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May 13, 2011

What is reflexology? Reflexology is the application of specific pressure, stretching and/or movement to the feet, hands and, in some cases, the ears to trigger areas of the body. Each part and function of the body is represented by a corresponding reflex point on the hands and feet, which contain clusters of sensitive nerve endings. By stimulating these points, reflexologists can release tensions, clear blockages and help the body to heal many malfunctions. Understanding how the extremities are a map of the entire body is key to learning reflexology skills.  

How does reflexology work? There are many theories on how or why reflexology works. Two of the most common involve the nervous system and zone therapy.   By working on the reflex points of the feet, the therapist can stimulate, through the nerve pathways, any organ, function or body part that is tense, congested or damaged. Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral nervous system. From there it enters the central nervous system where it is processed in various parts of the brain. It is then relayed to the internal organs to allocate the necessary adjustments. Finally a response is fashioned that is sent onto the motor system.   Zone therapy states that there are longitudinal lines of energy, called zones, ascending from the feet to the brain. As we apply pressure to the feet and hands, we stimulate these lines, producing a rejuvenating and healing effect on the entire human body.  

Where do you apply reflexology techniques? Most reflexology techniques are applied to the feet and hands. There is a school of thought that also applies reflexology to the ears. The techniques for the ear, however, are modified from auricular therapy, an acupuncture technique.  

What are benefits of reflexology? Reflexology has many general benefits, such as stress reduction, relieved anxiety, improved circulation, reduction of pain, boosting of the immune system and relaxation of tense musculature. Reflexology benefits are similar to other massage modalities and can be a great addition to your massage practice!   Whether reflexology improves certain conditions and diseases in still under investigation. Further scientific study needs to be done to determine definite benefits of reflexology with regard to illness and disease.

Reflexology is a great complement to standard medical care for health and well being. It should not take the place of medical advice or a replacement to medical treatment. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.

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