Reflexology can also be referred as zone therapy, pointed pressure treatment, Shiatsu, acupuncture (no needles), and contact therapy. This is basically an ancient natural therapy which has become popular throughout the world. Although ancient, it is yet also based on the scientific techniques of massage.
The concept of reflexology is pretty simple. It states that there are about 10 invisible dynamic currents from top to bottom of the human body, i.e. from head to hands and feet, connecting right up to the finger tips and toes. This can be explained clearly through a reflexology chart which depicts pictures and lines connecting various body parts. The particular area which falls under each dynamic current is termed as a zone, and the treatment is given the name ‘zone therapy’.
In addition to this, there are 5 longitudinal zones each on the right and left side of our body, in equal proposition. These 10 zones are located in a parallel way on the body, and it covers these areas – head, shoulders, face, arms, chest, hands, abdomen, legs, reproductive organs, and feet.
Reflexology is one of the amazing systems which can be understood in a simple way, easily practiced, and is a safe, scientific and effective therapy. Before we throw some light on how to practice and learn and who can practice it, let us talk a little about the benefits of reflexology.
Research-Supported Reflexology Benefits
According to the 170 studies conducted on reflexology from about 21 countries, this therapy is believed to affect our body’s psychological and physical concerns in many positive ways. Some of the benefits of hand and foot reflexology are –
- Reduces pain: Around 27 research studies have reported significant reduction in pain in individuals of different age groups and different health condition.
- Gives relaxation: When the reflexology therapist practices hand reflexologyon a patient, ECG has proved that it provides soothing effect on the patient’s brain, and, this was demonstrated by 24 studies.
- Enhances blood flow: Different studies have shown that reflexology can improve flow of blood in brain, feet, intestines and kidneys.
- Improves health concerns: Around 78 health issues have been improved in children and adults through reflexology, from aggression to the urinary problems. One can clearly understand its significance and relation by looking at a reflexology map.
- Enhances medical care: This therapy helps in areas where other treatments have failed. According to neuropathy patients, hemodialyis patients and phantom limb sufferers, this therapy has done wonders.
- Alleviates physiological conditions: According to ECG, MRI and EEG, it’s been proven that many physiological disorders have been cured; even cholesterol and blood pressure levels have been improved.
- Reduces post-operative pain: Reflexology has helped in post-operative recovery efforts to reduce pain, and this has been proven by many studies.
- Eases medical symptoms: Nausea, pain, anxiety, vomit and other symptoms have been eased by reflexology as proven by 16 research studies from around 7 countries.
- Eases other conditions: The zonal therapy eases pregnancy and post delivery effects too. Women who have been given this treatment have stated that they experienced short labor and had to use less analgesia. Also, post delivery depression, urination, bowel movements and anxiety have been reduced.
Generally, all the advantages of reflexology results in stress reduction. In using hands and feet to ease the tension from our entire body, this is a simple way to keep the body at equilibrium, reset homeostasis and relax the entire body and brain. Although the therapy may also be treated as a form of medical care, it would be advisable to take medical advice before any reflexology session in order to ensure general safety.
Who Can Practice Reflexology?
Well, anyone with a zeal for the arts of healing can practice reflexology.
Like we said, the gentle art of this therapy focuses on certain hand and foot pressure points. However, if someone wants to practice reflexology or become a reflexologist then it is important to learn few vital things about the modality. In addition, he or she must also get a certificate from a recognized institution.
Even though it is globally accepted that reflexology is absolutely a safe therapy, some experts advise caution when practicing it in diabetes patients and pregnant women. In addition, people dealing with gall bladder issues and thrombosis should also consult with a good doctor before practicing reflexology therapy.
Though it is quite a fact that reflexology does not cause any kind of harm on anybody, it would be much better to consult with an expert first. Sometimes, reflexology therapy involves the use of aromatic oils, and a lot of people find themselves allergic to such oils.
On the other hand, considering the fact that the physical situation of a pregnant woman is quite different and complicated than a normal one, therefore it turns out to be absolutely necessary to be a little cautious when using reflexology therapy on a pregnant woman, particularly when she is in the first trimester.
In addition, there are also some more health related conditions in which practicing reflexology may cause negative effects. Some of them are –
- Diabetes patients who are dependent on insulin
- Cancer patients, particularly lymphoma
- Epilepsy patients
- Patients/people taking anti-coagulating drugs
- Patients/people taking high dosage drugs
- Heart patients, who went through a heart surgery, should not receive reflexology, particularly up to six months from the surgery
- Hypersensitive people, such as chronic fatigue
- Patients/people suffering from contagious conditions, such as AIDS, Tinea, and Hep B or C.
So, the above are some of the health conditions during which reflexology may not prove to be useful, although there no official figures to illustrate them. While it is easy to practice reflexology using a reflexology chart, it is better to consult an accredited reflexologist if the person is suffering from any chronic disease. There is no doubt that reflexology can bring a lot of positive changes if it is done properly.