Is there any Scientific Basis to Reflexology?
In the 1890's knighted research scientist, Dr. Henry Head, proved the neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. Nobel prize winner, Sir Charles Sherrington proved that the whole nervous system and body adjusts to a stimulus when it is applied to any part of the body.
In Germany, Dr. Alfons Cornelius observed pressure to certain spots triggered muscle contractions, changes in blood pressure, variation in warmth and moisture in the body as well as directly affecting the "psychic processes" or mental state of the patient. Currently research studies to further validate reflexology are being conducted in many countries including Switzerland, Denmark, USA and Australia. In Japan and Denmark reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving each company thousands of dollars annually.
For years, one of the most frequently asked questions of Reflexologists was, "Are there any studies validating the effectiveness of Reflexology." The answer was no. During the mid 1980's Dr. Terry Oleson and Bill Flocco discussed the issue, deciding to combine their talents and resources, to conduct a Randomized Controlled Reflexology Research Study, according to the strict standards of research ethics and protocols demanded by the highest echelons of the medical research community. Over 350 Reflexology research studies on over 150 health challenges have been conducted around the world:
Does Reflexology treat disease?
NO. Reflexologists do not work with a treatment orientation; rather they are oriented to revitalizing the whole body and hence supporting the body in its own healing process.
What can Reflexology do for me?
Reflexology is used primarily to relieve stress and tension and produce deep therapeutic relaxation. Medical doctors agree that over three fourths of our health problems can be linked to nervous and physical tension. By reducing stress and tension, reflexology improves blood and lymph circulation, strengthens the functioning of the immune system, improves assimilation of nutrition and elimination of toxins, and calms the nervous system. In these ways, reflexology facilitates the body's natural healing processes and thereby enhances the body's health and vitality.
Who can benefit from Reflexology sessions?
Everyone can benefit from Reflexology treatments. You do not have to have an illness to have Reflexology. Clients who want to alleviate stress can benefit from Reflexology. All ages can benefit from Reflexology, including children.
What can I expect at a first Reflexology session?
Clients will be asked to fill out a health history and release form. Parents must sign for children under the age of 18. The Reflexologist will go over the form with the client and discuss how a session will be tailored to their needs. Clients are encouraged to ask questions. The first session is approximately 80 minutes, which comprises of health history discussion, the reflexology session and answering any questions at the end of the session. Followup sessions are 60 minutes.
At all sessions, clients will be asked to remove socks and shoes. The feet will be cleansed with hand wipes. Other than the removal of socks and shoes, the client is fully dressed. The Reflexology session consists of thumb and finger pressure as well as thumb rolling. Lotion may be used at the end of the session. Please let the Reflexologist know if you have any allergies.
Please also let me know if you are pregnant.
What will I feel during a Reflexology session?
Many people find reflexology sessions, for the most part, very relaxing. It is not uncommon for clients to fall asleep. The pressure that is applied is always within the client's comfort range. If there are painful points on the hands/feet, these may be signs of energy blocks or congestion at the corresponding body point. It also could be due to footwear affecting that part of the foot. By taking into account the needs of a client, a reflexologist will vary the amounts of pressure on different areas.
How will I feel after a Reflexology session?
Directly after a session, clients may feel very rested and in a relaxed state of mind.
After one or two sessions your body may respond in a very definite way. Most people noticed that they have more energy, and better elimination, sleep better, and have a sense of well being. Please note how your body responds to reflexology and inform the Reflexologist so that sessions will be tailored to your specific needs.
Reflexology may help the symptoms associated with;
- Stress and stress-related conditions
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or heavy, painful, irregular periods
- Back Pain
- Foot and Hand Challenges
For clients experiencing fertility issues, Reflexology has been shown to help couples to maximize health conditions to support the body prior and during pregnancy.
Reflexology is recommended as a complementary therapy to conventional medicine and does NOT replace conventional medical treatment.
How many Reflexology sessions will I need before I see results?
Clients may see results after one or two sessions. For maximum results, it is suggested that clients have one or two sessions per week for four to five consecutive weeks. Some clients like to continue with Reflexology on a regular basis for stress management, relaxation or simply because it feels so good.
Reflexology can be extremely relaxing, however if there is a part of the body that is unbalanced, the corresponding reflex point may feel tender or sensitive whilst working to rebalance the area. This usually passes very quickly. On the whole the client/patient should find it soothing and relaxing. If at any time you find the session painful, let me know as it is important that I work within your comfort-zone.
When performed correctly, reflexology does not tickle. We have clients who have previously said that they won't let anyone touch their feet, but who have since found reflexology both enjoyable and beneficial. For people who have ticklish feet, no need to worry, the pressure more holding and firm, rather than some stroking movements as in massage.
Occasionally during a session some people may feel drowsy or tearful; these feelings will often pass quickly. Afterwards a few people may experience a runny nose or possibly a feeling of being tired or sleepy. Others may find they feel full of energy. It is good to hydrate adequately for the two days following a Reflexology session.
The majority of clients feel absolutely wonderful after the session and express it to the Reflexologist.
Is Reflexology the same as Massage, Acupressure, Acupuncture or Shiatsu?
Reflexology is not the same as massage, which involves tissue and muscle therapy to promote relaxation.
Acupuncture, Acupressure and Shiatsu are based on energy flows through the meridian energy channels and that the therapy improves the flow of ‘Chi’ by reducing or eliminating blockages.
Reflexology focuses on working and holding the reflex points affecting the nervous system connected to the whole body.
Reflexology is not advisable for - People suffering from thrombosis, Embolus, Phlebitis, Cancers of the blood, Lymphatic Cancer, Hodgkins Disease, Gangrene, Shingles (while pustules are present). Also immediately after any surgical procedure.
Current fever or infection – for example if the person has flu, as this could be passed onto the practitioner and other clients
Foot infection / injury (hand reflexology can be offered as an alternative)
High risk pregnancy – those with a history of miscarriage
Certain points are avoided in the first 3 months of pregnancy
Uncontrolled heart conditions
Anyone with severe undiagnosed pain – person advised to seek advice from GP first.
Would you come to me?
Depending on where you are, sometimes I will travel to the client. I do charge a fee for a home visit (to allow for extra time and transport costs)