What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a complementary therapy that works on the principle that there are reflex zones on the feet, hands and ears relating to all parts of the body such as the glands and organs of the body. Stimulating these reflexes correctly can assist well-being in a safe and natural way.
Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology can help prevent every day stresses and strains, promoting relaxation and circulation - revitalising energy levels and reducing pain. It can also be used to facilitate restoration and maintenance of the body’s natural equilibrium, encouraging natural feelings of wellness.
Reflexology can be incorporated with preventative healthcare intervention which is continually becoming important in today’s modern life as we become more aware of the damage caused to health by our environment.
How it works
The theory of reflexology is suggested to work with the central nervous system due to a neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. According to this theory when systematic pressure is applied by the reflexologist to specific reflex points on the feet, hands or ears the nervous system adjusts to the stimuli. The stimuli is suggested to send calming messages from the peripheral nerves being stimulated by the various reflex points to the central nervous system to adjust levels of tension – releasing congestion and feelings of balance and well-being.
What it involves
The reflexologist uses palms, fingers, thumbs, with massage oil or lotion to stimulate the appropriate reflex points that provide a map of the whole body and organs (see Foot Reflexology Chart). The treatment also involves, joint mobilisations, gentle rhythmic rocking, compression, acupressure and massage to enhance the stimulation of appropriate reflex points being treated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Please also see patient information.
Is Reflexology safe?
Yes. Certified practitioners trained in Reflexology have the knowledge and skills to work with people of all ages, from new-born babies to the elderly, including the provision of professional reflexology during pregnancy, chemotherapy and palliative care.
Is Reflexology painful?
Reflexology can be extremely relaxing, however if there is a part of the body that is unbalanced, the corresponding reflex point may feel sore or tender whilst the practitioner works to rebalance the area. If at any time you find the treatment painful, please tell your Practitioner, as it is important that they work within your comfort-zone.
Is Reflexology ticklish?
No. The way in which a professional Reflexologist holds and works the feet is with a firm pressure which is not at all ticklish.
Will a Reflexologist remove hard skin and cut my nails too?
No. Unless the Practitioner also holds a professional Chiropody qualification, they will not be permitted to carry out any such work.
Do Reflexologists have to be registered in order to practice?
No. Currently in the UK, there is no regulation of Reflexologists. This means that the standard of work varies considerably. We recommend that you choose a practitioner who holds the letters IIR, MAR. This means that they have graduated from the International Institute of Reflexology and are a Member of the Association of Reflexologists. If they are a member of the Association of Reflexologists, they will have met a strict entry criteria and will be insured and hold a First Aid Certificate. They will also be committed to regular post-graduate training to keep their skills up to date.
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H. Head, (1893) On the disturbances of sensation, with special references to the pain of visceral disease. Brain. 16:1-133; 1894, 17: 339-480; 1896, 19: 153-276.
Stephenson, N. L. N., Swanson, M., Dalton, J., Keefe, F. J., & Engelke, M. (2007). Partner-Delivered Reflexology: Effects on Cancer Pain and Anxiety. Oncology Nursing Forum, 34(1), 127-132.