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Origins of Reflexology
The earliest documentation found showing the practice of Reflexology was found in an Egyptian tomb, dated around 2500 BC, where paintings depicting patients receiving reflexology were discovered.
Over the years there have been various forms of reflexology practised and developed in America, Africa and Asia.
In the 1900’s, Dr William Fitzgerald became one of the pioneers of modern reflexology carrying out experiments with the feet on patients with pain relief for minor surgery, as a result “zone therapy” was discovered, with energy lines running through the body and subsequently a lot of modern reflexology is based on this idea.
In the 1930’s Eunice Ingham developed a technique, which forms the basis of the way reflexology is practised around the World today. She made the feet specific targets as they are very sensitive and developed maps of the entire body on the feet.
She also developed a method of using the thumbs and fingers known as the Ingham compression technique, where the pressure is applied by “thumbwalking”, where the thumb or finger bends and straightens whilst working the feet.

Foot Reflexology

How Reflexology Works?

Reflexology is a non-invasive, relaxing and therapeutic treatment that helps to identify areas of the body that are not functioning well and helps to improve both physical and mental health.

Reflexology is a therapy in which pressure is applied to the reflex points on the feet or hands.

It is based on the principle that all of the vital organs and different parts of the body are mapped out on the feet and hands.

The feet are normally worked on in a Reflexology treatment, as they contain a larger treatment area and the reflex points are easier to identify and are more responsive to the therapy. 

However sometimes the therapist will not be able to carry out a treatment on the feet, so the hands can be used instead and this is just as effective.

The position of the reflexes on the soles of the feet normally reflect the corresponding position of the different organs and parts of the body (e.g. The big toe at the top of the foot represents the head) and therefore by applying pressure on a reflex point it can affect these structures.

The right foot maps out the right side of the body and the left foot maps out the left side.

The Reflexology Treatment 

The treatment on the feet is carried out using either cream, oil or powder and normally lasts one hour. 

The right foot is worked on first followed by the left foot and the treatment consists of the following:

Cleansing of the feet 

The feet are cleansed normally using surgical spirit.

Relaxation of the feet

The feet are massaged using a range of movements that are designed for comfort and to melt away tension not only in the feet but in the whole body.

The Treatment Sequence
The treatment sequence is divided into the following areas, with each area being worked in turn:
  • Head and neck area-the toes
  • Thoracic area-the ball of the foot
  • Abdominal area-the arch
  • Pelvic area-the heel
  • Reproductive area-the ankles
  • Spine-the medial foot
  • Outer body-the lateral foot
  • Circulation-the dorsal foot

Four different reflexology techniques are used during the treatment and these are, walking, circling, hooking and rocking which help to access the reflex points on the feet. 

Finishing the Treatment

The treatment is concluded by placing the tips of the thumbs on the solar plexus reflex area of both feet, pressure is then applied to the reflex whilst the client breaths in slowly and deeply. 

Adapting a Treatment
The treatment can be adapted accordingly due to age or health issues. 
1. When treating the older generation, a lighter pressure is used with a slow, gentle rhythm.
2. If a client is suffering from a painful condition then the treatment can help to reduce the effects by stimulating the endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.
3. The treatment can also be adapted to ease the effects of stress and pain on the terminally ill.

4. It is also useful in speeding up the healing process after surgery.

After Care Advice
To achieve the maximum benefits from the treatment then all of the following guidelines need to be considered:
1. Drink plenty of water to help with the body’s natural detoxification process
2. Only consume a light meal to allow the body to use its energy for healing
3. No alcohol for 24 hours 
4. Enjoy a relaxing rest immediately after the treatment
5. Reduce the consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol

6. Take more time out for yourself and use stress relieving techniques such as correct breathing, yoga, meditation and relaxation to promote a feeling of calmness

Reactions to Reflexology
After the treatment, the body can suffer a reaction and this may vary according to the physical and emotional condition of the individual. This is known as a “healing crisis”, whereby symptoms may appear worse before they improve. This is a cleansing process as the body rids itself of toxins and this reaction will only be temporary.
  Below is a list of reactions that may occur after your treatment:
1. Short-term worsening of symptoms
2. Feeling very relaxed
3. Sleeping more deeply than normal
4. Heightened emotional state, which could be crying, laughter and depression
5. Increase in urination
6. An increase in energy levels

7. Feeling hot or cold

There are many positive reactions from receiving a Reflexology treatment and below is a list of those:
1. A relief from long-term stress
2. Encourages the body to heal itself from any current disorders
3. Helps to improve the immune system
4. Improves circulation
5. Brings about a deep state of relaxation
6. Clears the body of toxins and eliminates waste products from the body
7. Eliminates waste products from the body
8. Pain relief
9. Creates the overall sense of balance and general well-being

In order to maximise the benefits of the treatment it is advisable to receive a Reflexology treatment on a regular basis to promote good health. So please contact Portsmouth Yoga and Massage for more advice at any time.