Practitioners believe that the feet (and, to a lesser extent, the hands) 'mirror' areas in the body which can be treated by massaging specific pressure points, stimulating energy flow to facilitate the body's own healing mechanisms. Reflexologists believe that the body is divided into ten vertical zones or channels, each running from the head down to the reflex areas on the feet. Pressure applied to nerve endings can influence the entire system, including circulation and lymph activity. This can lead to improved body functioning as nutrients and oxygen are transported more efficiently around the body and toxins eliminated more easily. Reflexologists aim to break down accumulations of waste matter concentrated around reflex points which have resulted in an imbalance in the body, making certain areas tender to the touch. It is believed that hard skin, corns, bunions and infections can be seen as external manifestations of problems in the body.
In ancient China and Egypt foot massage was considered highly beneficial. But it was American doctors in the early 20th century who developed a technique known as 'The Ingham Reflex Method of Compression Massage', claiming that all parts of the body could be treated by pressing relevant areas of the feet. Reflexology was introduced to the UK in the 1960s.
What to Expect
Patients are asked questions about their lifestyle, and past and present health; it is vital to tell the reflexologist about conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disorders, or if you are taking medication. Reflexology should not be given during the first three months of pregnancy. Clients lie barefoot on a couch and the reflexologist will manipulate the feet, varying pressure to suit the patient. Some people experience 'healing rash' after treatment.
For more information, see Reflexology.org
Training & Colleges
Educational requirements for members of various bodies vary from 60 to 100 hours of training.
Education & Training