Definition: Defining the Meaning of Reflexology
Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body. Reflexology was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872-1942), an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and Dr. Edwin Bowers. Fitzgerald claimed that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body.
What is Reflexology
Reflexology, also called zone therapy, is a type of ayurveda alternative healing treatment and involves the practice of massaging, squeezing, or pushing on parts of the feet, or sometimes the hands and ears, with the goal of encouraging a beneficial effect on other parts of the body, or to improve general health.
Reflexology is a science which deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. Stimulating these reflexes properly can help many health problems in a natural way, a type of preventative maintenance. Reflexology is a serious advance in the health field and should not be confused with massage.
Reflexologists believe that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all the glands, organs, and parts of the body. They have a unique method of using their thumb and fingers on these reflexes to find areas of congestion and tension and then work these out to help the body work more efficiently.
When we experience stress, illness or injury, our body becomes out of balance and vital energy flow becomes blocked. In a reflexology session tension is released, circulation and elimination improve and pain decreases through the release of endorphins. Reflexology restores natural balance.
Ayurveda Reflexology differs from other forms of reflexology you may have experienced.
Instead of working on dry feet. Special attention is paid to toes, as Prana is believed to be stored in joints.
Ayurveda Reflexology uses oils specifically selected according to the dosha(s) out of balance at the time of treatment.
Such base oils include: sesame, coconut, mustard and ghee.
Other essential oils used may include holy basil, cardamon, cedar wood, cinnamon, fennel, frankincense, ginger, lime, patchouli, rose, sandalwood and vetiver.
Many proponents 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.
The body is divided into 10 longitudinal zones with five on each side of the human body.
- Each organ or part of the body is represented on the hands and feet
- The practitioner diagnoses abnormalities by feeling the hands or feet
Massaging or pressing each area can stimulate the flow of blood, nutrients, energy, and nerve impulses to the corresponding body zone and thereby relieve ailments in that particular zone.
Reflexologists use a reflexology chart which is a map of the foot, as well as a hand and ear chart, showing the specific locations of corresponding body parts as their nerves are represented in the foot. The chart shows which nerve to manipulate for each body part. It is interesting that the left and right foot reflect the left and right side of the body and the heart, lungs, chest and upper back are located in the ball of the foot.
Quick Facts: Reflexology History
Because reflexology is an ancient practice, its origin and history is difficult to track. However, reflexology is thought to have been passed down through an oral tradition, and possibly first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor infeet imprints 2330 BC along with other medical procedures.
Reflexology symbols are also thought to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China. The Chinese classic, the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, which was written around 1,000 BC, has a chapter on "Examining Foot Method" and is the beginning of discussions in print about the connection of life force and points and areas on the feet.