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Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. Stimulating these reflexes properly can help many help problems in a natural way, a type of preventative maintenance. Reflexology is a serious advance in the health field and should not be confused with a massage. The Ingham Method®of reflexology is used primarily for releasing tension. Doctors agree that over 75% of our health problems can be linked to nervous stress and tension. Reflexology improves nerve and blood supply, and helps nature to normalize.

Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hand with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques.. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands with a premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.

In a reflexology chart, the body is reflected on the feet or hands. It serves as a map for technique application to target health goals. Left foot or hand reflects the left side of the body and the right foot or hand the right side. The spine reflex area runs down the insides of the feet and hands with reflex areas for the arm and shoulder reflected toward the outside of the foot or hand. The toes and fingers mirror the head and neck as well as the parts of the body they encase. The ball of the foot mirrors the chest and upper back in addition the heart and lungs.

Halfway down the foot at the base of the long bones of the foot is represented the waistline of the body. The parts of the body above the waistline are mirrored above this line and those below are represented below it. Internal organs lying above the body’s waistline are reflected by reflex areas above this line while those below the waistline are mirrored below this line.

Around the world and throughout history reflexology has been rediscovered and reinstated as a health practice time and time again by people around the globe seeking to deal with health concerns. Archeological evidence in Egypt (2330 BCE), China (2704 BCE) and Japan (690 CE) points to ancient reflexology medical systems. In the West the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century, based on research into the nervous system and reflex. While no direct evidence of direct cross-fertilization from ancient times has been discovered, the practice of foot and hand work in a variety of cultures, belief systems and historical periods speaks to reflexology for health as a universal bridging concept. This whole body treatment was first introduced in the West by Dr. William Fitzgerald in 1913. At this time Dr. Fitzgerald was a medical professional, working as an ear, nose and throat specialist and surgeon. However, when working with patients’ feet, the doctor noted that when he applied pressure to specific parts, it sometimes affected another portion of the body in a positive way. Working from this newfound theory, Dr. Fitzgerald created his first reflexology chart. He divided the body into ten vertical zones. The zones traced reflexes on the hands and feet, and noted that when pressure was applied to these “zones” other areas and organs of the body responded.

Today, a reflexology therapist will still apply acupressure and massage to the ears, hands and feet within these same zones. The client is said to benefit from improved circulation, detoxification, reduced tension and the body’s ability to heal itself. The Association of Reflexologists claim that this treatment method can be effective for back pain, migraines, infertility, arthritis and many other problems.

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.

The benefits of reflexology include:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduction of Pain
  • Rejuvenation of tired feet
  • Improvement in blood flow
  • Enhancement of medical care (e.g. cancer, phantom limb pain, and hemodialysis patients)
  • Easier birthing/delivery/post-partum recovery

A few conditions for which the benefits of Reflexology can be realized are:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back problems
  • Blood pressure
  • Circulatory problems
  • Cognitive issues
  • Constipation and Digestive disorders
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Glandular and Endocrine Issues
  • Insomnia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Migraine headaches
  • Neuropathy
  • Joint and Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Sciatica
  • Sinus issues

According to some reflexologists, stimulating nerve endings in these extremities has an effect on the whole body’s nervous system, which promotes healing. Others take a more mystical approach, believing that “life energy” can be blocked or put into imbalance, and reflexology corrects this.

We all know that having our feet massaged feels good – especially after a hard day of work. A good feeling can lead to endorphin release and decreased stress.

Disclaimer: Reflexology is a unique modality in the health field. Its purpose is not to treat or diagnose for any specific medical disorder, but to promote better health and well being in the same way as an exercise or diet program. This document was created in order to share the information about the wonderful health benefits of Reflexology.

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