Just Put Your Feet Up

Reflexology is more than just a foot massage. Each exact and precise touch you receive reflects a more profound healing technique, which aims to affect and promote overall balance and health.

Juicing, eating clean and green and breaking a sweat on the running machine are all good ways to detox, but sometimes don’t you just want to hang up the halo, put your feet up and let someone else do the work?

On the other hand, reflexology – a touchtherapy to the feet – can provide that bit of respite, help the detoxification process and give you some TLC at the same time. Reflexology is more than just a foot massage. Each exact and precise touch you receive reflects a more profound healing technique, which aims to affect and promote overall balance and health.

The therapy works on the theory that the foot, hands and even ears, are maps of the whole body. So specific areas – or ‘reflexes’ – on the foot relate to different organs of the body. When a specific kind of moving pressure is applied to them, corresponding areas of the body are said to receive attention. This has the effect of creating equilibrium for the whole person, and to those areas that are out of balance. Although the practice is based on theory, a series of fMRI brain scan studies, presented by the researchers at University of Hong Kong, highlighted how different parts of brain are activated when related reflexes are pressed on the foot.

The therapy can provide a solution for our nervous systems, which the stresses of modern life can compromise. Running 24/7 lifestyles, our digits attached to multiple communication technologies, means we are constantly on alert, taxing the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our get up and go. Our body’s desire for homeostasis, requires a greater harmony between the sympathetic nervous system, and its opposite number, the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for activating resting and digestive functions. Reflexology supports this balance, giving the sympathetic system a break, and the parasympathetic system, its chance to doimportant work whether towards digesting food, extracting nutrients, and flushing out waste, or even promoting an erection.

Other benefits are hailed by many reflexology fans; pain relief, whether for headaches, chronic back pain and during labour; relieving constipation and indigestion; supporting the maternity process; whilst the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines recognises its potential contribution towards managing some of the effects of Multiple Sclerosis.

As with massage, reflexology promotes circulation, the immune system and the detoxification process – but simply, without all the effort. Indeed receiving reflexology can be a deeply relaxing experience that is comparable, in terms of both relaxation and theory, to having a full body massage purely through the feet.

As the body receives this thorough cleanse, therapists can sense different qualities in the reflexes. These can represent energy blockages that can then be cleared. As well as putting your feet in the hands of your reflexologist, you can take the matter into your own hands too. Some reflexologists will recommend self-treatment in between visits and teach you to work on specific reflexes on your hands that are related to your health, whether physical or emotional. So if you are having difficulties with sleeping, anxiety, or a slow digestive system you can get to work before your reflexologist does.

Fiona Ludlow

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