Reflexology is both an ancient art and modern day science. From ancient texts, illustrations and artifacts, we know that many ancient cultures worked on the feet to promote healing. Although exactly how it works is still somewhat of a mystery, modern day reflexology is based on the zone or meridian theory. Another theory that makes sense to me is that there are thousands of nerve endings in the feet, hands, ears and face that correspond to the various organs, glands and other parts of the body. The common reflexology foot chart or map supports both these theories.
Reflexology and Massage*
As a practicing massage therapist, I have been using reflexology in almost every massage for the past ten years, and this is what I have learned from working on hundreds of clients:
There are many benefits and similarities in massage and reflexology; both have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and relaxation, and both can be thought of as activating the healing power of the body. Each modality is great by itself, but I have found using these together takes my practice to the next level and I see on an almost daily basis how our amazing bodies were created to heal themselves.
In addition to using reflexology on the feet and hands, there are also reflexology referral points that mirror each other, i.e. feet and hands, ankles and wrists, knees and elbows. I have found these to be particularly effective in working with pain clients, and often start by loosening up the corresponding area that is usually less sore. In particular, I have discovered that by working on the glutes and scaps at the same time (i.e. holding one area while working the less sore area) can be extremely effective in working out muscle spasms and knots, but the client is usually able to feel the connection, which can lead to a greater awareness of how amazing our bodies are. It is not uncommon for me to hear “Wow! that’s amazing” several times a day using this technique.
For more information on reflexology, visit the International Institute of Reflexology.
*This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure and is based on my ten years’ experience combining massage with reflexology.