"Helping you look after your body"
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century but has been know to have been used 5000 years ago in India and China. In the Doctor's Chamber in Saqqara in Egypt archaeologists have found a wall painting from 2330 BC showing doctors treating the soles of the feet (and the hands) of their patients with massage.
Energy based Therapy
Reflexology is an energy based therapy which is non-intrusive and is based on the theory that different points or zones on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body. It is based on the principle that there is a connection between the nerve endings in the feet and the organs of the body. By applying gentle pressure to specific points on the hands or feet, reflexology aims to help you relax and promotes health and wellbeing.
Research shows that a single reflexology session can create relaxation, reduce anxiety, diminish pain, improve blood flow and decrease high blood pressure.
The Zones of the Foot
The recognition of reflexology as a specific type of treatment began with Zone Theory, in which the body is divided into 10 vertical zones from the toes to the top of the head.
In reflexology theory, every organ, valve, muscle, etc. that lies within a zone can be accessed via a point or area on the feet or hands. These pathways between pressure points and other parts of the body are thought to be connected via the nervous system.
During treatment, I press on these points and in turn, the corresponding organ in the body is affected. Regardless of your health condition(s), for example, migraine, sciatica, hey fever etc… I use many different techniques and these may include all of the points on both feet.
By working all of the points, I focus on the internal organs and glands as well as muscle groups, bones, nerve ganglions (solar plexus, brachial plexus) and nerves (sciatic) during a session.
If you have a specific condition, such as Sinusitis, I will work the reflexes of the Sinuses and associated reflexes such as the head, lleocaecal valve, adrenals, chest/lung and lymphatics which correspond to the presenting problem. However, I will also work all areas of the foot with gentle pressure; because this allows the nerve pathways and congestion to release which in turn, promotes the relaxation response within the entire body.
I use finger or thumb pressure on each zone to find the problem area. I then apply gentle pressure which helps the corresponding part of the body to heal. The treatment usually lasts for an hour.
Benefits of Foot Reflexology
Balances the whole system
The technical term is homeostasis and it means being in a dynamic state of balance.
Helps Control Blood Pressure
When reflexology is performed regularly, it can help to lower your systolic blood pressure. As your body relaxes your cortisol levels decrease and in turn this may help to reduce blood pressure.
As reflexology is believed to help enhance the function of several other organs, many people report improvements to their energy levels. By improving the function of many accessory organs, the processing of food is likely to become more efficient and you experience a nice boost in energy as a result.
One of the well-known benefits of foot reflexology is its ability to improve blood flow throughout the whole body. Improved circulation translates to more efficient oxygenation of cells, and more rapid recovery following a workout or an injury.
Helps Promote Sleep
Thanks to its ability to improve the functioning of the nervous system, it also appears that neurotransmitters are better able to promote sleep and relaxation. Reflexology has also often been sought out to help manage insomnia, helping to restore your normal circadian rhythm.
Improves Liver Function
The liver has so many functions. The liver cleanses your blood, by eliminating harmful substances in your body like alcohol and other toxins. The reflexology points help the liver to function more efficiently.
Reduces Migraines and Headaches
Reflexology can help to reduce the pain associated with migraines, by decreasing the impact of the hormone cortisol on our blood vessels, reducing muscular tension and helping to calm us. Often headaches and migraines occur due to high stress levels or lack of sleep, both of which reflexology sessions can help you with.
Treatment Of Arthritis
New research suggests reflexology may help in the reduction of pain for common conditions such as osteoarthritis. It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.
Helps Minimise Symptoms of Depression
Reflexology has an ability to stimulate nerve functions helping your body increase your energy levels, circulation and in this way, it can aid in the prevention of migraines, clear urinary infections, sleep disorders and depression.
While depression is frequently caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitter levels, lack of sleep or high anxiety and stress levels can induce a state similar to depression. Regular reflexology sessions can help to minimise these symptoms, especially when under high stress.
Reflexology points for sinuses are situated at the back of all ten toes, opposite the nails and at the tip of all the fingers, excluding both thumbs. They can be located very easily and are representative of the sinus tissue. When activated, they can help mitigate the sinusitis symptoms which cause distress.
Helps Reduce Swollen Feet
Feet can become swollen for a number of reasons including :-
Standing or sitting in one place for long periods
Heat combined with physical exertion
Hormones released during pregnancy
Fluctuation in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle
Use of contraceptive pills or medications containing oestrogen
Excessive salt intake
Low levels of vitamin B1, B6 and B5 in diet.
Regardless of the cause, you need to find a way to remove excess fluid that is pooling in your feet and ease the discomfort. There are 10 pressure points on and near the foot that can be gentle palpated to help relieve the symptoms.
Many women experience symptoms of PMS just before their monthly menstrual period, occurring with emotional disturbances, irritability and fatigue. While foot reflexology is not the cure for these symptoms, it does help in dealing with them, often reducing their severity and shortening the length of time you experience them.
Who would benefit from a reflexology treatment?
The simple answer is: YOU, YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND WORK COLLEAGUES!
Taking time to relax is so important in our day-to-day lives. The stress and anxiety we feel due to work or responsibilities at home can be overwhelming. Dedicating time to take care of yourself can help to reduce these negative feelings. However, you can just come along to pamper yourself, enjoy the relaxation and experience the benefits of a reflexology treatment.
What happens during your foot Reflexology treatment?
Before treatment commences you will complete a consultation form and I will discuss any problems you may have and go through a brief medical history.
After removing your shoes and socks, you remain clothed and lie relaxed on a therapy couch. After cleansing the feet with a mild cleansing wipes, I apply gentle pressure to the soles of the feet concentrating on any areas that have been previously identified as requiring treatment.
Typically the treatment will last 60 to 90 minutes.
Reflexology to Contraindications
Reflexology is generally a safe and non-invasive therapy. The conditions for not giving treatment are known as contraindications and may include the following:-
• Acute inflammation of the circulatory or lymphatic system (for risk of triggering a thrombus)
• Acute undiagnosed pain
• Aeroplane flights within 24hr of flying
• Diarrhoea or vomiting
• Acute undiagnosed pain
• Gangrene (needs immediate medical attention)
• Haemorrhage (needs immediate medical attention)
• Organ transplants
• If you are due for medical tests or procedures (this is because reflexology may distort the results)
• Ischemic heart disease (angina pectoris, thrombosis, myocardial infarction, etc.)
• Acute rheumatic fever
• Diseases of the veins (phlebitis, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, renal vein thrombosis)
• Diseases of the vessels and lymph nodes (lymphomas, infections, etc.)
• Aneurysms (for the risk involved the heart work at a more forced)
• Pregnancies at risk of abortion
• Persons with foreign bodies lodged near vital organs.
• Injuries to the foot of such wounds, fractures, strains, sprains or other problems that make it hard to work directly on it.
Combining Foot Reflexology and Reiki (on both pages)
Reflexology and Reiki are both wonderful treatments on their own and used in combination adds to the benefit of both treatments. When these two treatments are combined in one session, it can be very beneficial. Reflexology is used to target known areas of physical discomfort and the Reiki takes the treatment deeper.
Reflexology allows the energy trapped in those reflexology points to release. Once that energy is released the body can then begin to heal itself. Reiki healing can take you into a deep relaxed state; in this state our body feels separate from our mind. I can then work to balance the energies of mind, body and spirit as the ‘mind chatter’ of the conscious mind is asleep. This is similar to what happens during meditation. We return to waking consciousness feeling calm, relaxed and refreshed. Changes in physical symptoms can also be apparent over a period of days and sometimes longer.
As a reflexologist and Reiki practitioner, some Reiki will always be added through the feet even when only reflexology is given. When they are deliberately combined the relaxation is often much deeper and may even create a quicker response time.
Taking time out to take care of your wellness needs is always beneficial and complementary therapies on a regular basis perhaps once a month, can prevent many ailments, as it lowers our stress levels, something science is beginning to recognise, but has long since been known by complementary therapists.
On your first visit a full confidential consultation will take place with me. (All therapists should adhere to the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998).
Greeting the Feet
The solar plexus is the most important reflex to work for calming and relaxing a person. The solar plexus is a network of autonomic nerves that is located in the abdomen, this innervates the digestive organs. Because of its integral role, the solar plexus is often referred to as the ‘abdominal brain’ or the ‘nerve switchboard’.
When we are stressed, tense and/or anxious, our lungs cannot easily expand, resulting in us shallow breathing or even holding our breath.When we relax and release the tension in our solar plexus and diaphragm, we can breathe freely and easily again, as our lungs can expand to their full capacity.
When looking at our chakras, the solar plexus, the third chakra, represents our power centre. It stands for the way we see ourselves
Effleuraging the Feet
Effleurage is a wonderful flowing movement that encourages lymphatic drainage, deep relaxation and promotes circulation throughout the whole body.
Reflexology is more than a simple foot massage. It is deeply relaxing experience in which a person can release not only physical tension, but also emotional and spiritual unease.
Ankle Stretch and Rotation of the Foot
Working the ankles helps to release any tension on the pelvic area, including the hips and sacral spine, and encourages circulation to the reproductive organs. In stretching and rotating the ankles the calf muscles are also stretched and this helps with any disorders to the ankles or wrists.
Clearing the Zones
Zone walking the soles of the feet is extremely calming and very balancing, it is wonderful for stress-related conditions or energetic imbalances.
Working with the Reflexes of the Toes
The reflexes for the brain, sinuses, outer ear, inner ear, eye, pineal, hypothalamus, pituitary, side of neck, cervical spine can all be found in the toes.
The eyes and ears are always worked together because anatomically, the inner ear lies directly behind the eye and so their reflexes overlap.
These reflex points may help tinnitus/ringing in ears and help clear congestion of the sinuses and Eustachian tube.
Urinary System and Associated Reflexes.
In order to maintain the efficient function of the urinary system, I work all the reflexes of this system. This helps to detoxify the body and to prevent or alleviate any blockages or inflammation.
Large Intestine Reflex
The large intestine is one of the main excretory organs of the body and should be worked in all conditions in which the body is struggling to eliminate waste. This includes digestive disorders such as constipation, as well as skin disorders such as acne, headaches, bad breath (halitosis) and fluid retention. It is also good for anyone suffering with fatigue or depression.
Working with the Top of the Foot
The reflexes of the breast/chest, lymphatic, groin, Vas Deferens and Fallopian tubes are located over the dorsal aspect of the foot. The health of the reproductive system is closely aligned to stress levels and emotions. It is also influenced by diet and nutrition. The Lymphatic reflexes of the chest, breast, head and neck region are found in the webbing between the toes in Zones 1-5. Finger walking between the metatarsals to will aid in lymphatic drainage.
Lymphatic nodes are areas in the body that filter and destroy harmful substances and they can become congested or inflamed, especially when a person is not well. Anyone with oedema, poor immunity, lethargy and fatigue would benefit from this work.
Reflexes of the Hip,Knee and Leg
The hips, knee and leg are treated together and are located on the lateral side of the feet. The pelvis, testes/ovaries, gluteal area, lower back, arm and shoulder are also treated. Finger walking and deep thumb rotation is used if you suffer from hip, knee, leg or foot problems. I will also incorporate work on the lower spine and sciatic nerve reflexes.
Hot stone and reflexology
Hot stones can be incorporated into a reflexology treatment to further enhance the benefits of the treatment. The heat helps to relax the muscles in the feet allowing me to work deeper but still gently, into the reflex areas. The stones are composed of basalt, a volcanic rock, which due to its high density retains heat well.