Details of Daily Deals
Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain by stimulating predefined pressure points on the feet and hands.This controlled pressure alleviates the source of the discomfort. In the absence of any particular malady or abnormality,reflexology may be as effective for promoting good health and for preventing illness as it may be for relieving symptomsof stress, injury, and illness.
Reflexologists work from maps of predefined pressure points that are located on the hands and feet. These pressurepoints are reputed to connect directly through the nervous system and affect the bodily organs and glands. Thereflexologist manipulates the pressure points according to specific techniques of reflexology therapy. By means of thistouching therapy, any part of the body that is the source of pain, illness, or potential debility can be strengthened throughthe application of pressure at the respective foot or hand location.
Reflexology promotes healing by stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood. In the process,reflexology not only quells the sensation of pain, but relieves the source of the pain as well.
Anecdotally, reflexologists claim success in the treatment of a variety of conditions and injuries. One condition isfibromyalgia. People with this disease are encouraged to undergo reflexology therapy to alleviate any of a number ofchronic bowel syndromes associated with the condition. Frequent brief sessions of reflexology therapy are alsorecommended as an alternative to drug therapy for controlling the muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia and forrelieving difficult breathing caused by tightness in the muscles of the patient’s neck and throat.
Reflexology applied properly can alleviate allergy symptoms, as well as stress, back pain, and chronic fatigue. Thetechniques of reflexology can be performed conveniently on the hand in situations where a session on the feet is notpractical, although the effectiveness of limited hand therapy is less pronounced than with the foot pressure therapy.
Reflexology is a healing art of ancient origin. Although its origins are not well documented, there are reliefs on the wallsof a Sixth Dynasty Egyptian tomb (c. 2450 B.C.) that depict two seated men receiving massage on their hands and feet.From Egypt, the practice may have entered the Western world during the conquests of the Roman Empire. The conceptsof reflexology have also been traced to pre-dynastic China (possibly as early as 3000 B.C.) and to ancient Indianmedicine. The Inca civilization may have subscribed to the theories of reflexology and passed on the practice of thistreatment to the Native Americans in the territories that eventually entered the United States.
In recent times, Sir Henry Head first investigated the concepts underlying reflexology in England in the 1890s. Therapistsin Germany and Russia were researching similar notions at approximately the same time, although with a different focus.Less than two decades later, a physician named William H. Fitzgerald presented a similar concept that he called zoneanalgesia or zone therapy. Fitzgerald’s zone analgesia was a method of relieving pain through the application of pressureto specific locations throughout the entire body. Fitzgerald divided the body into 10 vertical zones, five on each side, thatextended from the head to the fingertips and toes, and from front toback. Every aspect of the human body appears inone of these 10 zones, and each zone has a reflex area on the hands and feet. Fitzgerald and his colleague, Dr. EdwinBowers, demonstrated that by applying pressure on one area of the body, they could anesthetize or reduce pain in acorresponding part. In 1917, Fitzgerald and Bowers published Relieving Pain at Home, an explanation of zone therapy.
Later, in the 1930s, a physical therapist, Eunice D. Ingham, explored the direction of the therapy and made the startlingdiscovery that pressure points on the human foot were situated in a mirror image of the corresponding organs of the bodywith which the respective pressure points were associated. Ingham documented her findings, which formed the basis ofreflexology, in Stories the Feet Can Tell, published in 1938. Although Ingham’s work in reflexology was inaccuratelydescribed as zone therapy by some, there are differences between the two therapies of pressure analgesia. Among themore marked differences, reflexology defines a precise correlation between pressure points and afflicted areas of thebody. Furthermore, Ingham divided each foot and hand into 12 respective pressure zones, in contrast to the 10 verticaldivisions that encompass the entire body in Fitzgerald’s zone therapy.
In 1968 two siblings, Dwight Byers and Eusebia Messenger, established the National Institute of Reflexology. By theearly 1970s the institute had grown and was renamed the International Institute of Reflexology.
In a typical reflexology treatment, the therapist and patient have a preliminary discussion prior to therapy, to enable thetherapist to focus more accurately on the patient’s specific complaints and to determine the appropriate pressure pointsfor treatment.
A reflexology session involves pressure treatment that is most commonly administered in foot therapy sessions ofapproximately 40-45 minutes in duration. The foot therapy may be followed by a brief 15-minute hand therapy session.No artificial devices or special equipment are associated with this therapy. The human hand is the primary tool used inreflexology. The therapist applies controlled pressure with the thumb and forefinger, generally working toward the heel ofthe foot or the outer palm of the hand. Most reflexologists apply pressure with their thumbs bent; however, some alsouse simple implements, such as the eraser end of a pencil. Reflexology therapy is not massage, and it is not asubstitute for medical treatment.
Reflexology is a complex system that identifies and addresses the mass of 7,000 nerve endings that are contained inthe foot. Additional reflexology addresses the nerves that are located in the hand. This is a completely natural therapythat affords relief without the use of drugs. The Reflexology Association of America (RAA) formally discourages the useof oils or other preparations in performing this hands-on therapy.