Frequently Asked Questions About Reflexology

 

What is Reflexology?
It is an art of stress reduction based on the work of two American physicians, Dr. William Fitzgerald and Dr. Joe Shelby Riley in the 1920s involving the feet and hands; and French Dr. Paul Nogier in the 1950s for reflex areas on the ears.

Representatives from the three national reflexology organizations: Reflexology Association of America (RAA), American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) and the National Council for Reflexology Educators (NCRE) approved the following new definition of Reflexology on August 31, 2016: Reflexology is a protocol of manual techniques, such as thumb and finger-walking, hook and backup and rotating-on-a-point, applied to specific reflex areas predominantly on the feet and hands. These techniques stimulate the complex neural pathways linking body systems, supporting the body’s efforts to function optimally. The effectiveness of reflexology is recognized worldwide by various national health institutions and the public at large as a distinct complementary practice within the holistic health field.

Reflexology works primarily with reflexes and through the nervous system. It is a non-invasive natural system of stress reduction and relaxation based on the principle that the body is reflected on the feet, hands and outer ears through reflexes found in these areas. The application of pressure to reflexes and the resultant stimulation sent via the nerve pathways, produces physiological change in the body. Reflexology gently nudges the body towards better functioning by improving oxygenation of cells, lymphatic drainage, and venous circulation through the relaxation process.


Is Reflexology a form of massage?

No, Conventionally people use the term massage very loosely to include other touch therapies that have nothing to do with standard massage techniques. Reflexology has its own history, theories, vocabulary, research, education, techniques, and national certification separate from any other manual therapy. It is non-invasive and requires only the removal of shoes and socks.


Is there any scientific basis to Reflexology?
In the 1890s 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 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 metal state of his patients. Reflexology is built on these concepts.

Since the 1980s there have been over 300 research studies validating the effectiveness of Reflexology on a wide variety of conditions conducted around the world, including the US. In Denmark Reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving each company thousands of dollars annually through the reduction of sick leave. Employees sought Reflexology mainly for the relief of muscular tension, stress, headaches, digestion, and back problems. In 2007 a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in conjunction with the University of Michigan State University was awarded to study the effects of Reflexology with Breast Cancer Undergoing Reflexology Chemotherapy.


What are the benefits of Reflexology?
Many of our health problems can be linked to stress. A body under the influence of prolonged stress is less capable of organizing its defenses against illnesses and repairing damage caused by injury. Stress can be mentally, emotionally, physically, or environmentally induced. Reflexology is primary a stress reduction technique. It can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax and balance itself. In the Ayurvedic Medicine of India it is believed relaxation is the first step in the healing process. Through the relaxation process of Reflexology the body is better able to deal with the stresses placed on it by daily living and those associated with illness or injury.


What ailments does Reflexology help?

A reflexologist does not practice medicine. Nor does she diagnose medical disorders or prescribe or adjust medications. While Reflexology has anecdotally been found to have a positive affect on the body suffering from a wide variety of chronic problems, it is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used as a complement to any type of medical treatment or therapy. Though any serious reaction to a Reflexology session is rare, there are times where the use of Reflexology is not appropriate.


Is reflexology painful?
No, Reflexology should not be painful because the primary goal is relaxation. Sensitivity found when areas are reflexed is an indicator of where the body may be holding tension.


Can the use of Reflexology guarantee good health?
Nothing can guarantee good health. However, Reflexology can help enhance your life and sense of well-being when it is incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle that includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction.