What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary health therapy that can be effective in promoting deep relaxation and wellbeing. Helping to reduce stress in people’s lives.
Reflexology has been practised for over 5000 years.
The origins of Reflexology date back to around 2330 BC; being practised by the early Indian, Chinese and Egyptian people, and then introduced to the West by Dr William Fitzgerald who developed ‘Zone therapy’ in the early 1900s. He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.
In the 1930’s, Eunice Ingham further developed this zone therapy into what is known as Reflexology. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body.
Reflexology is now based on the principle that reflex points and zones on the soles, tops, and sides of the feet and ankles correspond to different areas of the body. In this way, the feet can be seen as a ‘map’ of the body.
By using specific techniques of holds and pressures to specific reflex points – using the thumbs and fingers working these reflex points or areas can help –
- Aid relaxation,
- Improve mood,
- Release tension,
- Enhance sleep
- and can generally help improve wellbeing; allowing us to cope better with the stresses that life can bring.
Some therapists may also work reflex points on the hands, ears and face; however, it is the feet that are most commonly treated in reflexology.
Reflexology is suitable for all ages and may bring relief from a wide range of acute and chronic conditions - Treating the whole person, not just symptoms.
Reflexology does not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe.
What should I expect?
Your therapist will start with a full (confidential) consultation, asking various questions about your health and lifestyle, to ensure reflexology is right for you.
For the treatment you will remain fully clothed, simply removing your shoes and socks. You’ll be invited to relax on a reclining chair or treatment couch, or to put your feet up on a footstool. The therapist may then gently wipe your feet before applying a reflexology balm, fine powder or cream to help provide a free-flowing treatment, and then start gently massaging and stretching your feet and ankles.
As the treatment progresses, a variety of different reflexology techniques will be used to ‘work’ the reflex points on each foot, including a caterpillar-like movement called ‘thumb walking’.
The areas treated and pressure applied will be adapted to suit your individual needs.
It should be relaxing for you and not painful or uncomfortable.
If there are any areas or reflex points ‘out of balance’ they may feel tender or a ‘gritty’ feeling under the skin – the therapist will adapt the pressure and techniques being used to suit you.
Treatment generally lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.
Reflexologists acknowledge that every person is unique, and some people find other things improve as well - the only way to know if reflexology will help you is to try it!
Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.
Ali Iles (MAR, MFHT) is a Reflexology & Massage Therapist based in Downend, Bristol BS16.
Offering Complementary Therapies to help bring relief from a wide range of acute and chronic conditions plus providing you with time for relaxation - relieving tension and helping to improve your sense of wellbeing and health.
A full member of ‘The Association of Reflexologists’ (AoR) and ‘Federation of Holistic Therapists’ (FHT) after qualifying in 2005 with the AoR accredited Reflexology Diploma.
The Association of Reflexologist
Delivering Excellence in Reflexology for Highly Qualified Reflexologists and Members of the Public since 1984
Offering the quality mark “MAR” to Full Members, the Association of Reflexologists (AoR) provides professional advice, support and guidance to Reflexologists and members of the public. The AoR was established in 1984 and is an independent and non-profit making organisation supporting members worldwide. Through regular consultation with industry bodies and advisory groups, they do their utmost to maintain high standards of practice within the industry and be at the forefront of expertise for our members.