While most people think that reflexology is just another word for foot massage, it is in fact much more than that… but what exactly is it and what does it do?
Beyond the feel-good effects of the treatment, the practice and purpose go deeper than the skin and muscles by taking specific reflex points on the foot to induce a healing response in corresponding organs and areas of the body. Kneading the soft fleshy ball of the foot, pulling on the toes, tracing around the heel and pushing deep into the arch are just a few of the many small, intense movements you’ll experience during a reflexology treatment.
It addresses anything from headaches to sinus problems to stomach issues. If sensitivity or tenderness is experienced when certain areas of the foot are stimulated, it usually indicates bodily weaknesses or imbalances. Traditionally in the foot, with repeated application of pressure and nerve ending manipulation, reflexology can help to clear any channels of blocked energy. It moves blood flow, nutrients and nerve impulses to improve overall health and balance. In addition to pressure point manipulation, reflexologists sometimes work on the hands or ears to trigger relaxation as well.
The benefits of hitting those reflexology points
- Cleanses the body of toxins
- Boosts the immune system
- Increases circulation
- Promotes healing
- Balances energy
To be effective, a reflexology practitioner must be certified and understand the meridians related to each pressure point. Most spas offer reflexology. The treatment typically lasts approximately 30 minutes. It’s important to have a conversation with your reflexologist beforehand to discuss your concerns. Some people suffer from IBS, a tension headache or trouble sleeping.
During a reflexology session, you’re clothed and seated. You might also be lying down while the therapist rubs, presses on and squeezes points on your feet. The therapist may concentrate on specific areas to alleviate ailments (if you have sinus trouble, they’ll focus on your toes) or work on the whole foot with the aim of strengthening every system in the body.
Things to remember before, during and after your reflexology session
- After eating wait at least one hour before your massage
- Don’t receive reflexology if you are pregnant
- Drink water following the treatment to eliminate toxins and lactic acid buildup that occurs during the massage
- Consult a doctor first if you have foot problems, an injury, a blood vessel disease associated with clots or varicose veins
By Amy Sung