Reflexology is an ancient healing therapy that can be traced back thousands of years to the Vedic Scriptures of India, the 3000 year old Chinese book, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back to 2300 BC, and it’s even said that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian introducing reflexology to Europe.
The concepts and theories of how Reflexology works are similar regardless of which culture or origin you look to. There are “Reflex Points” on the feet, hands and ears that correspond to various points within the body. When these points are pressed, “activated”, it affects responses in glands, organs, muscles and bones. It stimulates nerve impulse between the brain and the reflex points. It moves life energy, Prana or Qi, throughout the body. It increases alpha and theta wave activity in the brain helping the body to relax. It helps relieve pain, boosts the immune system and can speed the healing process.
Reflexology therapies should begin with the Reflexologist explaining the expectations of the session and inquiring about the patient’s medical history to verify reflexology is the most advisable treatment to recommend. They will encourage open communication to relate any sensations of pain or discomfort and ask questions regarding anything they may experience physically and emotionally. Reflexologist work with their patients to help ease stress and tension and treat symptoms they may be experiencing. They perform specific techniques to stimulate the reflex points in the hands, feet and/or ears. The knowledge and experience of the therapist certainly plays a part in the therapy, but the physiological responses whether you receive Ayurvedic, Chinese or Western style reflexology are the same. So why isn’t all reflexology the same?
Although it is true that all the physiological benefits will be same even if the patient sleeps during the entire session, the key to receiving maximum benefit is the communication between the therapist and the patient. A good reflexologist should be able to read your feet and hands. What the therapist sees and feels is like looking at the patient’s personal diary. The most effective Reflexologist will be able to communicate what they find in a way that helps the patient explore the connections between the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes. It is the conscientious awareness of what the patient is experiencing in life, how they are responding to those experiences and understanding the effects on the physical body that will result in faster and lasting therapeutic results.
Before scheduling Reflexology, be encouraged to ask questions. It is beneficial to feel comfortable when communicating with the reflexologist. If they are not forthcoming with information, or are dismissive of questions or concerns, this could be a “red flag” and you may be better served by seeking another Reflexologist.
If you are considering Reflexology or if you have received therapies in the past, remember, not all Reflexology is created equally.
Note: Your reflexologist should never attempt to diagnose and nothing shared in the therapy should be construed as diagnosis or medical advice. Additionally, the reflexologist may encourage you to seek medical attention.
Written by Earl Rigdon, licensed Reflexologist at Ayurbeauty Wellness Center