Leonardo da Vinci is credited with saying, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” Reflexologists tend to agree, and they are ready to help you use the power of that masterpiece to provide you with all the benefits of reflexology.
As bipedal beings, we task our feet with a tremendous amount of work throughout a lifetime. They literally bear the brunt of your weight and movements and serve to keep you steady and upright. But they also carry within them a roadmap of nerves that impact all areas of your body. Let’s take a look at what reflexology is and is not, as well as the many benefits it provides.
Not Just for Feet
Reflexology is performed most frequently on the feet, but it can also involve the hands and ears. It is a long-standing therapy that comes from the understanding that certain nerves in the feet, hands, and ears relate to specific muscle groups and organs throughout the body.
Practitioners believe that the nervous system impacts all of the body’s systems and bears some responsibility for the well-being of the whole body. By applying pressure to crucial nerve endings in the feet, hands, and ears, reflexologists can help their patients find significant relief from tension and pain and can bring a patient’s body back into balance.
Is Reflexology the Same as Massage?
No, reflexology is not massage. These two types of bodywork can be used in tandem for good health and relaxation, but they are different practices. Massage works from the outside in, manipulating soft tissues to relax the muscles. Reflexology, on the other hand, uses the body’s nervous system to provide healing from the inside out for the entire body.
An Ancient Practice
Although its roots are not certain, ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilizations both appear to have been early practitioners of reflexology.
The Physician’s Tomb in Egypt has paintings depicting some form of foot reflexology with hieroglyphs that represent a conversation between the patient and the practitioner. The translation shows the patient saying, “Please do not hurt me.” The practitioner’s reply is “I shall act so you praise me.”
The Modern Practice
Reflexology has been a common therapy in many parts of the world for centuries, but it is now gaining popularity and acceptance in the western world as well. With over 7000 nerve endings in just one foot, reflexologists have a lot to work with as they seek to help your body return to health and balance.
Training to become a practitioner of reflexology takes about six to twelve months, depending on the program. It involves a significant amount of anatomy instruction and clinical work. A qualified program also offers training on issues of ethics for the therapist. Many reflexologists open their own practices or join forces with other bodywork practitioners such as chiropractors and massage therapists. Reflexologists who qualify can receive national accreditation from the American Reflexology Certification Board. Certification and renewal require a specific number of continuing education hours every two years.
What Are the Benefits of Reflexology?
Those who practice and receive reflexology treatments are quick to praise its health benefits, and for good reason. It impacts the body’s circulatory, endocrine, immune, and respiratory systems. Therapists tout the following eight benefits of reflexology:
- Release of tension and stress: Even those who are skeptical of other claims can agree that reflexology provides the patient with relief from stress and tension in their body. Practitioners apply pressure to specific points to help the body realign its energy so that the body can relax. Many patients note that the release of stress helps them recover from depression and anxiety, as well.
- Pain relief: This is one of the top reasons people seek reflexology treatment. The body’s reflexes work to trigger muscle groups and organs so that they can get back into alignment and function properly. Reflexology is particularly popular for those with rheumatoid arthritis and migraines, but it is effective in treating many types of pain.
- Boosts the body’s circulation: Our modern lifestyle is sedentary for most people, as a result of the hours spent sitting at a desk, in a car, or in front of the television. This lifestyle wreaks havoc on your circulatory system. Reflexology opens up the circulatory pathways so that blood flows freely to re-oxygenate all tissues and organs.
- Helps you achieve better sleep: Lack of proper sleep is responsible for a host of medical problems, including a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, and is rampant in the world of devices and screen time. The relaxation and boosted circulation you receive from reflexology will help you fall asleep faster and stay in a deeper sleep state.
- Supports the immune system: By moving the body back into proper balance, reflexology helps the immune system do its job of fighting off infection. It assists in reducing inflammation throughout the body so you can enjoy overall well-being.
- Eases pregnancy symptoms and delivery pain: The benefits of reflexology are particularly evident for women during childbirth. The reduction in pain and anxiety brings comfort through the whole process and can even help ward off postpartum depression.
- Alleviates discomfort from cancer treatments: All of the above benefits of reflexology come together to provide terrific support for cancer patients. An improved immune system, better sleep, pain relief, and release of anxiety all serve to help those going through treatment for cancer so their bodies can respond better to their medical therapies.
- Speedier healing: By improving your body’s circulation and reducing its pain response, reflexology helps you recover from injuries and surgery more quickly.
Let Your Body Do Its Healing
One of the overarching philosophical tenets in this modality of care is that the practitioner is not a healer. Instead, the body is the healer. The reflexologist opens the neurological pathways and stimulates the reflexes necessary for the body to do its work properly.
At Swiss Clinique, our highly-qualified practitioners offer both foot and face reflexology for your health and wellness. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.