Over the coming weeks, we will be adding blogs about all of the holistic therapies offered here at The Secret Space. First off, we have a little more information about reflexology.
What Is It?
Reflexology is based on the principle that reflexes in the feet and hands correspond to each organ/structure in the body, and are linked to these by energy channels, zones or meridians.
Reflexology is a pressure technique applied using the thumbs and fingers on these reflex areas. When illness, pain or disease occurs, the corresponding energy channels become blocked.
Reflexology works to balance/unblock the energy flow and induces relaxation. It can help improve circulation, boost effective functioning of the immune system and encourage relief of stress and tension, thus helping to bring all the systems of the body in to balance.
A Short History
There is evidence that therapies involving stimulation/massage/manipulation of the feet and hands
were being used as far back in history as 4000BC in China, Egypt and other Ancient cultures.
Modern reflexology has its roots in zone therapy; linked with Dr William Fitzgerald (1872-1942). This theory states that the body can be divided into ten longitudinal zones, five on each side of the body, and that applying pressure to certain points within these zones produced an anaesthetic effect on other parts of the body.
Sir Henry Head (1861-1940) produced research regarding the principle of dermatomes, which stated that a dermatome is an area of skin supplied by nerves from one spinal root, and that loss of sensation in a particular area of skin corresponded with a problem with the nerve root it was linked to. He showed the correlation between diseased parts of the body and parts of the body that were sensitive when pressure was applied. He found that healing processes could be encouraged by massaging painful areas.
Sir Charles Sherrington (1861-1952) was a Nobel prize winner for his work “The Integrative Action of the Nervous System”. His research included showing that nerves transmit signals around the body, and that they control/co-ordinate body functions. He indicated that the brain, spinal cord and reflex pathways controlled bodily activity.
Dr William Fitzgerald investigated the application of pressure to specific sites to produce a pain relieving effect on other parts of the body. His theory was of ten vertical zones of the body that ran from the head to either the toes or fingers. He and his student, Dr Joe Shelby Riley, came up with a detailed diagram of the feet. Eunice Ingham (1889-1974) was Dr Riley’s assistant. She further developed the zone therapy Fitzgerald/Riley had discovered. She concentrated on working on the feet, inventing the Ingham Method and the term “reflexology”. She mapped out more detailed diagrams of the feet, in terms of which parts of the body was linked to which areas on the feet. She found that congestion/sensitivity in a reflex area on the feet corresponded to congestion/tension in the part of the body linked with that reflex. She is deemed the mother of reflexology.
What To Expect
Upon arrival you will be asked to fill out a confidential consultation form, then the therapist will escort you to the treatment room. The only clothing that will be removed is shoes and socks. Generally you will be treated in a reclining chair. Music and lighting will be adjusted to your liking, and you will get a choice of oils. Treatment begins with a few relaxation techniques applied to both feet, and then reflexology is performed first on the right foot, and then on the left, followed by a few closing movements on each foot. After treatment, you will be given a glass of water, any relevant feedback, and an aftercare sheet.
Reflexology uses a holistic approach to health which means it treats the whole person, rather than just the symptoms. The holistic approach assures that all areas of compensation, stress and tension that may be present throughout the physical (and emotional) body are treated as well as the presenting symptom patterns. Potential benefits include deep relaxation, release of tension throughout the entire system, improved sleep, improved mood and an increased sense of well being.
Does it tickle?
No. Quite a firm touch is used and it is very uncommon for people to find the sensation ticklish.
Are there any times reflexology is not suitable?
Most conditions can be worked around. Anything contagious or infectious such as Athlete’s Foot is contraindicative to treatment, however in such cases, treatment could be given on the hands rather than the feet. If suffering with thrombosis/DVT then treatment is not advised, however once the condition is stabilised, then reflexology can go ahead with caution. Things like verrucae can be covered and worked around.
What should I do after treatment?
Relax! Listen to your body. Drink some water to support the body physically. Every person is unique and so is their reaction to treatment. Reflexology tends to bring you more into awareness, and so you may find you feel thirsty, or hungry for certain foods, or feel tired. Some people feel energised or recharged after treatment. It tends to be that the client will get whatever it is they themselves need from the session. Reflexology works with the body as a whole being, and facilitates the body to function at it’s best.
Our reflexologist Claire is available to treat most days of the week, including weekend and evening appointments. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or go here to book online: Book a treatment. Or you can contact Claire directly on 07564 905164.