What Are the Benefits of Reflexology Massage?

Feet in sand
Most of us do not look after our feet that well. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Reflexology is the ancient art of foot massage which originated in China and which was also known to the Ancient Egyptians. It is believed that energy runs through the body in channels known as meridians and that massage of the feet stimulates these energy channels, promoting healing and relaxation. Every part of the foot corresponds to an area of the body, and massage of the feet stimulates the corresponding part of the body so that receiving a reflexology massage is regarded as the equivalent of a full body massage.

Reduction of Stress

Woman using laptop resting head on hand, while turning page, frowning
Stress is a big part of daily living. (Image: John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The most obvious effect of reflexology massage is that of stress reduction. The techniques of reflexology include finger or thumb walking--where the reflexologist walks the finger or thumb over different areas of the feet in a set sequence--and massage and kneading of the foot using the whole hand. The experience is generally firm, but gentle, and should never cause discomfort or pain. According to “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology,” people of any age or sex--the elderly, women, men, teenagers, children and babies--can derive positive benefits from reflexology.”

Although results vary from individual to individual, the soothing action of reflexology generally leaves the recipient feeling deeply relaxed and peaceful afterwards.

Pain Reduction

Close up of woman having a headache
Constant pain is debilitating. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Reflexologists believe that that illness is caused by blockages in the meridians or energy channels. These blockages inhibit the flow of life enhancing energy, also known as ‘chi,’ causing the accumulation of negative energy, resulting in pain or disease. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet, and these are connected to the whole body through the central nervous system, to the whole body. Massage of the feet, and therefore these nerve endings, stimulates the body, promoting self-healing. Says Ali Headeach, reflexologist from Margate, United Kingdomg, “The massage is designed to restore the delicate balance between the different body systems and functions, and when this happens harmony is restored. As a consequence of this, and because reflexology is so relaxing, it is also very effective in pain relief, as tension is taken out of the body and stress reduced, so pain is also reduced.”

Effects of Reflexology

brave man jumping at sunset
Reflexology can give you the feeling of walking on air afterwards. (Image: littlehenrabi/iStock/Getty Images)

Reflexology increases the flow of energy, increases the circulation and stimulates the digestive system. It is so effective at this that most people feel a need to pee after a session, and are nearly always thirsty, as toxins are eliminated from the body. It is also recommended that you do not drink alcohol in the 24 hours before or after a session, as the effects of the alcohol can be multiplied. It is also inadvisable to have reflexology if you have a pacemaker fitted, or if you have diabetes.

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