Reflexology FAQ

What Is Reflexology?

Reflexology is the science or method of stimulating reflexes of the foot, hand or ear that correspond to each gland, organ and part of the body. Stimulation of these reflexes serves to relax and normalize all functions of the body in order to promote a natural balance and revitalization. In ancient times, walking barefoot over rocks and hard ground naturally stimulated these reflexes every day.

By applying pressure on specific areas of the feet or hands, a reflexologist can stimulate corresponding organs or glands. For instance, pressure is applied to the big toe to affect the pituitary gland and the four other toes are stimulated to affect to the brain, sinuses, eyes and ears. Because internal organs like the lungs and the kidneys can not be directly massaged, reflexologists believe that the feet, hands, and ears are an appropriate alternative.

Does Reflexology cure diseases or ailments?

Reflexology is not intended to cure diseases or ailments. Reflexologists are not medical practitioners and are not allowed to diagnose ailments or treat disease. Reflexology can be a valuable way of indicating areas where higher stress or tension is present in the body and can assist to relieve that stress or tension which can promote or encourage the natural healing process.

What are the similarities between Reflexology and Acupressure?

In reflexology and acupressure, the fingers and thumbs are used to exert pressure on various parts of the body to relieve pain and promote healing.

The key to both reflexology and acupressure is the concept of chi, the vital life force energy flowing throughout the body. Indeed, in Chinese medicine, practitioners seek to balance and harmonize the body to ensure an uninterrupted flow of chi. This is the foundation of the Chinese healing arts. Hands on Healing, by the Editors of Prevention Magazine, describes the human body as “a network of highways and byways called meridians. These meridians weave through every one of the body’s vital organs, the bloodstream, …the bones and through the muscles. Along these roads travel not cars and trucks but chi.” Illness occurs when chi is blocked in the organs or along these meridians. According to Hands on Healing, “with the touch of the fingers [acupressurists] can influence the flow of chi, and most important break up the traffic jams that can rob one of vitality and good health.” Theory aside, the important thing is that acupressure and reflexology work and are easy to learn.

What is the difference between Reflexology and Acupressure?

The main difference between the two is in theory and technique, but for all practical purposes they can be used together for relief of pain, associated anxiety and depression as well as other physical, mental and emotional conditions or dysfunction.

In reflexology, pressure is applied with the fingers and thumbs to specific points on the feet, ears, or hands. These points correspond to different parts of the body such as the back, various muscle groups, and internal organs.

Acupressure is an ancient healing technique, in which finger or thumb pressure is placed on specific points on the body. Acupressure is similar in principle to acupuncture, in which needles are inserted. The main distinction between reflexology and acupressure is that in acupressure points all over the body are activated, whereas in reflexology, these points are largely limited to the ears, feet, and hands.

What does Reflexology do?

Reflexology can relieve tension and promote relaxation. Medical studies show that over 75% of all health problems can be linked to tension and stress. Our modern lifestyles not only cause a great deal of this stress, but also do nothing to relieve it. In ancient times, we had stress of a different nature, and due to the ancient lifestyle, were able to naturally treat tension and stress without even realizing it.

How does it work?

There are many theories about how Reflexology works, but the most commonly held belief is that Reflexology acts to relax those reflexes that in turn are connected to various parts of the body, improving lymphatic drainage and circulation as well as relaxing muscles and stimulating nerve connections. Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique, and while research clearly indicates that Reflexology benefits patients health in both chronic and other ailments, it is not a substitute for medical treatment, and should be considered as complementary to any type of medical treatment. Extensive research on reflexology has validated the effectiveness of Reflexology.

What does a reflexologist do in a session?

A reflexologist aims to provide a healing “environment” for a client. Prior to the session, the client’s medical history is discussed. After an inspection of the feet and hands, the reflexologist will individually stimulate each foot and/or each hand. The bottom, top and sides of the feet and/or hands receive a thorough massage. By taking into account the needs of a client, a reflexologist will vary the amounts of pressure on different areas of the foot and hand. Cream is applied to the feet at the end of the reflexology session. The entire process requires approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Is Reflexology new?

