is sent onto the motor system.
This message is feed forward to adjust the body's tone or overall tension level. If applied properly the tone will reset itself to a lower operating tempo. A lower operating tempo means a lessening of stress and less wear and tear on the body's systems.
We apply techniques to the feet and hands. There is a school of thought that also applies it to the ear arguing it is also reflexology. The techniques, however, are modified from auricular therapy, an acupuncture technique.
It could be argued that all bodywork is reflexive therefore reflexology. We find that the extremities have a powerful influence because of locomotion. While we acknowledge that repeated patterns exist throughout the body we find our most effective focus to be the feet and hands.
In general terms the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.
Whether reflexology can benefit certain conditions and diseases in still under investigation. Further scientific study need to be done in order to come to some definite benefits of reflexology in regard to illness and disease.
Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care. It should not be construed as medical advice. It should not be a replacement to medical help. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.
Reflexology can be done practically anytime and any where. The trick is consistency. We have been impressed with the results from China. Their secret seems to be that they do reflexology once a day for six days in two week segments. Then they review the results and do more segments as necessary.
This requires self help and family help as well as the guidance of practitioners. The practitioner can give you a quality signal to break up the pattern of stress but you and your family can provide the quantity to help break it up.
Build reflexology into your life. It is easy to do reflexology well doing other activities. Put a foot roller under your desk or work your hands while waiting for the kids at school. Be creative but be consistent. Five minutes a day is worth more than an hour once in awhile.
We have designed a number of books with you in mind. If you are looking for self help try Hand and Foot Reflexology: A Self Help Guide. If you want to work on your child try Parent's Guide to Reflexology. If you would like to learn to be a reflexologist try Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Revised 1993) and Hand Reflexology Workbook.
If you are interested in research try "Medical Applications of Reflexology, Findings in Research about Safety, Efficacy, Mechanism of Action and Cost Effectiveness of Reflexology" and Reflexions- the Journal of Reflexology Research Project.