Did you know that elephants use their feet to hear? Even with those enormous ears – they pick up vibrations of the earth through their soles!

Our feet work hard day after day, and we usually don’t give them a second thought until they start complaining. As humans, our feet mirror our general health, so conditions like arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders; can show their initial symptoms in your feet. It is believed that certain areas on the feet and hands are linked to other areas and organs of the body. The concept of “zone therapy” was furthered by American physiotherapist Eunice Ingham in the 1930s, into what is known today as reflexology.

If you are reading this article, you’re probably at the end of your tether when it comes to pain. Reflexology is one of the most popular of all alternative therapies and treats a wide variety of conditions. Want to know more?

What is reflexology and is it painful?
The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet that correspond to specific organs or parts of the body. For example:
• The tips of the toes reflect the head.
• The heart and the chest are around the ball of the foot.
• The liver, pancreas and kidneys are in the arch of the foot.
• Lower back and intestines are towards the heel.

There are more than 7000 nerve endings in the human foot, and by targeting these nerve endings, the reflexologist can assist the flow of energy through the body to the areas affected by illness or stress.

Medical or clinical reflexology is where specific thumb, finger and hand techniques are used – mostly with deep pressure – on the various congested reflex areas. This holistic approach will optimize blood, lymph and nerve flow to a specific area, thus minimizing pain as well as muscle tension and facilitating the body’s natural healing and detoxifying process.

Reflexology will often hurt when the congested reflex areas are treated and in no way resembles a foot massage. As the condition improves with several reflexology sessions, so will the soreness on the corresponding reflexes. Pain on a specific reflex is always brief and only lasts as long as the reflexologist is applying pressure. Pain is always kept at bearable levels. The well-trained reflexologist will adapt his pressure to the pain levels of the patient. He will also teach the patient deep breathing techniques (deep breathing releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killer) in order to reduce the pain sensation.

What are the benefits?
This treatment is used for a variety of ailments. Not only is it beneficial as a tool for relaxation and stress relief, but is also effective in improving circulation, relieving pain, and acts as an immune and nervous system stimulator.
Many people with illnesses such as allergies, chronic sinus problems, migraines, anxiety, depression, back pain, headaches, arthritis, digestion problems, insomnia, asthma, PMS and period pain - to name but a few - have been helped tremendously by reflexology treatments.
Most people describe a profound sense of relaxation and increased energy following their session.

What reflexology and reflexologists are not
Although reflexology is proven to be beneficial for a multitude of problems, your reflexologist cannot diagnose or claim to cure any disease. They are not medically trained. Reflexology can help to restore balance and coax your body into healing itself.

Reflexology is recommended as a complimentary therapy and should not replace medical treatment. Seek advice from your medical practitioner before making your reflexology appointment.

Source: www.reflexologyforbackpain.com, www.wellbeingescapes.com, www.takingcharge.chs.umn.edu, beforeitsnews.com, altmedicine.about.com, breathetherapy.co.uk

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.