Reflexology is a natural therapy utilized for centuries by many ancient cultures. Reflexology today began early in the twentieth century when an American doctor, Dr. William FitzGerald, traveled to Europe. While advancing his medical techniques, he encountered "Zone Therapy," used throughout Europe. It is a component of modern-day reflexology. When Dr. FitzGerald returned to the United States, he offered "zone therapy" to his patients primarily for pain reduction. He shared his discovery with the public and others in American healthcare. One doctor who was interested in the therapy was Dr. Joseph Riley. He developed foot maps and new application techniques. Eunice Ingham, a pioneer physical therapist who worked with Dr. Riley, applied years of study and careful observation, discovering that the application of specific hand techniques to the feet did more than reduce pain. There was also a whole-body balancing. She traveled through the US and Canada teaching her reflexology techniques. She wrote several self-help books. Today, reflexology is practiced around the world. Many associations represent the field such as the Reflexology Association of America. There is ongoing research. Research at MSU, Michigan State University, found reflexology helped reduce symptoms of cancer and increased physical functioning of patients. Today, it is applied to patients by nurses at the MSU hospital undergoing cancer treatment. Theories of how this wonderful therapy works are many. One key point about reflexology is that it helps reduce the effects of stress. By reducing stress, many health issues diminish or disappear.
Reflexology is unique in the healthcare world. Its purpose is not to diagnose or prescribe a medical disorder, but to promote overall homeostatic balance and relaxation. The reflexology recipient is made more aware of their own well-being and health.
Reflexology is not a massage. Massage focuses on the entire musculoskeletal system of the body. Reflexology uses special hand and finger techniques specifically on only feet, hands, and ears. It does not focus on the muscular system. Focus instead is on reflex areas and zones located on the feet, hands, and ears that correlate to all organs and body parts. Hands-on application of specific techniques to these reflex points results in deep relaxation and a reduction of stress, causing a physiological change in the entire body, boosting the immune system and bringing the body back in balance. The effectiveness of reflexology is recognized worldwide by various national health institutions and the public at large as a distinct complementary practice within the holistic health field.
A certified reflexologist has minimum of 110 hours of training. The ARCB - American Reflexology Certification Board, requires 12 hours of continuing eduction every two years to maintain status. Study of the body's systems in-depth is an integral part of reflexology training.
Reflexology has many applications, most commonly executed on the feet. Here are a few reflexologists I have studied with and integrate their approach in my sessions. Reflexologist Bill Flocco always works on feet, hands and ears in one session. Some reflexologists also include meridians and acupoints such as Lillian Morten. Sharon Stathis has an Ayurvedic approach to Reflexology. Dr. Manzanares from Spain has researched reflexology for 30 years by taking biopsies from the reflex areas in the feet. Geraldine Villeneuve has developed Structural Reflexology® which addresses foot pain in the body by releasing tension in the foot and integrating this approach with reflexology for whole body balancing. I offer foot, hand, face and ear reflexology independently to Structural Reflexology® which is explained here. Please click to learn more.