One of the many popular holistic healing techniques is the practice of reflexology.
Many people in Western society either have never heard of reflexology or are not quite sure what it is. Those who have heard about this practice either love it or are skeptical about it. Skepticism however usually comes from having a closed mind or not actually knowing enough about the item in question in the first place.
That is why in this article I want to introduce you to and explain to you this amazing ancient healing practice that is a noninvasive and pleasant way to treat almost any health condition. On top of that, I would like to also explain to you how reflexology can actually prevent many health conditions from precipitating in the first place.
So why am I so optimistic and sure about this? Well aside from the fact that I take holistic health very seriously and believe in ancient healing practices wholeheartedly, most importantly, I have recently tried reflexology myself. What I can tell you immediately just from that one occurrence, is that it is an amazing experience for the body, mind and spirit.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is the practice of working on the pressure points on the hands, feet or even ears. It is sort of like a foot or hand massage, most often however performed on the feet. The big difference is that when the pressure points are activated there may be slight to moderate pain involved if there is a weakness or problem in that area.
Reflexology is based on the fact that the soles of our feet and the palms of our hands are like maps to our bodies. They mirror the major organs and areas of our bodies. Hence when these areas are activated, the reflexologist can sense if there is something wrong in those areas and can bring healing specifically to those parts.
Reflexology is also heavily based on the belief that our body and hence all life is based on energy – or Qi. When that energy gets out of balance problems arise. Hence a reflexologist can realign energy or unblock blocked energy channels and thus alleviate the problems that energy was causing.
All of this is again done by touching, massaging or squeezing various areas of the hands or feet to activate those zones by pressure.
Hence, reflexology may also be called zone therapy, as there are “zones” on our soles and palms that correspond to our body areas. This is also how acupuncture and acupressure originated.
History of Reflexology
Reflexology dates back to ancient times. Some texts offer proof for reflexology back to 2000 BC, while others even go as far back as 5000BC.
Evidence of reflexology has been documented on four continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America.
During the past 100 years reflexology has formally been introduced to the Western World, but was unfortunately not welcomed with open arms. Many people in our society today are so bent on scientific proof, that they sometimes disregard the experience of the wise and ancient cultures that have been healing themselves successfully for thousands of years.
During the early 1900′s, reflexology was brought to North America formally by Dr William Fitzgerald. He is referred to as the ‘Father of reflexology’, as he was the first physician to practice reflexology techniques in the US. He practiced medicine in Europe before becoming head physician at the Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in Connecticut. He was the first also to coin the term “zone therapy”.
Thus in the 21st century, more people are flocking to the practice of reflexology and even Western medicine and science is starting to widely acknowledge its benefits.
For a detailed and concise history of reflexology, check out HolisticLocal.
Science of Reflexology
Reflexology is a well respected and governed body. All reflexologists must be formally trained and certified. What one can be skeptical of is any reflexologist who has no formal or recognized accreditation.
Proper reflexology sessions last 45 – 60 minutes and for best results it is always a good idea to research the experience and expertise of a reflexologist before going in for an appointment. Personally, I find that word of mouth works best as people you know can directly tell you the pros and cons or what to expect and why from a particular session or person.
Reflexology today is starting to get taken so seriously in fact, that some Canadian reflexologists may soon be able to formally diagnose their patients, upon completion of specific testing.
In terms of scientific studies, some exist, but science in this area is still very new as most of the Western science community has been stubborn to take and accept Eastern healing practices seriously. Several studies have proven reflexology effective in treating various conditions. For these studies see reflexologyresearch.net, where Bill Flocco has documented over 300 studies, which you can find here.
The thing I have to warn you about, is that if you are hooked on having scientific proof for everything in your daily life, then reflexology perhaps may not be for you, as you will not find the research sufficient and may go in with a resistant mind, hence finding yourself disappointed.
Hence people in our population who still do not understand or accept, that at the essence of our being we are composed of energy, will most likely not only be skeptical of reflexology, but reject it entirely. Thus, unless you have first understood and accepted those principles from quantum physics, you may find everything else that deals with the body and energy skeptical as this has not been the mainstream practice in the Western World yet.
It is just now that we are in a new era of consciousness, and thus understanding the true potential of the human mind and how energy plays a role in all that, including health and disease.
What I did find funny when I looked around on the Internet and wanted to read up more about this practice was the few groups of people who are actually rejecting reflexology and back lashing it as some New Age stuff. All I have to say is how sad. How sad that fear of the unknown drives people to put down their true essence. These are the same people that will go on pills and go through surgeries, but not consider letting the body heal itself. But anyway I will not dwell anymore on that here, as this article is aimed at people who are interested in expanding their own potential and healing abilities.
Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology is not only able to heal many health conditions, but it is also able to warn the patient about possible future conditions and thus help prevent certain conditions from manifesting altogether.
Reflexology is often used for:
- Back and chronic pain
- Sinus, ear and throat health
- Boosting the Immune System
- Heart health including circulation and blood pressure
- Arthritis and Fibromyalgia
- Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis
- Improving Fertility as well as menstrual complications
- Proper organ function
- Addressing nutritional deficiencies
- Cleansing the body of toxins
- Enhancing the body’s natural healing process
- Increasing energy flow
- Regular Health Improvement or Preventative Health Checkup
There are many more health conditions that reflexology can address. The success of this healing really depends on how open the patient is to receiving it and the quality of the reflexologist performing it.
Personal Experience with Reflexology
My first session with reflexology was absolutely amazing! I know that there is a three-part reason for that:
- I went in with an open mind
- I was referred to an amazing reflexologist
- I believe in the holistic approach to the body and how it constantly communicates with us and can heal itself too, given the right natural support
I went for a foot reflexology session, which is the most powerful form of reflexology. All that a person is asked to do is get comfortable in some kind of a reclining chair and remove their shoes and socks.
The reflexologist will first disinfect your feet and cover one as they work on the other. The treatment begins with the right foot as this is where problems may start. The left foot is an indicator usually of problems that are in place.
The reflexologist will gently massage the particular areas, being sure to hit all of the key points on the soles of the feet, as well the sides of the ankles and even calves.
The part of the reflexology that really awed me, was how much detail the reflexologist told me about my health and body – not knowing me or my health history previously in any way. Even though I consider myself to be in perfect health and an individual of very low stress, I still wanted to go to get a general “checkup” of what perhaps I may not yet be aware of or if there is an area of weakness I should pay attention to.
Just to give you an idea of the level of detail that the reflexologist knew about me just from my feet is as follows:
- that my left eye is weaker than my right eye
- that I fell on my back and had a tiny tail bone injury when I was a child
- that I do not drink enough water (yes this is my area of improvement)
- that I may be prone to my sciatic nerve acting up if I do not take my sitting posture seriously (oh all that laptop writing for Evolving Wellness ;)
- that my immune system is on high alert, even though I am not getting any infections (makes sense as I work with youths, in a high population area)
- that I did not sleep right the night before
- that I had a slight pressure in my head the week before
I mean I don’t know about you, but even if I was the biggest skeptic, that information was bound to blow me away. She knew I was in perfect health otherwise and really commented well on each of my organs. If I wasn’t so understanding and accepting of the body’s energy fields and people’s gift of healing and ability to read and feel them, I would have probably said she must have been a natural intuitive.
No, but seriously aside from the amazing precision of detail about my past, current and possible future health, it was an amazingly unwinding experience. I just felt myself melting away. Oh and I cannot even begin to describe to you what I felt when I stood up. It was literally as if I did not weigh a thing. It was just a great experience as I said, not only for the body, but for the mind and spirit too. I just love the holistic approach to health!
How about the next few days? Well I did not suffer from any after-effects of reflexology, which although may sound scary, really aren’t. Basically depending on how out of alignment your body energy is, how toxin filled your body is, etc., you may experience slight symptoms all of which are your body’s way of realigning back to balance. What I did experience for the next few days, was an unmistakable increased amount of energy from morning to night – it was quite awesome to say the least!
So will I be going again? You bet! I loved the experience and hope to continue it at least every few months for realignment of my energy and just as a general preventative measure for optimal health.
Oh and in case you are wondering about the cost. Canadian reflexologists charge anywhere from $45 to $65, for roughly a 60 minute session. Some insurance companies will cover this, but even if yours doesn’t I would highly recommend this as a gift for yourself or a pampering session – even better than a message!
I realize that not everyone may have had or will have such a positive experience as I had. You may walk in with the best intentions, but if the reflexologist really does not almost have a “gift” for this, it may not turn out to be any kind of life altering experience. That is why I keep mentioning how important the right reflexologist is. I have no doubt that the reflexologist I saw, Terri, truly was born to be and is a natural healer. We each possess different gifts with which to go through life and I have no doubt that being a healer in the area of reflexology and energy is hers.
Thus in conclusion, remember that according to natural and holistic health, our bodies have the ability to heal themselves, given the right support. This mainly includes the right diet, mind set, exercise and holistic healing.
Holistic healing practices such as reflexology thus give our bodies that natural and right support to come back into a balanced alignment of well-being.
That is why even if you are not keen on prevention, if something should happen to go wrong in your body, why not give reflexology a try. It may save you from pills, tests and other invasive treatments.
Just remember to research a reputable reflexologist in your area AND walk in with an open mind. Leave the rest to your body – it always knows what to do when given the right support!