Although recently becoming much more popular and accepted in Western society, Reflexology has been practiced for thousands of years by Egyptians, Native American cultures and Mayan and Incan civilizations. It is widely accepted in many European countries as an accepted therapy. Modern Reflexology has its origins in the late 1930’s, thanks to Eunice Ingham.

Is Reflexology the same as Massage, Acupuncture, Acupressure or Shiatsu?

Reflexology is not the same as massage, which involves tissue and muscle therapy to promote relaxation. Acupuncture, Acupressure and Shiatsu are similar in some respects to reflexology in their use of reflexes or meridians of the body as they relate to the gland, organs and parts of the body, however Reflexology focuses on relaxation of those reflexes through manipulation to reduce stress and tension. The other therapies are based on the belief that ‘Chi’ or energy flows through the meridians and that the therapy improves the flow of ‘Chi’ by reducing or eliminating blockages.

What are the benefits of Reflexology?

Reflexology primarily eases stress and tension, which in turn can improve blood circulation, lymph drainage, assist in the elimination of toxins, and strengthening of the immune system. It enables the body’s natural healing processes to promote wellness. Read more on the benefits of reflexology here.

Who can receive reflexology sessions?

Anyone can benefit from reflexology, including children, the elderly and the sick. Reflexology is safe and drug-free, so any person can begin reflexology sessions as soon as they wish.

Can Reflexology make a condition worse?

No. Reflexology is a non-invasive natural therapy that relaxes the body and is essentially harmless. On rare occasions, release of toxins as a result of the body’s natural healing process may result in symptoms such as perspiration, nausea or headaches, however these symptoms are not directly related to Reflexology, and are temporary and not serious.

Can I have reflexology if I have a verruca, or corns?

Verrucas are generally considered to be contagious, so for hygiene reasons they should be treated before you can have reflexology, corns are best removed before a treatment as they can get in the way, but you can have a treatment with corns.

How can reflexology help my sinus problem, when you’re treating my feet, and my sinus is in my head?

Reflexology acts on nerve endings in the feet relating to the whole body, by applying pressure to the sinus reflex in the feet we are relieving the symptoms of sinus in the head.

Do you have to be ill to have reflexology?

No, reflexology is used to maintain good health as well as treat ill health.

Can I give myself reflexology treatments?

YES, definitely! That is one of the coolest things about reflexology, it is easy to learn and you can be just as effective using it on yourself as a professional reflexologist treatment. Browse through this site to see the various books, tools and charts we have to help you learn this powerful healing technique.

Are there specific sessions for different types of clients?

Generally, a reflexologist will administer lighter and shorter sessions on seniors, pregnant women, the sick and children. However, it is recommended that these same types of clients receive reflexology more frequently.

How can I become a Reflexologist?

The regulations regarding practicing Reflexology vary from country to country and within countries can also vary by state or province. In some cases municipal or city licenses may be required to practice natural health care. The best way to investigate becoming a Reflexologist is to contact your closest Reflexology Association. The amount of classroom and practical training as well as written examinations also varies greatly. although Reflexology Associations are striving to ensure that all practitioners are well trained and certified in most regions. Using a well trained Reflexologist who is certified by an accredited school and/or Association is recommended.

Is reflexology a good career?

Reflexology is quickly gaining in world-wide recognition as an excellent way towards providing and maintaining health care for all ages. A good reflexologist has sensitive and strong hands. Personal cleanliness and a professional outlook are important. For those who choose self-employment, good business sense is essential. Remember, it takes time and persistence to develop professional skills and a successful practice. This profession is best suited to those who are committed to helping people, and who are able to sustain a challenging work routine.

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Originally posted 2006-04-09 16:05:16.

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