This style of Traditional Chinese Medicine is like an elaborate foot massage that does more than just relax the feet. Like the brain, the feet, hands, and ears have a map of reflexes from the whole body. By pressing on reflexes in the feet, reflexology can be used to assess and treat all systems, parts, organs, and glands. Because it is used in conjunction with the nervous system, relaxation is one of the desired results of this treatment. Treatments can be used to relieve or prevent stress, injury, or illness.
Our poor feet – we spend countless hours on them, put them under pressure, squeeze them into tight, constricting shoes, and unfortunately often they are just looked over in a typical massage – they deserve better. After all the tension is released, you feel as if you’re walking on clouds.
There have been several practices resembling reflexology in previous historical periods. Although the origins of Reflexology are not very well documented, the ancient Egyptian’s had depictions on the walls of tombs showing men receiving massages on their hands and feet.
According to Wikipedia.org in the book Medicina Libri octo, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, influenced by Hippocrates writes this, “Much more often, however, some other part is to be rubbed than that which is the seat of the pain; and especially when we want to withdraw material from the head or trunk, and therefore rub the arms and legs.” This could mean that the ancient Greeks practiced a form of reflexology.
Reflexology was first brought to the West by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872–1942) in 1913. Fitzgerald was an ear, nose, and throat specialist originally. He claimed that by applying pressure on one part of the body, it had an anesthetic effect on other parts.
In the 1930s and 1940s Eunice D. Ingham (1889–1974), a nurse and physiotherapist changed the face of reflexology. Ingham believed that the feet and hands were the map to the entire body. Ingham’s theories are still prominent in the US and UK, although modern methods have changed the face of reflexology.
According to the Reflexology Association of Canada reflexology is defined as: “A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.”
The main theory in reflexology is that the blockage of an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi, prevents healing. To resolve this reflexology practitioners believe they can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body via manipulation of the feet. The basis behind this theory is that pressure that is received in the foot can send signals to the nervous system or may release chemicals such as endorphins. As we all know endorphins reduce stress and pain.
**As a client, please inform your therapist of any undesired technique, modality, pressure, as well as any concerns or discomforts you may have. Massage therapy is for your best health and should be geared to your needs. You always have the right to ask to modify or stop components of, or the entire massage. Your Registered Massage Therapist adheres to the guidelines set out by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO).