We are lucky enough to live in a time where our knowledge of science, medicine and the human body is advancing rapidly. With money being spent all over the world on research into new therapies and ways to take care of ourselves, we’re fortunate to have many options when it comes to treating physical and mental ailments.
What is reflexology?
Simply put, reflexology is a practice of massage that aims to treat ailments in areas of the body by stimulating a muscle, nerve or area somewhere else on the body. Reflexology is based on the belief that nerves, cells and organs all over the body are interconnected. It doesn’t aim to heal a medical condition but it does help the body to restore its own natural balance.
Thought to date back more than 5000 years, reflexology is a core pillar of oriental medicine and has been used for centuries to help rebalance the body, aid better sleep, reduce anxiety, improve circulation and even as part of the treatment for conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes.
Reflexology focuses on reflex points on the feet, hands and head and is a non-invasive complementary therapy, akin to acupressure or acupuncture. As the Association of Reflexologists put it: “Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside allopathic healthcare to promote better health for their clients.”
The most recognisable example of this today is reflexology of the foot, with pressure placed on specific areas to trigger a reaction elsewhere in the body. For example, if you’re suffering from sciatica, or have a problem in their lower back or glutes, your reflexology practioner may massage and stimulate the heel of the foot to relieve pain in the back.
How long has reflexology been practiced?
It’s widely believed that reflexology is one of the oldest forms of medical remedy and, according to the International Institute of Reflexology, it originated in China. Long before we knew that our organs kept us alive, that our blood was carried throughout our whole body by the circulatory system, or that the brain controls every part of what we do through the nervous system, medical professionals all over the world recognised that the different areas of the body are all inter-connected.
Today, reflexology is more popular than ever, with more and more of us seeking out treatment for a range of both physical and mental issues. This increase comes as more scientific research is conducted to better understand the role of reflexology in treating a range of conditions.
Is reflexology only for physical ailments?
Often, those who suffer from long term chronic pain such as sciatica, issues related to diabetes or complaints such as heartburn will turn to reflexology for pain relief. The soothing effects of reflexology are both physical and psychological, so it can also provide relief for the mind as well as the body following an extended period of illness or discomfort.
Mental well-being has been given a much higher level of importance over the past few years, with self-care becoming more widely known and practised. With more people than ever looking for ways to introduce self-care to their daily routines, reflexology is becoming increasingly popular. Because a reflexology treatment can stimulate and relax, it’s an ideal complimentary therapy for those who find themselves battling anxiety or depression. A reflexology foot massage can stimulate the nervous and circulatory systems, leading to a greater sense of well-being and improved energy levels – perfect who those days when the stresses of modern life and juggling multiple work and family responsibilities begin to take their toll.