Reflexology is another form of massage therapy. Similar to shiatsu, it is a physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques without the use of lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect the human anatomy on both the feet and hands which in theory have significant effects on the entire body.
This form of massage therapy has been around for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence that suggests this was used by the Egyptians in 2330 BC, China in 2704 BC and Japan in 690 BC. The West only knew about reflexology in the 19th century.
Although reflexology is usually applied to the feet and hands, there are those who also apply the same thing to the ear. This technique is considered to be a modified from auricular therapy which is an acupuncture technique.
In general, reflexology is used to reduce stress because both the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body. If you are able to fix that, then there is balance in the body. It can also help those who are suffering from arthritis, back pain, digestive disorders or problems, hormonal imbalance, insomnia, menstrual disorders, sports injuries and tension headaches.
You must never go for reflexology if you are pregnant, have foot ulcers or blood clots. If you are doing this for the first time, you better tell the professional your medical history.
Whether reflexology can help certain conditions and diseases is still being determined. But even if other tests need to be made, many experts agree that it is complement to standard medical care. With that said, patients should never use it as a replacement to medical help.
The best part about reflexology is that it is not painful. If this happens, you should tell the reflexologist to go down one notch. If there are certain areas in the body that are sore, tell them to focus on it as this will decrease with pressure.
Reflexology can be done at anytime and anywhere. If you have the time, you can even do this once a day. In fact, given its popularity most hospitals and HMO's now consider this for insurance reimbursement as it is often used for post-operative or palliative care. In fact, one third of cancer patients undergo reflexology regularly.
Most sessions being conducted by practitioners may last from 30 minutes to an hour. It is also a clothed session so the only thing you have to remove is your shoes and socks. You don't even have to lie down on a table because some will perform this while you are seated on a chair.
At the end of each session, you should feel relaxed. How long it lasts is a good indicator as to how effective it was. If you will be having another session in the future, you should give feedback to the reflexologist so they know what to do the next time you drop by.
Reflexology is another form of massage therapy you can try if you want to relieve tension from the body. If you are interested in trying it, all you have to do is check if there is one within your neighborhood.