The Background to Reflexology:
Reflexology is certainly not new. The art of Reflexology can be traced back to 2330 B.C. in ancient Egypt and also in India and China. Reflexology as we know it today is attributed to the work of Eunice Ingham, an American Therapist.
Eunice mapped out reflex points on the feet and hands that correspond to all of the organs, glands and parts of the body. Her original work is taught exclusively by the school that she founded, The International Institute of Reflexology.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy widely accepted in the UK and recognised by the NHS, many GPâ€™s and hospices. By applying pressure to the reflex points on the hands and/or feet, the blood circulation is improved, the body relaxes and organs and glands become balanced. Doctors agree that over 75% of our health problems can be linked to nervous stress and tension. Reflexology is fantastic for relaxing and clearing these blockages.
Reflexology is not a beauty therapy or a foot massage; it is a clinical treatment with proven results. It is totally safe for people of all ages, from babies to the elderly, for pregnant women and those undergoing Chemotherapy.
A typical foot reflexology treatment lasts 45-50 minutes and it is generally recommended that a course of 4-6 weekly treatments is considered, however the frequency of treatments is up to you, and may vary depending on your state of health and long term objectives.
Whilst reflexology works very well alongside conventional medicine, it should never be used in place of seeking professional medical advice.
The International Institute of ReflexologyÂ® does not purport to teach medical practice in any form. Reflexology is a unique modality in the health field. Its purpose is not to treat or diagnose for any specific medical disorder, but to promote better health and well being in the same way as an exercise or diet programme.
What to expect
If you have never experienced reflexology before, you may be a little nervous prior to attending your first appointment. A professional Reflexologist will soon put you at your ease and will give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
You will never be asked to undress for reflexology. The only clothing to be removed is socks or tights and your shoes. It is best to wear lose comfortable clothing so that you feel relaxed.
At the start of your first session, a professional practitioner will conduct a thorough health, diet and lifestyle consultation. This will involve finding out about any medication that you take, recent operations and illnesses and your reasons for trying reflexology. Do ensure that you tell the Reflexologist everything, no matter how minor a symptom may seem.
Having built up a picture of your current state of health, the practitioner will explain how reflexology works and will then examine your feet and/or hands. You will be asked to put your feet up on a special foot stool or you may be reclined in a chair or asked to lie on a couch.
The practitioner may play gentle relaxing music during your treatment or may burn oils or candles to add to the tranquil atmosphere.
The treatment will begin with some gentle relaxation techniques followed by applying pressure to each of the reflex points. You may wish to close your eyes and relax or you might prefer to chat during your session, this is entirely up to you.
Your Reflexologist may apply a small amount of cream or powder to help them to work their fingers and thumbs across the reflex points on your feet. They usually work on one foot at a time. The pressure should be firm but not painful.
Different reflexes spark different sensations, some might feel like a sharp pin sticking into the foot - this is not the Practitionerâ€™s nails, but crystal deposits under the skin where an area is imbalanced.
During the first treatment, it is quite common not to feel anything, although the Reflexology will still be effective. Often it takes a couple of treatments to â€˜awakenâ€™ the reflexes. You may find that during subsequent treatments your feet will become more sensitive. Be aware that certain medication, serious illnesses or nerve damage can dull the sensations but not the effectiveness.
Do tell your Reflexologist if and when you feel anything that is sore, tender or sharp, as they will be able to work this area in many different ways to help rectify any problems.
The Reflexologist will work both hands and/or feet during the course of a full treatment and may revisit certain areas repeatedly to help balance particular reflexes.
Your practitioner will make notes following your session so that improvements can be noted at future appointments. All information recorded will be treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act and will remain totally confidential.
After your treatment, you will be advised to drink plenty of fresh water (ideally at least 8 glasses in 24 hours), to help flush toxins from your body. It is also recommended that you avoid alcohol and eat only light meals.
A typical treatment will last 45-50 minutes and it is generally recommended that you have 4-6 weekly treatments initially, although reflexology is safe to have more frequently if required.
Treatments provided for children or anyone seriously ill may be shorter and more frequent. With all appointments, the practitioner will customise the treatment plan to meet the clientâ€™s needs.
CLICK HERE to find a Reflexologist near you.
Â© 2008 IIR (UK)
This information is reproduced with the kind permission of Jennie Levick from the International Institute of Reflexology.
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