WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is a complementary and holistic therapy based on the principle that there are reflexes on the feet which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. These reflex points respond to pressure which in turn stimulates the body’s own natural healing process. Reflexology creates physiological, chemical and emotional changes throughout the body allowing it to re-establish energy flow, clear blockages and re-balance itself naturally.
THE HISTORY OF REFLEXOLOGY
Much research has been done down through the years to show the effectiveness and benefits of reflexology. The therapy was developed by Eunice Ingham in the mid-to-late twentieth century. She was born in South Dakota, USA in 1889 and worked as a physiotherapist. She spent many hours probing the feet and equating them to the anatomy of the body. She became fascinated by the work of a colleague, Dr. William Fitzgerald who had published a book on the subject of Zone Therapy. He worked on the basis that each zone passed through several organs and pressure at one point of the zone would cause a reflex action in another part of the zone thus stimulating muscle contraction or relaxation. Eunice developed this further by researching and developing the zone therapy findings and in 1938, published her first book called “Stories The Feet Can Tell” which very quickly spread the word about the benefits of reflexology. Eunice’s lifelong goal was “To help mankind as much as we are able, whenever possible and wherever we might be”. This is my personal mantra too as I believe that we have been put on this earth to be of service and help to others.The principles behind reflexology though, in the massaging of feet and treating the body holistically, date back thousands of years. The tomb of Ankhmahor in Egypt was found in 1897 and it is thought to date back to around 2330 BC. Ankhmahor was a physician and on the wall of his tomb there are a series of pictures showing two people where one is giving a foot massage. Feet have also been very important to the native Americans for whom massaging the feet was considered a method of maintaining, physical, mental and spiritual balance. The Chinese also used the therapy of acupressure, where they would use thumb or finger pressure on acupoints as a healing therapy for over 5000 years. There has also been evidence of reflexology practice in Europe from around the fourteenth century. Doreen Bayly was credited with introducing reflexology to England and Ireland in 1966. She had studied with Eunice Ingham in America and on her return set up the Bayly School of Reflexology. She is considered by many to be the pioneer of reflexology in this part of the world. Her book, ‘Reflexology Today’ The Stimulation of the Body’s Healing Forces Through Foot Massage’ is considered a must read for all students of reflexology.
BENEFITS OF REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology is suitable for all ages and can bring relief from a wide range of acute and chronic conditions including: Asthma : Back Pain : Bladder/Kidney stones : Constipation : Diabetes : Digestive Disorders : Emotional Disorders : Fatigue : Fibromyalgia : Hormonal Imbalances : Insomnia : Lymphatic drainage problems : Menstrual Problems : Musculoskeletal pain : M.S : Migraines : Neck and Shoulder pain : Pain relief : Respiratory disorders : Sports and general injuries.Reflexology also helps with; Maternity (to ease pregnancy, delivery and post natal ailments) : Fertility : Cancer Care : Mental Health and Stress relief.All in all, reflexology has been proven to be effective and beneficial in so many ways. It reduces stress to induce relaxation. It improves circulation. It assists the body in cleansing out toxins and impurities, which is a major cause of disease. It balances the whole body, mentally, physically and spiritually. It revitalises energy. It improves blood and nerve supply to the muscles, relaxes muscle spasms and tensions and promotes good muscle tone through nerve stimulation.
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