How does the ancient healing therapy reflexology work?
I admit to being slightly squeamish at the thought of a full body massage by anyone other than an intimate other, and I can honestly say that I only enjoyed one of the four professional massages I’ve had in my entire life. The others were cringey in the extreme. A little reflexology, however, has always seemed like a good idea. I find the fact that each tiny part of the foot connects meaningfully to other body parts fascinating. Fumie ( raku- comodo.com), a registered reflexology therapist, gave me the most relaxing treatment my feet have ever had, using oils and working on one foot at a time.
I noticed that certain areas were quite sensitive to pressure, like the base of my big toe, for example. This connects to the hypothalamus, linking nervous tissue to the pituitary gland, which regulates hormones that affect blood pressure and metabolism, some sex organs, water regulation and pregnancy. This area is often tender when some pressure is applied, Fumie explained, but could this also be a sign of my ageing hormones preparing to read me the riot act?
A lot of time is spent massaging really small areas around the toes, so that seemingly insignificant body parts start to become awakened. When Fumie pressed on the lower end of the foot above the heel, which connects to the small intestinal tract and digestive system, the slight pain I felt indicates I may have some clogged-up energy there. One of these days I’ll get round to a detox. Every part of the massage that caused some sensitivity, particularly in my back and joints, suggested that I ought to do some gentle stretching or yoga, or perhaps better still, make an appointment with an osteopath.
Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary health therapy, which can be practised on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears. It often appeals to those like me who don’t like too much stranger intrusion; I’m certainly no therapy junkie! Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside allopathic health care to promote better health for their clients.
Reflexology is an ancient therapy and an art form because the way in which each practitioner works is unique. It takes about a year to train as a practitioner but it has been practiced for over 5,000 years and was introduced to the West over 100 years ago.
Reflexology adherents say that wellbeing is increased through the practise cumulatively, so the more frequently you have it the better and more energised you feel. This seems especially important in today’s stressed- out world. I felt like falling asleep almost instantly, but apparently there are different reactions. Some people feel the urge to talk and others feel invigorated. After Fumie left, I slept for two hours and when I awoke I felt like a new person, much more centred and relaxed. I think my feet actually looked different too, somehow.
When I talked to Tracey Smith, a member of the Association of Reflexologists, who almost accidentally became a reflexologist, she told me that quite a lot of women are finding reflexology useful in conceiving a child because of its relaxing benefits. The Association of Reflexologists is the main and definitive body that will ensure that the practitioners registered have been trained to a sufficient standard and, if you want to try this amazing therapy, it has an excellent website full of useful information. The handy “find a reflexologist” service can help you find a well-trained and insured reflexologist local to you.
Reflexology is something I’ll definitely do regularly now; it seems like a luxury born of necessity.
ALENA DIERICKX SUBMITS TO THE SKILLS OF A REFLEXOLOGIST Each tiny part of the foot connects to other body parts