Healing through hands and feet
Reflexology, often called zone therapy is a science that believes there are reflex points in the hands and feet that correspond to the organs and systems of the body. Reflexology is considered an alternative, complementary, or integrated medicine method of treatment and involves the physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hand with specific thumb, finger and hand techniques without the use of lubricant. It is not used to replace proper medical treatment, but in conjunction with it or as stress relief. Foot reflexology is much more commonplace than hand although the latter is gaining more popularity.
Reflexologist say that the body is divided into ten equal longitudinal (vertical) zones, five on the right and five on the left. There are also three transverse lines, the upper region of the shoulder girdle, the waistline, and the pelvic floor. The belief in reflexology is that each organ or part of the body is represented on the hands and feet and that massaging the specific areas on the hands or feet can have therapeutic effects in other parts of the body. This works because pressure on the represented zone will stimulate the flow of energy, blood, nutrients, and nerve impulses to the corresponding body part and thereby relieve stress or ailments in the corresponding body part. Reflexologists claim that foot reflexology can cleanse the body of toxins, increase circulation, assist in weight loss, and improve the health of organs throughout the body. It is said to remove blockages to allow ‘qi’ or life-force into the organs, and improve energy flow.
Reflexology can be performed by a trained reflexologist or can be done by one at home using a reflexology chart, as seen in the images as a guide. The chart maps out the various zones that correspond to the body parts. To do it yourself -
Step 1) Familiarize yourself with the various zones and points as per the charts. The left hand or foot reflects the left side of the body, and the right hand or foot reflects the right side of the body.
Step 2) To warm up, apply pressure to the insides of the feet and hands to activate the spine reflexes and pressure to the outsides to activate arm and shoulder reflexes.
Step 3) Move on to the head and neck. The fingers and toes correspond to these and stimulate the brain, eyes, ears and sinuses.
Step 4) Massage the balls of the feet to activate the chest, upper back, heart and lungs reflexes.
Step 5) Focus on any other areas you think require attention. You might find lumps, hardened skin such as calluses, in any trouble spots that may call for more pressure, or more frequent practise.
There are also now many reflexology products available on the market from special footwear with raised nodules that massage the reflex points of the foot, enhancing blood circulation. There are also reflexology gloves and socks that will indicate zones for you.
Reflexology comes under a bit of controversy and is criticised as a working science as there seems to be a lack of licensing and accreditation. Although there are testaments to relief from reflexology there is also a absence of research and empirical evidence.