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Discovering Reflexology

Discovering Reflexology

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Published by Lidia Sosa

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Published by: Lidia Sosa on Apr 23, 2012
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Discovering Reflexology
by Rosalind Oxenford 
You may ask: “How can it be that a therapy that works only on the feet (or hands)can claim to affect the whole body? Surely if I have something wrong with my feet, Imight visit a reflexologist, but how could she/he help with my asthma or irritablebowel syndrome?” That it does help is illustrated by the number of people who leavetheir reflexologist after a course of treatment experiencing permanent relief from theproblems that caused them to seek help in the first place.Reflexology can provide relief because the whole body is represented on the feet andhands through points that can be individually stimulated to produce a reaction in thecorresponding body part. If I am having a consultation with someone who has a stiff and painful left shoulder following a sports injury, it is not unusual for them toremark as I work the corresponding part on the foot that they feel a sensation of immediate relief in their shoulder.
The Flow of Energy Around the Body
How can there be a link between the two parts? This happens because the body islinked by energy flowing along certain pathways. When stimulation is applied on onepoint along the line, it will travel along and around that line until it has traveledthrough every part of the body that lies in its pathway. When an impulse travels alonga line, it will stimulate everything that lies in its path. Organs and body parts that arefunctioning well will allow energy to flow through freely with little change. When theimpulse meets a damaged area, however, the physiological effect of the increased flowof energy will be to stimulate that part to heal itself.
Imagine a stream traveling along its path. Where it is clear the stream will run alongfreely, covering the miles effortlessly. But if it should meet boulders in its path, or afallen tree, the water will be restricted and will push and squeeze its way through theconstricted area. It will work gradually to clear the path of congestion so that it canproceed more fully. Or, imagine an electrical circuit. Energy will always keep flowing,it will pass through things — or around things if they do not conduct electricity — butit cannot stop and disappear. Just as your blood travels around your body and flowswithout ceasing while you are alive, so electromagnetic energy flows constantlythrough our bodies.
This has not yet been fully explained or understood in relation to the human body, yetit is a clearly explained and central part of physics. (Physics is the study of naturalscience and particularly of the properties — other than chemical — of matter andenergy.) We are part of the natural world, and are indisputably composed of matterand energy. Therefore it seems probable that we will soon understand energy muchmore fully. Indeed, research has and is being carried out that has already increasedour understanding of these matters. In 1628, when it was first suggested by William
Harvey that the blood circulated around our bodies, the idea was receivedincredulously and the theory treated as heretical. We seem to be goingthrough much the same process today with regard to the energy in ourbodies.
Why Reflex Points? What is a Reflex?
Most of us are familiar with the knee-jerk reflex that doctors use to testour reactions. This involves a circuit in the nervous system that travels tothe spinal cord and back without involving the brain. The reflexes on thefeet do not work through this very simple process. It has not yet been fullyexplained what the reflexes of reflexology are (they are linked with the flow of energyaround the body and will no doubt be better understood when both are furtherresearched), but we do know how the reflexes work. We know that pressure appliedto the foot produces a mirrored response in the body, and that the response will befound in specific parts according to the specific points of the foot that have beentouched. The link between these corresponding parts seems to be through energy,rather than through a direct material link.
Therapy Given with the Hands
Treatment is given with the hands using pressure techniques: the fingers applyingspecific pressure to areas that are sometimes very small points. A reflexologytreatment consists of stimulation to specific points given within a foot massage.Reflexology is not foot massage, which is a relaxing, whole-hand massage techniqueapplied to the feet to stimulate and generally relax the body. Reflexology uses footmassage to prepare and relax the feet for specific pressure techniques that areprecisely aimed to correspond to individual organs or body parts.
The Body is Mirrored on the Feet
You can see from the illustration how the side view of the human form correspondsclosely to the side view of the foot. The curves of the spine are exactly mirrored in thecurves around the bony structure of the foot.
Now look at the illustration on the left and see how the two feet together roughlyrepresent the human torso. The spine runs down the center of the instep of each footwhere the center of the body lies. The head and neck are represented on the toes andthe neck of the toes: the big toe represents the whole head, with fine tuning for theeyes, ears, neck, and teeth found on the smaller toes. The ball of the foot is the chestarea bounded by the diaphragm. The abdomen lies in the instep and the pelvic area isall around the heel.
You may notice that the limbs do not feature much on the feet, although the chartswill show you where to work for the shoulder, arm, knee, and leg. The limbs aresuperimposed on to other areas. When you have a specific problem on a limb, for
instance tennis elbow, you would work the arm area on the foot, but you would alsowork that area on the matching limb. Therefore for someone with tennis elbow intheir right arm you would work the corresponding joint on the right leg, which is theknee (see Illustration 2). These reflexes found on the limbs are referred to as crossreflexes (working across from one limb to the other on the same side).
In this way, all the various parts of the body fit onto the feet — the left and right feetmirroring the left and right sides of the body. Wherever there is illness in the body wecan find a corresponding area in the foot that may be tender or painful, and wherewaste materials have collected in the form of deposits. Reflexology works bymassaging the feet to break down these deposits, dispersing the pain, and restoringthe energy flow to a state of balance. Tension is relaxed throughout the muscles andthe nervous system, and circulation is increased, releasing or reducing the strain fromwhich the body is suffering.
How Reflexology Affects the Body
When the energy is flowing freely around your body you are physically, mentally, andemotionally well, balanced, and in harmony with your environment. The functioningof the organs is improved by releasing tension held in the body. Muscles control theworkings of the organs (each tiny hair on your skin has its own muscles, for example,and your digestive system can only function through its own set of muscles) as well aslarge movements of the body through activity of the limbs. Treatment stimulates thecirculation of the blood and lymph so that the removal of waste products and toxins isincreased and the supply of nutrients throughout the blood supply is improved. Byreleasing long-term muscular contractions the constrictions they have imposed on thenerves are relieved and the nerve supply is freed. These are the physiological effects of reflexology treatment.
What Does it Feel Like?
Patients receiving reflexology treatment often feel tenderness as certain points areworked, and they usually experience an immediate release of tensions (some willexperience an initial reaction or healing crisis). This can be seen as well as felt when aperson who comes in tired and depleted changes their whole attitude with the relaxingof tension. A glow of vitality can be seen as the energy flow begins to restore balanceand well-being.
The number of treatments needed vary according to the type of disorder and thelength of time it has been suffered. Usually the trouble yields more quickly when it isof recent origin. When a great deal of repair and healing is needed, the time requiredfor recovery is longer.
Reflexology is an ideal way of treating children. They invariably enjoy it and it is non-invasive (therefore not threatening). It is also very effective. But the pressure usedmust be much lighter than for adults. Babies, too, can be treated by an experienced

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