What is Reflexology?
One of the most important benefits of reflexology therapy is its ability to bring the body into a deep state of relaxation - which counteracts the effects of stress.
What you may not know is that there are reflex points all over the feet that correlate with every part, gland and organ in the body. Yes, our feet are amazing and complex!
A reflex is an involuntary, or automatic, action that your body does in response to stimulation - without you even having to think about it. To understand this, you might think of the way your leg kicks when the doctor taps your knee with that little rubber hammer.
During a reflexology treatment, the therapist uses precise finger and thumb techniques to apply firm, but gentle pressure to these reflex points all over the feet and provide stimulation to other areas all throughout the body.
This stimulation helps the body to relax deeply and release tension, allowing the body to then restore itself to its natural state of function and healing capabilities. Isn't that wonderful!
The other great thing about reflexology is that it's one of the safest and least invasive complementary therapies available. All you have to do is remove your shoes and socks, then simply lay back and relax.
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What are the Health Benefits of Reflexology?
Doctors agree that over 75% of health problems can be linked to nervous stress and tension, and studies show that chronic stress causes inflammation, affects your digestive tract, messes with your immune system, can muddle your brain and make you feel crummy all over. Luckily, a reflexology treatment can help to counteract these uncomfortable issues in the following ways:
Stress ReductionReflexology brings about a deep state of relaxation to the mind and body. In this state, the body's physiological processes can function optimally, supporting any much-needed healing and bringing you back to a state of balance.
Improved CirculationBy reducing stress and tension with a reflexology treatment, the cardiovascular vessels can more easily conduct the flow of blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients to all the cells, as well as removing waste products and other toxins from the body.
Stimulated Nerve FunctionReflexology stimulates more than 7,000 nerve endings in each foot, encouraging the opening and clearing of neural pathways - which connect one part of the nervous system to another. The stimulation also interrupts pain pathways, making reflexology a natural and non-toxic method of pain relief.
Improved Immune SystemReflexology stimulates the lymphatic system, which cleanses the body of toxins and impurities and reduces our risk of infection. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, which strengthens the immune system and fills you with an enhanced sense of well-being.
Increased EnergyReflexology revitalises energy throughout the body by relaxing and opening up pathways between the energy systems.These systems influence the health of your mitochondrion, respiratory system, circulatory system, and muscle growth - all of which improve overall wellness.
Increased Sense of Well-beingA reflexology treatment provides a period of time where the client has one-to-one attention while receiving therapeutic touch. Thanks to neuroscientist, Edmund Rolls, we know that touch activates the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion. There are other studies showing that touch soothes and calms cardiovascular stress. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger the release of oxytocin, also known as “the love hormone.”
Reflexology helps to manage many common ailments such as:
- digestive issues
- hormonal issues
- musculoskeletal pain
What Happens During my Session?
We'll begin by reviewing your Health Record and answering any questions you may have about what happens during your reflexology treatment. Next, you'll be nested (fully clothed, with only your socks removed) on a comfy massage table with a heated mattress pad, a blanket, and pillows under your head and legs. Then, I will clean your feet with a blend of Witch Hazel and water (a natural antiseptic and antibacterial solution) and do a foot assessment, checking for open wounds, rashes, sores, plantar warts or bunions, or any foot or leg pain that I need to be aware of.
I will begin with some gentle warm-up techniques on your feet before I seamlessly move into the reflexology treatment where I apply gentle, but firm pressure, using my hands and fingers, to the different reflex points all over the feet. My goal is for you to reach a deep state of relaxation, so your body can rest and repair. If there is any discomfort felt, or tender areas on your feet, you are encouraged to let me know immediately, and I will make any necessary adjustments. To end the session, I give a gentle foot massage, leaving you feeling relaxed from head to toe.
After about 50 - 60 minutes on the table, you’ll be left alone for a small period of time (5 - 10 minutes) to rest and integrate. After the time is up, you will gently rise from the table, enjoy a glass of water, and check in with me about what you experienced. How great does that sound?
What Does Reflexology Feel Like?
I have found that everyone's experience is a little different (and can differ from session to session for each person), but here's an idea of what some clients have experienced:
Early in the treatment, reflexology brings a deep sense of support, relaxation, and calm as your busy mind and tense body begins to relax. Although it varies, you may enter a dream-like state or enjoy a catnap. Most folks feel amazing afterwards – peaceful, balanced, and happy – and feel more comfortable in their body.
How Often Should I Receive Reflexology?
Reflexology has a cumulative effect on the body, session by session, reflex by reflex, gently nudging the body back to balance. It is comparable to the difference between going to the gym once for 30 minutes, or going regularly over time. To maintain health and well-being, I suggest a minimum of once a month, and if you are experiencing acute or chronic discomfort, more frequent treatments (from 48 hours to 1 week apart) will give you quicker relief. In any case, taking time out for relaxation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself!
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