The treatment of reflexology is an ancient therapy that has existed for thousands of years. It is a natural healing art that involves using foot and hand massage-like techniques to help ease pain or cure illness.
The basic idea behind reflexology is that there are points on our feet, hands and ears that are connected by energy channels to organs and the rest of our body. Sometimes these channels become blocked which can lead to discomfort and poor health.
Through applying pressure and manipulation, reflexology helps energy to move through the body freely. It improves circulation as well as helps muscles and nerves to function better.
Reflexology was practiced in ancient China, Egypt and India. However, it didn't reach the West until the early 20th century where it was initially known as zone therapy. It uses the same principles as acupuncture and is a drug free way to address health problems. By focusing on the feet and hands as micro systems that reflect in miniature our entire body, it seeks to enhance our natural defence systems.
Practitioners use a map of the feet to demonstrate how certain points on the foot are specifically related to other parts of us. The right foot is connected to the right side of the body and the left foot to the left side. Each of our hands and feet contains over seven thousand nerve endings. By stimulating our nervous system, practitioners believe they can help our whole body to become reenergized. Relaxation results in improved blood and lymph flow through the body with a corresponding improvement in general overall health.
As a complementary or alternative medicine, the usefulness of this therapy is now recognised by the NHS and its popularity has grown enormously. There are currently over 13,000 practitioners in the UK.