The origins of reflexology can be dated back to ancient Egypt where inscriptions describing reflexology are written on the walls of physician’s tombs. After a brief explanation of reflexology, hieroglyphics in the city of Saqqara move on to quote a reflexologist pledging, “I shall act so you praise me.” We love a confident doctor! Since, this reflexologist’s promise has been upheld by modern Zone Therapy pioneers, such as Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, Dr. Edwin Bowers, Dr. Shelby Riley, and Eunice D. Ingham. Along with their brilliant work in healing, many studies that prove the undeniable benefits of reflexology have been published by the National Institutes of Health. As more benefits emerge, research continues!
Now, you may want to know what reflexology is exactly. We promise you, true reflexology may not be what you think. Many associate reflexology with acupuncture, or something as simple as a foot massage. This is not the case! Reflexology, its own entity entirely, focuses on the feet and occasionally the ears and hands. As we know, the body is very connected. Doctors from the past took that knowledge and mapped out points along the feet that communicate with specific organs and organ systems. For example, the big toe alone holds points for the brain, pituitary gland, sinuses, ears, and parathyroid glands. Wow! Now, imagine all the mapped points for the entire foot!
Reflexology aims at balancing the energy, or the “Qi”, of the body by manually applying firm pressure to these points. If an area of the body is in pain, it is considered to have “blocked” energy. When pressing on the point associated with the body part in pain, your reflexologist is stimulating, rebalancing, and opening up the blocked communication to that organ. When the pain has eased, the body’s “Qi” has begun flowing again. Because the technique stimulates the nerve system instantaneously, many may feel slight discomfort in sensitive areas at first. There is no need to worry when this happens. Your reflexologist will talk you through the discomfort and at times may suggest breathing techniques that will encourage immediate relaxation. Once you have relaxed, the benefits of reflexology will be immediately noticed.
Still not sure or convinced? For those who are still skeptical, modern-day science has a more in-depth explanation of how reflexology works. The word to know is endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural way of relieving stress and pain. Throughout observational and experimental research, it has been shown that when a reflexologist stimulates a point associated with the area of the body that has chronic pain, a significant number of endorphins are released (Embong, Ming, et al, 2015). These endorphins interrupt the pain receptors and minimize the patient’s feeling of pain. Why is this a good thing? In the medical world, it is widely understood that stress contributes to 80% of the development of chronic illness. So, when a patient’s chronic pain is eased, his or her body will not act as if it is under stress. The less stressed the body is, the fewer stress hormones are released and the lower overall levels of inflammation. When inflammation has decreased, mobility, nerve communication, circulation, mental wellness, energy levels, biological functionality, and overall well-being will increase. Those sound like some wonderful benefits to us!