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What is Reflexology?Reflexologyfeet.jpg

As an ancient practice with several thousand years of history, reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure by thumbs and fingers to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears in order to improve the recipient's health.

It is understood that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person's general health. For example, reflexology holds that a specific spot in the arch of the foot corresponds to the bladder point. When a reflexology practitioner uses thumbs or fingers to apply appropriate pressure to this area, it affects bladder functioning.

At present, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like stress, anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis. In fact reflexology is growing increasingly popular as both as a complement to other treatments and as preventive measure across Europe and Asia. One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early 90s. According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in significant reduction of sick leave and absenteeism, as well as significant economic savings for the employers.

Where are the reflexology points and areas?

In reflexology, points and areas on the feet, hands, and ears correspond to specific organs, bones and body systems. Practitioners access these points on the feet and hands (bottom, sides, and top) and the ear (both inside as far as the finger can reach and outside) to affect organs and systems throughout the entire body.

To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, reflexologists use reflexology maps. Maps of reflex points have been passed between practitioners across the globe. Understandably, there is not agreement among all reflexologists on all points; however, general agreement does exist on major reflex points. Some scientific documentation of linkages between the skin and internal organs also exists. reflexology-b.jpg

During practice, a reflexologist may perform a general, integrated session; or may focus on specific problem areas on the feet, hands or ears. Whatever the approach, the reflexologist attempts to release congestion or stress in the nervous system and balance the body's energy.

How does reflexology relate to other therapies?

Acupuncture and Acupressure: Reflexology is similar to acupuncture and acupressure in that it works with the body's vital energy through the stimulation of points on the body. However, acupuncture/acupressure points do not always coincide with the reflex points used in reflexology.

Reflexology and acupressure are both reflex therapies in that they work with points on one part of the body to affect other parts of the body. While reflexology uses reflexes that are in an orderly arrangement resembling a shape of the human body on the feet, hands, and outer ears, acupressure uses over 800 reflex points that are found along long thin energy lines called meridians that run the length of the entire body.

Massage: Some people confuse reflexology with massage. While both massage and reflexology use touch, the approaches are very different. In brief, massage therapists work from the outside in, manipulating specific muscle groups or fascia to release tension. Reflexology practitioners see themselves as working from the inside out -- stimulating the nervous system to release tension.