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Reflexology – parry p

History

Reflexology is developed in the decade of 1930 and though it is based on earlier theory by Dr. William Fitzgerald known as “Zone Therapy”, it has been credited to Eunice Ingham. According to Dr. Fitzgerald, specific parts of the body could have an anesthetic region which would work on another area. Developing this theory, he divided the body into ten equal vertical zones, ending in the fingers and toes. He had concluded that pressure on one part of the zone could provide anesthetic effect on other parts within that zone.

Theory

Reflexology believes that there is a “vital energy” that is circulating between various organs of the human body that penetrates into every unit of the body called cell. As this energy faces some obstacle, the zone will be affected, and the reflex zones can indicate the blockage of energy in different organs. Therefore, if someone has a problem in a particular organ, a reflexologist will press on the corresponding reflex zone or zones, and the person will experience pain at that point. This pain is considered to be originating from the deposition of crystals in the reflex zone and, with massage, these crystalline structures can be broken down and the pain is relieved. At the same time the pressure applied to the reflex zones by the reflexologist is considered to pass through the nerves to overcome energy blockages. In reflexology it is considered that working on the reflex areas of palms, base of the feet and ears can be the best natural treatment for various disorders and at the same time can be useful in the maintenance of the wellness.

Reported reactions

Case studies, not statistical conclusions, demonstrate that people treated by experts in reflexology report a lot of reactions, including the following:

During treatment

1. Feelings of relaxation, comfort, or well-being are observed during the procedure.
2. Nausea or discomfort due to emotional reactions.
3. Emotional impact may occur as one may feel like laughing or crying etc.
4. One may sigh, yawn, or fall asleep many times due to relaxing effect.
5. Temperature change either hot or cold in feeling.
6. A tingling sensation can be felt in the feet or through the body.

After treatment

1. Cold-like symptoms such as a running nose or congestion in the sinuses are cleared
2. A cough, as mucus is cleared from the lungs and respiratory system.
3. More frequent urination, bowel movements, or flatulence.
4. One fills energized.

Alleged long-term effects

It is also considered that reflexology shows many more long term effects. These effects mainly are related with the complete body relaxation and pain relieving effects in various parts of the body.

1. Reduced stress and induced relaxation: Many people try reflexology as their first foray into the world of massage, finding the treatment more relaxing than a general body massage. During the treatment, clients are only required to relax and expose their feet to the reflexologist. Treatment components also include soft music, essence oil and soft lighting, which combine to create a drowsy effect. Clients often fall asleep and describe the experience as the most relaxing hours of their day. After the treatment, they describe themselves as feeling “refreshed”.
2. Approximately 75% of all illnesses are said to be related to stress. Stress can lead to headache, neck and shoulder stiffness, as well as contracting the common cold. “Prevention is better than the cure”, it is said, and so it is not surprising to see the growing popularity of reflexology as a means of relieving stress.
3. Feeling of increased energy: It is claimed that reflexology opens pathways to renew ourselves and boost our energy level, immediately after treatment and for several days afterwards. It could keep us free from the feeling of lacking motivation, tiredness, and inability to concentrate. Reflexology advocates say that reflexology not only relieves symptoms, but also acts on improvements of our body as a whole.
4. Other alleged effects: Various acute and chronic conditions related with the body such as arthritis, stress related conditions, disorders related with sleep, sport related injuries, preventative therapy, improvement of mental alertness, stimulation of creativity and productivity and helping to improve inter-relationships between body systems.

Current practice

Reflexologists apply pressure on “reflex zones” found on the feet, hands and the ears, which are said to correspond to the different parts of the body. Application is done through thumb, finger and hand technique. Reflex areas, like hand and foot, composed of 7200 nerve endings are stimulated by pressure applied. An improved instruction to every gland, single part and organ of the body could be achieved by such a health science. The body is then believed to pursue a biologically correct, strengthened and reinforced state.

The reflex zones are organized in a way that represents the whole body.

First of all, there should be a preliminary talk with the practitioner before treatment. The reflexologist then begins to work on the client’s feet, or hands if necessary, noting problem areas. There may be discomfort in some places, but it is fleeting, and also an indication of congestion or imbalance in a corresponding part of the body. For the most of the part, the sensation is pleasant and soothing. Reflexology can help relax the client and is believed to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Usually a treatment session lasts for about one hour. For some cases, a treatment can last nearly two hours. A course of treatment varies in length depending on the need of the client body. The reflexologist will discuss this with the patient at the first session.

Reflexology is a widespread practice in Asia, where foot reflexology (also known as foot massage) is quite popular in the parts like kerala in India etc. Although many people are skeptical about the concepts underlying this practice, its use is spreading, perhaps because it is being taken simply as a relaxing massage therapy. It is not the practice that reflexologists use foot reflexology only, they prefer to use a combination of foot, hand and ear reflexology to obtain a much better result.

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