Reflexology is a treatment many people have heard of but they don’t really know a lot about it. Most have usually heard one of the many reflexology myths. These myths are usually about what a treatment can and can’t do for you.
Two of the most common reflexology myths are: it’s just a relaxing foot massage and a therapist can see your whole life story and ailments from touching your feet! Although elements of these two statements are true, there are many misconceptions about what reflexology is, how it works and what it can and cannot do for you. In this blog, I aim to dispel some of the myths around reflexology. But first:
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a powerful therapy that dates back thousands of years and is known to have been first practised by the Indian, Chinese and Egyptian peoples. Drawings of people working on the hands and feet can be seen on the walls of the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor which dates back to 2330 BC. Also, working on the feet is mentioned in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine which dates back to around 1000 BC.
In 1917, William H. Fitzgerald, MD, wrote about ten vertical zones that run the length of our body and correspond with different parts of the body. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist, took the zone therapy findings and derived the pressure point methods we use today which works on the principle that all areas of the body are represented in reflex points in the hands and feet. By applying pressure to these points your body can start the process of balancing and harmonising all of your body’s systems and organs.
Benefits of reflexology
Many studies have been done and documented the benefits of reflexology. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- it promotes deep relaxation and improves the quality of sleep
- it stimulates the immune system thereby reducing the frequency of colds, flu and infections
- it helps you to mental relaxation promoting clearer thinking
- it helps to reduce blood pressure
- it stimulates the nervous system helping you to manage stress levels
- it helps to reduce physical aches and pains including headaches and migraines.
Seven common reflexology myths
- Reflexology is only done on your feet – wrong. You can have a reflexology treatment on your feet, hands, ears and face. So if you don’t like your feet being touched, you have options. I perform my treatments on the feet and the face.
- Reflexology is just a massage – wrong. When you have a reflexology treatment, there is a level of massage involved. This is done mainly at the beginning of the treatment to help you to relax physically and mentally. The majority of the treatment involves stimulating reflex pressure points and helps to bring balance and harmony to all parts of your body.
- Reflexology is only good for physical conditions – wrong. As well as helping you to manage many physical conditions such as high blood pressure, IBS, aches and pains, reflexology can help you to manage mental and emotional conditions such as stress, anxiety, mental tension and depression. Reflexology is increasingly being used as a tool to help support and manage mental health.
- A reflexologist can diagnose illnesses – wrong. This, in my opinion, is one of the most misleading myths. Reflexologists are not medically trained so cannot diagnose illnesses and will never claim that they can. A reflexologist will be able to identify imbalances in different areas of the body which they will discuss with you. They may advise you to seek medical advice. Reflexology is a complementary therapy and works well alongside medical treatments.
- Reflexology has no medical basis – wrong. Many reputable studies have been done highlighting the benefits of reflexology treatments to support mental and physical health issues. Many hospices and consultants recommend reflexology treatments as an addition to the treatment and medication they prescribe.
- Reflexology always hurts – wrong. A treatment should feel soothing and relaxing. Your therapist will use gentle to medium pressure to access different areas around the body. If you feel any discomfort, let your therapist know.
- Reflexology tickles – wrong. The pressure used during a treatment is not too soft so that it feels ticklish. Most people who have ticklish feet are surprised by how comfortable their treatment is. If you really feel your feet are too ticklish, you can always consider having a treatment on your hands, ears or face.
I hope this blog has helped to dispel some of the most common reflexology myths. If this has whetted your appetite to find out how it would feel to have a reflexology treatment with me, book a Discovery Call and let’s have a chat.
Sharon lives with her partner, Geoff, in Warwickshire and they have two adult children. She worked for over 25 years in an office environment, gaining qualifications to degree level in finance, business, and management. While there Sharon witnessed and experienced many stressful situations and suffered illnesses that were stress-related.
Sharon was advised to make some changes to her lifestyle which included trying complementary therapies. After experiencing the benefits of complementary treatments, Sharon decided to retrain and share her knowledge and experiences to help others recognise and manage their own physical and emotional stress and anxiety levels.
She has been working as a complementary therapist for over 15 years now and loves helping people manage and reduce their stress levels to feel uplifted, focused, positive and empowered about their lives.