Well it’s my first ever blog and I thought I’d start right at the beginning and tell you what reflexology is and what to expect at a treatment. Reflexology is ancient! There are images of it that date back to 2330BC and the Chinese have been using the application of pressure as a healing therapy for over 5000 years. But let’s come forward in time…
In the early 1900’s Dr William Fitzgerald discovered that by applying pressure to certain parts of the hand it caused other parts of the body to be anaesthetised, he could then perform minor surgeries on those areas (think I’ll stick to the drugs). Doctors chatted and this knowledge ended up with a Eunice Ingram who then went on the develop what we know as reflexology.
The concept of reflexology is that by massaging and applying pressure to parts of the feet and/or hands known as reflex areas, other corresponding and connected areas of the body will feel the benefit. So basically we can map the bodies anatomy to the foot and help to heal areas of the body via the reflexes and zones on the foot (see image – shout out to www.omfeet.com). But you don’t need to know all of this to benefit and enjoy a reflexology session.
So why have reflexology?
Well we believe it helps to stimulate the body’s own healing process in order to keep it balanced. It activates both relaxation to help the body rebuild its energy resources and recover from illness and stimulation to activate the circulation and nervous system. It can be used for the relief of stress and tension and the restoration of health and balance within the body. When you relax your para-sympathetic nervous system kicks aka the rest and digest system, it allows your body to function well and relaxes muscles.
So hopefully the idea of restoring your body sold it to you, if so then here’s what to expect at a treatment.
What to expect at a treatment
Firstly, make sure you go to someone who is qualified (has a Diploma in Reflexology including Anatomy and Physiology) and registered with an association such as Complementary Therapists Association (CThA) or the Association of Reflexologists (AoR).
The first treatment will be longer as you will do a treatment plan. We need to find out about all of your aliments and what you would like from reflexology. Hopefully there will be a nice environment, comfortable, warm and smelling good! Once you’re in the chair with your socks off the therapist is likely to scan your feet for any nasties that might prevent you from having the treatment, we care about your well-being but not enough to get a fungus infection on our hands!! All being well you will have your feet cleaned and then either a wax, lotion or oil applied (or maybe nothing). It shouldn’t be ticklish, even if you are ticklish the pressure is enough to not cause you that sensation. Reflexology shouldn’t be painful (unless that’s your thing and you discuss that with the therapist) there is likely to be tender areas and to us that suggests there is a problem in that area of the body, it doesn’t mean you have some undiagnosed rare tropical incurable illness, it might just be tension and stress. Be open with your therapist about what pressure you like, I personally like very hard pressure and find light pressure not very relaxing.
I like to keep an open dialogue with my clients so we discuss tender areas and what that might be about, I also like to teach them techniques they can do on themselves at home. It’s important to remember a reflexologist cannot and will not diagnose illnesses.
When the treatment finishes you can often feel very spaced out and light. Some people have a burst of energy and some start to feel ill, this is all totally normal. If you feel ill it is what we call a healing crisis. The treatment has unlocked all the stress and tension your body has been holding on to, just go with it. I had a horrific healing crisis after an Indian head massage once, scared me so much I’m still yet to go back for another one!
You’ve survived it, now what…
Most reflexologists I have been to have told me to come back every week, that has usually put me off as it’s not cheap! So my advice to you is come as often as you want. I would rather someone gets some relaxation once a month than puts it off completely because the thought of coming weekly is too much.
So if you like what you’ve read and want to try it out for yourself give me a shout!
Om Feet Free Foot Reflexology Chart by Om Feet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.