Where does reflexology come from?
With origins in ancient China, Egypt and even North America, reflexology is a complementary ‘healing’ treatment therapy thought to be first used over 4,000 years ago. Although, there are references to many historical civilizations working on the feet, hands and ears, an early Egyptian tomb drawing found depicts what a modern day reflexology session looks like. With hieroglyphics that read ‘Please do not hurt me.’ and a reply ‘I shall act so you shall praise me.’ even then reflexologists believed that every part of your body reflects in your feet and positive well-being and balance can be promoted and achieved with this amazing modality.
Originally based on Zone Theory and then Zone Therapy, the hypothesis that the body can be divided into horizontal and longitudinal sections on the soles of the feet with each organ, body part and system mapped accordingly, was formed. It was also discovered that the same can be applied to the palms of the hands and each ear.
These reflexes act as a mirror image of the body and, when stimulated with gentle pressure point massage techniques, brings about restored balance and healing to the corresponding area as well as overall relaxation.
As a non-invasive treatment, reflexologists work holistically with their clients with the aim of promoting a better health and life. We do not make any medical claims, claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe from a reflexology session but we will share with you any findings of physical or non-physical factors that may be having an adverse affect on your wellbeing.
Is Reflexology suitable for me?
Reflexology is a wonderful relaxing therapy that can be received by anyone at any age from newborn babies to anyone receiving end of life care and everyone in between. However, there are occasions when it is not recommended or suitable. Your reflexologist will use their expertise and skilled knowledge to guide you with the best advice in this case. While reflexology is an extremely safe practice, there are a few contra-indications (as with any therapy or treatment sought) you must be aware of.
These would include:
FOOT INJURIES – More than often a reflexology treatment is performed on the feet. Clients with foot fractures, unhealed wounds, or active gout in the foot should avoid reflexology. Those with osteoarthritis that impacts the foot or ankle, or those with vascular disease of the legs or feet, should consult with their GP or primary provider prior to beginning reflexology on the feet.
PREGNANCY – For women in early pregnancy (the first 6 weeks), the reflexology session is altered by treating the uterine and ovarian reflex points more gently or by avoiding them altogether. In some cases, it may be decided that any expectant mother in her first or last trimester may not be able to receive a reflexology treatment due to the risk of miscarriage or implications that may cause early contractions and premature birth. In general, caution should always be exercised during pregnancy.
BLOOD CLOTTING ISSUES – Clients who report current thrombosis or embolism should not receive reflexology therapy. Since reflexology improves circulation, it could potentially cause a clot to move towards the heart or brain.
OPEN WOUNDS – In general, reflexologists will stay away from open wounds due to the risk of infection and cross contamination and may choose to wear plastic gloves or not to treat areas that are compromised or at all.
OTHER – foot ulcers, fungal infections, thyroid problems, epilepsy, circulatory problems of the feet, low platelet count or other blood related issues.
The benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology is linked to many potential benefits, but only a few of them have been scientifically evaluated.
Many people enjoying reflexology have reported that it has helped with the following:
reducing stress and anxiety
reducing pain, alleviating migraines and headaches
lifting mood and depression
improving sleep and mental focus
improving general wellbeing
boosting their immune system
fighting cancer or assisting with oncology treatment/therapy
fighting colds and bacterial infections
sinus problems and congestion, asthma/breathing difficulties
back problems, sports injuries, muscle strain
hormonal imbalances, pre-menstrual tension, menopause symptoms
improving digestion and poor circulatory
easing arthritic pain
treating general nerve problems and numbness and that experienced from the use of cancer drugs (peripheral neuropathy)
What to expect from Reflexology?
With each visit to The Secret Therapist, your reflexologist will chat with you about your general health and lifestyle. You will be asked to complete a general medical/health questionnaire before your treatment begins if visiting us for the first time. You will then be asked to cosy up and relax on a warm, comfortable treatment bed. There is no need to remove any clothing apart from shoes and socks/stockings or outer layers but, depending on what other treatments you might be receiving at the same time, you may want or be advised to. As long as your reflexologist can get to your naked feet and ankles and that you are comfortable throughout your treatment is all that’s expected.
Reflexology is not a foot massage. Your reflexologist may massage your feet a little at the beginning of your treatment to relax you before they start, but the technique itself is about applying a comfortably firm pressure to the reflex points on the foot. If you are ticklish or sensitive to the touch, the right amount of pressure will be found and administered. At The Secret Therapist we treat you to a lovely hot mitt deodourising foot cleanse and spritz with a refreshing foot lotion or aromatic oil too.
A reflexology treatment session usually lasts about an hour. A lot can be achieved from a single visit but it is always advisable when receiving reflexology for a specific reason to have regular weekly sessions for about 4 to 6 weeks. Even once a month, at least, whatever suits your schedule and the results you hope for.
At the end of your reflexology treatment
You may feel very relaxed or sleepy when it’s all over. Some clients even fall asleep during their treatment. Some feel invigorated and energised. Some people may experience an emotional release or feel a little teary after treatment. This is all quite normal but reflective of what is going on with you uniquely at the time. Your reaction is not predictable and can differ each session. Whatever transpires, it is the likelihood you will feel much better afterwards than when you did before your reflexology treatment. As with other treatment modalities, it’s better to arrange your reflexology treatment during a day or time where there aren’t too many demands on you afterwards so you can continue to enjoy and reap the benefits of the therapy. Be sure to drink plenty of water, stay hydrated and rest as much as possible and, ultimately, look forward to your next reflexology session.