Research into Reflexology
Here are a few studies into the effects of Reflexology - always good to see some science behind the therapy.
Effects of Reflexology on pain in patients With Fibromyalgia - Holist Nurs Pract. 2016 Nov/Dec;30(6):351-359.
Effects of Reflexology on pain and sleep deprivation in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis - Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:315-319
Effects of Reflexology on Depression during Menopause - Comp Ther Med Dec 2019; 47;102195
What is Reflexology?
Healing the body through working the hands or feet is an ancient therapy. The earliest evidence of hand and foot massage was discovered in Egypt in the tomb of Ankhmahor. The Ancient Chinese worked the hands and feet to maintain good health and prevent disease and traditional Ayurvedic medicine also incorporates hand and foot massage.
Reflexology is based on the theory that the body can be divided into zones and that imbalances in one part of the zone can be addressed through working another part of the same zone. Dr William Fitzgerald introduced 'zone therapy' to the western world in the early 1900's. He discovered that he could alleviate pain in one area of a zone by applying deep pressure to another area of the zone, usually on the hand. In the 1930's Eunice Ingham developed zone therapy into what we now know as reflexology. She developed foot maps showing where specific points (reflexes) on the feet and hands relate to different areas on the body . Reflexology was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1960's by Doreen Bayley.
Reflexologists believe that by applying pressure to these reflex points it stimulates healing in the corresponding organs, glands and structures of the body.
How can Reflexology help me?
Reflexology is very relaxing and it provides an excellent way of relieving stress and tension. By attending regular sessions of reflexology you will be allowing your body to rest and heal itself. It may also help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, migraines, insomnia, PMT, the menopause and digestive problems.
It is not known exactly how reflexology works but there are thousands of nerve endings in each foot and it is believed that by working the feet deeply it stimulates these nerve endings. The nervous system is made up of millions of cells that all communicate with one another via neural pathways to control the body and maintain homeostasis ( a balanced state). These neural pathways can become less efficient perhaps due to tight muscles which result in a slowing down of a nerve impulse. Reflexology is thought to stimulate the nerves and neural pathways and it helps to clear the pathways so the nerve impulses can be transported more efficiently.
Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or cure and a reflexology treatment should never be taken instead of medical advice.