Reflexology is one of the oldest forms of therapy that has been around for thousands of years the first real sign of reflexology came in the form of evidence whereby pressure massage was practiced in China and Egypt that dates back to 4,000BC. At this time, it was used because of its therapeutic effects while it was also believed that it could help to prevent many different diseases.
The Tomb of Ankhmahor, who was an Egyptian physician, was found with paintings on the wall and this dates back to 2,300BC. Thie painting depicts patients being administered hand and foot massages, proving that reflexology has an origin that runs deep into the history of past cultures. Many other cultures have also believed in reflexology and including Japanese and Indian and moving into the Middle Ages in Europe, it was known as Zone Therapy and this ultimately led to the modern-day reflexology that we know of today.
Reflexology is a holistic therapy (meaning that the treatment takes into account ALL aspects of a person – mental and social, not just physical), which has no known negative side effects and has been used successfully to treat many ailments from stress relief right the way to serious conditions such as cancer. By working on particular reflex points, a reflexology practitioner can improve circulation, clear the body of toxins and help to restore and sustain balance within the body.
With its popularity, we now offer therapies in the form on foot, hand, and even face reflexology and if you have taken to treating yourself to these therapies in a natural, organic lifestyle ( quite rightly so) then why not go that one step further and embrace the therapy and take it to your own home.
You can now learn how to treat yourself and your family members in a natural safe way including commonly treated ailments. Such as
- Hormone imbalances
- Back pain
- Migraines & Headaches
- Sleep disorders
- Digestive problems
- Circulatory problems
- Stress-related disorders
Though reflexology does not claim to diagnose or cure any ailments it is linked to a huge variety of potential benefits, and by working on your familys feet you are working on the nervous system which controls almost every aspect oy your health and wellbeing which can be influenced by outside factors, including touch.
In Layman’s terms, hands and feet provide a ‘map’ for your body’s organs, which, when targeted with gentle pressure can give indirect access to areas in need.
But it’s not just for those who have things that need fixing, reflexology is also a fantastic preventative measure as it helps to keep your body balanced. As with any traditional, Chinese medicine, the aim of the game is to create homeostasis – or in other words, equilibrium within yourself. This is important for everyone, ‘healthy’ or not, as the belief is that all illnesses are caused by some sort of imbalance in the first place.
What is Homeostasis
Reflexology promotes homeostasis; a state of harmony between body, mind ,and emotions. Benefits general well-being by restoring inner balance
Our brain is a powerful organ. From it comes instruction for solving problems and carrying out the duties of day-to-day life. For our bodies to function at their highest and best potential we need to maintain a state of homeostasis. To do this, we must access the many reflex areas on the surface of our skin. They are numerous on the bottom of the feet and hands, yet there are very important reflex areas in our ears and face, as well. This is the reason clients walk out our doors in a renewed sense of well being. They may have had a stress relieving facial or reflexology treatment on their hands or feet.
So can I do Reflexology at Home?
Whilst it is always recommended that you see a trained reflexologist for the best results and safety (especially when you have something in particular that needs treating or are pregnant), there are a few simple techniques that you can perform on yourself relatively easily, to help ease pains such as backaches, headaches, and just general stress and tension. It is also a wonderful thing to learn as a new parent to help get your little one off to sleep or soothe sore gums and tums!
Check out Head To Toe Therapies for more information on classes at www.headtotoetherapies.ie
So let’s have a look at some simple techniques for you to try yourself…
First, some simple tips to get you started
- Put on loose, comfortable clothes that you can move around in. Take off your socks and make sure to have some foot lotion or a good massage oil at the ready, while it is not totally necessary, luxurious foot cream or nourishing oil can help your thumb or fingers to glide across your skin and soften your feet
- Try a simple foot soak in warm water, this is a great way to relax your body.
- Dry your feet with a warm towel, having warm feet is a great way to keep circulation moving and for reflexology to work to its potential
- Circle the ankles in both directions to relax the joints and release any stiffness.
- Start by sitting cross-legged in a comfortable chair or on the floor. Before targeting specific points on the feet, I recommend gently massaging the whole foot to boost circulation and help you relax. Having warm towels or a blanket at hand is also a bonus, keeping one foot warm while you work on the other will stop you from getting cold and also keeps the circulation moving in the foot until you start working on it. If you have foot lotion, apply a little to your fingertips and rub it into the bottoms of your feet.
Doing the Moves
Reflexology traditionally uses a technique called “thumb walking” to stimulate the points. Start by applying moderate pressure to a point with your thumb, then make small circular motions and shuffle your thumb a step forward. Slowly walk your thumb to stimulate both the point itself and the surrounding zone. Truthfully, I don’t always use thumb walking and instead just drag my thumbs over the skin to activate the pressure points in a shorter amount of time or if you find thumb walking hard-on your joints and it does take time to get used to it you can also use your finger too.
How to do thumb walking
To thumb walk bend at the interphalangeal joint of your thumb, not bending beyond a 90 degree angle. Using your other hand to practice on, apply pressure onto the tip of your thumb. If you have nails, consider cutting them shorter so that you don’t feel the nail going into your hand. To move forward (i.e. thumb walk) you will be unbending the thumb slightly and then bending again, not letting go of too much of the pressure. By applying relatively continuous pressure and not lifting up your thumb, you will not miss any of the organs, glands, or areas of the body you are working on in the reflexology map
How to relieve neck tension
. Starting with the big toe, apply gentle pressure to the joint at the base of the toe to help relieve head and neck tension. Massage in short, circular motions for about 10–15 seconds before moving on to that joint in the next toe. You may find that you will have to adjust your thumb and fingers as you down the toes on each foot/
Continue massaging those same joints for all 5 toes, one at a time, before you move to the next foot and continue until you feel the tension in your neck dissolve.
How to relieve stress
When we feel stressed, one of the first places we feel it is in the chest area. To release tightness in the chest, use your thumb to apply pressure to the ball of your foot. After about 15 seconds, slowly walk your thumb around the entire pad of the foot to relax the shoulders, lungs, and thymus gland.
How to relieve back pain and sore muscles
If the muscles in your arms, legs, and shoulders feel tight, use your thumb to massage along the edge of the foot or glide as stated earlier, sometimes using two fingers gliding along the edge of the foot you can apply more pressure. Do for a few minutes before changing foot.