Reflexology is a complementary health therapy that can be effective in promoting deep relaxation and wellbeing; reducing stress in people’s lives can be key in optimising good health and building resilience. It is a touch therapy that is based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body and reflexologists work these points and areas.
However reflexology is viewed, there can be no doubt that what it does provide is a period of time for relaxation where the client has one to one attention and supportive touch in an empathetic listening environment. Reflexology can be used safely alongside standard healthcare to promote better health for their clients.
A brief history of Western reflexology
Reflexology, an ancient practice originating from Egypt, India, and China, made its way to the Western world thanks to Dr. William Fitzgerald’s pioneering work in the early 1900s. He introduced “Zone therapy,” which emphasized the connection between reflex areas on the hands and feet and various organs and areas of the body within the same zone.
Building upon Fitzgerald’s foundation, Eunice Ingham played a pivotal role in refining and popularising reflexology during the 1930s. Ingham believed that congestion or tension in specific areas of the foot reflects similar conditions in corresponding parts of the body. Her contributions have shaped the modern understanding and practice of reflexology.
What’s the main theory behind reflexology?
The principle theory behind reflexology is that all the systems and organs of the body are mapped or reflected in smaller peripheral areas, for example, the feet, hands, ears and face. Enhance self-care with our interactive foot & hand maps and discover the therapeutic benefits of reflexology at your fingertips.
Back in the 1920’s investigative studies regarding this concept allowed the first Western reflexology foot map to be produced. Since then, other anatomical areas have been mapped, allowing this model to be applied to the hands, ears and face.
The reflexologist works these reflected areas with their hands, aiming to bring them back to balance and thus aiding the body to work as well as it can. Reflexology works on an individual basis, facilitating your body’s own potential for healing and improved well-being.
While there are few available scientific studies specifically into how reflexology works, there are scientific studies that support the potential positive effects that can be achieved by reflexology and touch.
Is reflexology suitable for me?
Reflexology is a therapy which can be received by anyone at any age, from newborn babies to those receiving end of life care, and everyone in between. However, there may occasionally be times when it is not suitable to provide a treatment. The best advice we can give you is to give your local reflexologist a ring and ask!
Please note: Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.
Will reflexology help me?
Well trained reflexologists do not claim to cure, diagnose or prescribe. Reflexology is a very individualised treatment which is tailored to you as a whole person, taking into account both physical and non-physical factors that might be affecting your wellbeing. Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!
What happens when I go for a treatment?
A full medical history will be requested on your first treatment, and you will be asked to sign a consent form for treatment. This information will be kept confidential. Reflexology is a very easy therapy to receive; depending on the type of reflexology, the most clothing that will have to be removed for a treatment to take place will be your socks and shoes.
How will I feel after a reflexology treatment?
It is useful to give feedback to the reflexologist as this may show the response of your body to treatment. This in turn might help the reflexologist to tailor a treatment plan specific to your needs. After one or two treatments your body may respond in a very noticeable way. Most people note a sense of well-being and relaxation; however, sometimes people report feeling lethargic, nauseous or tearful, but this is usually transitory and reflexologists believe that it is part of the healing process.
Questions to Ask
When considering booking a treatment with a reflexologist, it’s important to ask questions that address your specific concerns and requirements to ensure a safe and satisfactory experience. Here are some questions you may consider asking:
- Reflexology Training:
Where did you train and how long was the training? – You should expect a minimum training time of approximately 6 months with 100 treatments completed during the training
Are you a member of any professional reflexology associations? – This will let you know that they hold a professional qualification.
Do you have current insurance? – Professional reflexologists will all hold current insurance, this is just for the unlikely event of you having a complaint.
- Treatment Approach:
What approach do you take with your reflexology treatment? – You may want to ask if they use a gentle or deeper pressure if you have a specific requirement
Do you tailor treatments to address specific health concerns or conditions? – You may want to ask if they have experience with your specific concern, if relevant.
- Health Conditions and Precautions:
Do you require my medical information? – This should be a yes, so it allows the reflexologist to decide if reflexology is suitable for you
Do you ask about my lifestyle? – Again, this should be a yes. Reflexology is a holistic therapy and there may be simple changes that could improve your wellbeing alongside the reflexology.
- Duration and Cost:
How long is the reflexology session? An average appointment is 1 hour
What is the cost of a session, and do you offer any packages or discounts? Prices should be displayed on their website and you can compare the prices in your area. However, if a therapist is much cheaper then you should consider why. For example, have they only had a very short amount of online training?
- Client Satisfaction and Reviews:
Do you have any online reviews or ratings? It is worth having a look at Google reviews or their Facebook page, if they have one, as this provides client generated content rather than testimonials the therapist chooses.
- Payment, Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy:
What payment methods do you accept?
What is your policy regarding cancellations or rescheduling appointments? Is there a penalty or fee for late cancellations or no-shows?