What is Reflexology?
Like so many other natural healing arts, Reflexology originated in Asia, although has been practiced world wide for centuries. Reflexology as we know it today began in the early years of the twentieth century by Dr.William Fitzgerald. He developed the zone theory of the human body, and discovered that pressure applied in one part of the body could anesthetize another.
A physiotherapist called Eunice Ingham furthered his theory in the 1930’s and found that the zones which ran throughout the body, could be accessed through the feet, as they are the most responsive area due to their sensitivity. She mapped the entire body onto the feet and discovered that applying pressure on the various parts of the foot had therapeutic effects on corresponding parts of the body.
Reflexology has many of the same benefits as body massage with the additional benefit of being a less intrusive treatment, as the treatment is carried out upon the feet alone.
Reflexology helps with many ailments including Arthritis, Asthma, anxiety, back pain, constipation, depression, Eczema, fluid retention, head aches, high blood pressure, Irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal problems, period pains, post natal problems and sinusitis.
Overall, Reflexology reduces stress and induces deep relaxation, improves circulation and lymph flow, cleanses the body of impurities, creates homeostasis(a natural balance within the body), revitalizes energy and aids concentration
How does Reflexology work, can it help me?
There are many theories as to how Reflexology works but the nervous system holds the key. Reflexology is a gentle therapy that relieves tension and clears blockages by stimulating sensory receptors in the nerve fibres of the foot, producing energy that branches to the spinal cord where it is dispersed throughout the entire nervous system.
It relaxes the body, thereby reducing any constriction of blood vessels and improving circulation, which helps to break up and dissolve crystal deposits caused by an excess of uric acid, which has built up in the body and settled in the feet.
During a Reflexology treatment, endorphins are released into the bloodstream, easing aches and pains, promoting a feeling of deep relaxation and balance in those treated.
Reflexology helps restore and maintain the bodies’ natural equilibrium and encourages the body to work naturally to restore its own healthy balance. Reflexology has been shown to be effective for:
• Back Pain
• Migraine headaches
• Sleep disorders
• Hormonal imbalances
• Sports injuries
• Digestive disorders
• Stress-related conditions
Reflexology is also being used to help lower back pain relief, muliple sclerosis treatment and is a great natural stress relief. Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care and is not a replacement to medical help
How do I know who's properly qualified?
You have the right to expect appropriately educated, safe, competent and regulated Reflexologists, and for a long time Complementary therapies have not been regulated, that is now changing with the development of self regulation within the industry and a common set of standards safeguarding the general public.
Our Reflexologists are trained by those recognised organisations who are part of the regulatory process which agrees a set of common standards for the practice and training of Reflexology and maintains and develops good working practices.
In your search results for a Reflexologist on this site each practitioner has their qualifications listed with the icon related to the organisation they trained or qualified through. In the Icons explained section on the Find a Reflexologist page you can click on the corresponding icon to be taken to the recognised organisation website for further information and contact details.
It is important to us that you have every confidence in your choice of Reflexologist, and our aim is to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed choice, if you have any questions please contact us and we will be pleased to help you
Is Reflexology safe during pregnancy?
In the UK, it is recommended that treatments be avoided during the first 12 weeks, during this period the body is adjusting to hormonal changes.
However after 12 weeks, expectant mothers can find Reflexology extremely helpful and safe in coping with both early pregnancy symptoms and the long term symptoms of pregnancy:
- Morning sickness
- Nausea & headaches
- Pain & discomfort
- Loss of bladder control
- Stress & anxiety
- Lack of sleep & fatigue
- Digestive problems e.g. constipation
- Swollen/puffy ankles & legs
Is Reflexology recommended for the elderly?
Yes, Reflexology is a highly beneficial treatment for the elderly. It is a gentle non-invasive treatment carried out upon the feet alone, which helps to induce deep relaxation and in turn aids the bodies own healing process.
Reflexology complements orthodox medicine and helps with the general aches and pains of getting older, studies have shown the benefits felt in more serious complaints, including:
•Respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and emphysema, helping to reduce the symptoms involved.
•Arthritis, by stimulating the circulation, which in turn aids joint mobility.
•High blood pressure by inducing deep relaxation, helping maintain a healthy blood pressure, and even help to lower high blood pressure.
•After a stroke. Patients using Reflexology treatment have seen the beneficial help it can give to regaining function in effected limbs.
•Anxiety and Depression, people experience these debilitating conditions at all ages of life, and Reflexology helps to relieve the symptoms by inducing relaxation and releasing endorphin's into the blood stream, which work on enhancing mental well being.
•Migraine and headaches, digestive problems and many more.
Before any treatment the practitioner will take a detailed case history in order to get a clear picture of the patient’s present and past health and with their knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology are able to adapt the Reflexology treatment accordingly. Many patients of Reflexology have said that not only do they enjoy the physical benefits of Reflexology but also, being able to talk to their Reflexologist in detail about their health, and being listened to.
With a growing number of practitioners offering mobile treatments, Reflexology is ideal for those who cannot drive/walk to a clinic or would simply prefer a therapist to visit them at home so that they can put their feet up in their favorite chair!
In our 'Quick search' system you can also choose to find ‘only’ Mobile Reflexologists, with the areas they cover listed
Can I use Reflexology alongside Chemotherapy?
Recent studies show that reflexology helps to lessen some of the side effects of chemotherapy by helping the patient to deeply relax, changing their level of anxiety, in-turn helping patients cope with the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea.
Reflexology is used by many people who are undergoing cancer treatment and is included at complementary therapy centres within cancer units at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and Harley Street Clinic to name a few. Many hospitals now recommend Reflexology for cancer patients, indeed, some Reflexologists work in clinics at hospitals, as well as The Macmillan Trust day centers.
Many Reflexology practitioners have taken advanced diplomas in reflexology and cancer care, so when looking for a practitioner on this site find one who includes this qualification or has experience in working with cancer patients in their additional information.
There’s a lot of research being carried out in this area at present, and as more evidence comes to light we will publish it here.
How Are Reflexology And Chemotherapy Related?
For the many people that have to go through chemotherapy the pain and other side effects can be unbearable. There is help. Reflexology is a gentle and non-intrusive treatment that is done on the feet. Reflexology works on the reflex points that correspond to the body systems.
How are reflexology and chemotherapy related? Reflexology has proved to be very beneficial in patients that have taken chemotherapy. If you or someone you know and love have ever taken chemotherapy you know that the side effects can be extreme. Reflexology is used to relax the patient and help them be able to cope with the side effects of the chemotherapy better.
A Common Myth
Unfortunately a number of people are under a common myth about the process, that says that chemotherapy does not work, as reflexology helps to rid the body of toxins. There is no research to prove this, and there have been numerous tests that prove that indeed reflexology really works. I say, as long as it works that is all that matters.
If you ask the patients that have taken chemotherapy and reflexology they will tell you that it really works. It helps them feel better and the side effects are easier to handle. Others will tell you that they also like the way that it makes them feel. This is why you will see reflexology used in all the cancer hospitals and it is also used in cancer relief hospices.
A Chance To Confide
Another thing that cancer patients like about reflexology is that many times the patient can confide in the person doing the reflexology and they feel they have someone to open up to, about their fears of what they will face. Many cancer patients do not feel they can talk to friends and family about their condition, because they are so close and hearing talk like that may upset them. Having someone to talk to, is a very critical part of the cancer patient’s treatment.
Reflexology is not only used in patients with chemotherapy it is also used for people that have swelling of the limbs. Especially after surgery sometimes the lymph glands swell. Reflexology is used to increase blood flow and reduce the swelling of the limbs.
So if you or someone you know has to endure the pain of cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation then, you should tell them about reflexology. They should ask their doctor and make sure that it will help them. Now that there is a way to help chemotherapy patients cope with the side effects I say every chemotherapy patient should have it done. I have seen what chemotherapy does to a person and no one should have to go through that. So take control of your chemotherapy side effects with reflexology. You will see that with the reflexology that you have the energy that you don’t normally have when you take chemotherapy and with your energy you can still do the things that you love and spend time with the people that you love.