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Maria Wilson

Holistic Therapies
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What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a complementary therapy that treats the whole of the body through the stimulation of certain reflex points usually located on the feet, though occasionally on the hands.  Reflexologists, through this apparently simple foot massage, are able to help the body to heal itself by correcting any imbalances that can occur through illness, accident, disease or even lifestyle, correcting and maintaining the bodies natural equilibrium by restoring critical energy pathways that flow through the body, overcoming years of neglect and abuse    It is a safe, natural and gentle therapy that can be used on anybody, including the elderly, the infirm and even babies.

A Brief History of Reflexology

Whilst many people believe that Reflexology is a recent concept, its actual origins go back thousands of years.  Similar techniques to those currently practiced were used in India, China, Africa and many other parts of the world.  In an Egyptian tomb dating back to over 2000 BC, there are pictographs depicting reflexologists at work.

Unfortunately the knowledge and experience of these ancient practitioners was for a long time forgotten by the Western world and may have remained so if not for the early work of Dr Alfons Cornelius in 1893.  Convalescing himself, he experimented with massage techniques which became known as reflex massage.



In 1902 Dr William Fitzgerald realised the importance of massaging key areas of the body, forming what he called Zone Therapy.  These ideas were then further developed by Eunice Ingham who concentrated almost completely upon the feet. It was her pupil, Doreen Bayly, that finally brought the practice into the UK in 1966, and since then it has flourished.

Today Reflexology is one of the foremost complementary health treatments and more people and organizations, including the NHS, are making ever greater use of reflexologists and their skills.


How does Reflexology work?

Reflexology is a non-invasive method of stimulating reflexes in the feet and hands, through the medium of touch, which corresponds to every part, gland and organ of the body.

Gentle pressure is applied by hand to the soles and upper areas of the feet in a specific pattern that reflects the positions of the organs in the body. Imbalances within the body can be detected by sensitivities in the feet.

All areas of the feet are included so the experience is holistic – the body is treated as a whole not as a selection of symptoms.



What is Reflexology used for?

Reflexology can benefit many ailments and illnesses, both acute and chronic. Stress sufferers can benefit with the release of tension. Reflexology is a great preventative therapy, resulting in a well balanced and more harmonious body, resulting in better health.

Reflexology has been used for the improvement of general health, though it has been found to be highly effective at relieving stress, fatigue, sleep disorders, digestive disorders, ear complaints, constipation, menstrual problems, high blood pressure, headaches and migraines, sinus problems, arthritis, allergies, back and neck pains, and some skin conditions.


Are there any side effects to Reflexology?

As reflexology is non intrusive, there are very few side effects to treatment.  Most people feel very relaxed or sleepy, though some are highly alert and refreshed.  However, normally both types are fully refreshed the next day.  A common side effect is an increased number of visits to the toilet, as the body is flushing out toxins.  Some people may develop a few pimples.  An increase in the amount of water you drink will be recommended in the first 24 hours.

What’s in a typical session?

The first session is normally the longest as I will need to take your full medical and lifestyle history. From there I'll examine your bare feet. As I begin, I'll feel the reflex points of your feet, feeling for what seems to me to be gritty particles under the skin. These are indications of blockages which I will massage away. You shouldn't feel any discomfort but if you do, let me know as this is important information.

After this initial examination, I’ll be able to advise you how many more sessions you're likely to need.  These will need to be spread over a period of weeks to enable the body to heal itself effectively, and each session will be around 45 minutes in length.


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