The basic theory behind modern reflexology states that there are specific areas, or 'reflex' points, on the hands, feet, lower leg, ears and face that mirror the internal organs and major structures of the body. The feet especially, contain a large number of nerve endings which are linked to major parts of the body and as the therapist applies specific pressures to the reflex points, an improved physical and emotional wellbeing can be achieved. Additionally by enhancing blood circulation it is also believed that the body is stimulated to rebalance itself. As the woman fondly known as the 'Mother of Modern Reflexology', Eunice Ingham wrote, “reflexology is a means of equalling the circulation. We all know circulation is life. Stagnation is death. Everything around us that is alive is in motion”, from her seminal 1938 book, 'Stories that the Feet Can Tell'. It is now widely accepted that reflexology may assist the body in several ways including; improving our sense of wellbeing, mood improvement, promoting a release of tension, aiding sleep and initiating a deep state of relaxation.
Many people look to reflexology after suffering with various ailments for a long time and wanting to try a new approach, some people swear by complementary therapies and use them successfully to support themselves with many aspects of their lives. Others just enjoy the quiet relaxation and inner peace that reflexology can bring them; this can be especially beneficial during transitional periods in our lives, for example when facing fertility issues, wedding planning, becoming a new parent, divorce, bereavement or in times of heightened anxiety, depression and fatigue. Everyone is wonderfully different though and therefore it is not possible to know exactly what benefits reflexology may bring you. The Association of Reflexologists state that 'many people may sleep better, and notice a feeling of improved mood and general wellbeing', and yes, many people also report that they have a particular condition which has been greatly aided by regular reflexology sessions.
However, it is always important to remember that reflexology does not seek to diagnose, prescribe or cure. Indeed those receiving reflexology are typically known as 'clients' rather than patients, as they usually sit outside (though not exclusively) the medical profession. Reflexology though is a wonderfully non-intrusive complementary therapy which is suitable for young and old alike, literally from the cradle to the grave. It can work very well alongside allopathic medicine in many ways, but is not intended to replace it. If you are receiving medical treatment, we always state that you should not cease medication or allopathic treatment without the guidance of your doctor. At Hollytree Holistics we recommend that if you are receiving ongoing medical treatment (or have complex health needs) then it is beneficial to discuss reflexology with your doctor so that they have a clear idea of what other therapies you are having. In a small amount of cases reflexology may not be appropriate at a particular time in your life, examples include DVT, recent stroke or heart attack and during high risk pregnancies. However, it is often something that you can safely come back to when your condition has stabilised. Today there are also many specialist reflexologists who have had advanced training in specific conditions, and who can support your additional needs, for example many cancer care centres offer a range of complimentary therapies for patients, including reflexology for relaxation, or to help reduce anxiety, depression and nausea.