Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary therapy that is based on the theory that the body is mapped on the feet in a series of reflex points that correspond to organs, glands and the musculoskeletal system. Pressure and stimulation of these reflexes sends a stimulus to the central nervous system and a response is generated aiding the body to regain its natural state of balance (homeostasis). With over 7,000 nerve endings per foot, reflexology has discovered that our feet are a powerful connection to our body's innate healing ability.
Reflexologists know that working the feet benefits the body, for they witness positive impacts on the health of their clients regularly. In addition, there are many research studies that now confirm that the body is impacted positively when this modality is used. The question that remains is, "why is reflexology such a powerful tool in helping the body regain its natural state of health?"
- Reflexology activates the relaxation response. The relaxation response is the state in which the body no longer perceives danger so that blood pressure, heart rate, digestive functioning and hormone levels return to their normal state, bringing the body into balance.
- Reflexology improves circulation. Stress compromises circulation two different ways. First, by diverting blood from the stomach, gut and bladder to accommodate the fight or flight response and secondly, by tightening up muscles around the body and constricting blood flow. Reflexology's powerful relaxation benefit is a great counterbalance to the challenges that stress poses to the body.
- Reflexology encourages the body to cleanse toxins and impurities. The body has its own built- in cleaning systems such as the liver, lymphatic system and the excretory system. The function of these systems can be impeded if stress interferes causing toxins and waste to not be processed with the efficiency that nature intended. By activating the relaxation response, the circulation to the detoxification organs and systems is improved thereby boosting their function to optimal level.
- Reflexology opens energy pathways. By removing energy stagnations, energy is able to flow freely. This theory is supported by the fact that six traditional Chinese meridians that are used in acupuncture are also found on the feet and are clearly tapped into during a reflexology session.
- Reflexology supports the immune system. It is now known that stress, fatigue and diet, just to name a few, all suppress this key system in keeping us healthy. Therefore, when the body is relaxed and is given a detoxification boost, the immune system is able to operate in full force to protect the body from illness and exposure to environmental pollutants.
While you may favor one theory over another, many believe the best explanation for reflexology's results is that all of these theories play a role in making reflexology a viable complementary therapy. Be it a client with fibromyalgia whose energy increases after a session or a client who finds relief from migraines, it is clear that reflexology has found a way to tap into the power of the feet.