Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to points on the feet and hands, usually the feet, to stimulate the body’s own healing system. The name ‘reflexology’ may come from the fact that Reflexologists believe that parts of the body are reflected on the feet and hands, or it may come from the concept of a reflex action. A reflex action occurs in a muscle or organ when it is activated by energy from a point of stimulus on the body. In reflexology the point of stimulus is on the hand or foot.
Reflexologists believe that applying pressure to these reflex points can improve physical and mental health. Depending on the points chosen, therapists can use the modality to ease tension, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and eliminate body toxins. Reflexology is a safe, effective form of treatment, which practitioners use to stimulate the body to heal itself.
They do this by working on the physical body to encourage healing at the physical, mental and emotional levels. And, although the therapy involves no conscious effort on the patient’s part, it encourages the body’s healing system to search for its point of balance or ‘homeostasis’.
There are over 70,000 nerve endings on the sole of each foot which, when stimulated, can send messages along the pathways of the autonomic nervous system to all areas of the body and brain. Pressure applied to nerve endings can influence the body systems, including the circulation and lymphatic system, and improvements in these can result in improved body functioning, because nutrients and oxygen are transported more efficiently around the body and toxins are more easily eliminated.