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Reflexology

Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body. A 2009 systematic review of randomised controlled trials concludes that

 

"A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."

"The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition."

There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one's qi. Reflexologists divide the body into ten equal vertical zones, five on the right and five on the left. Concerns have been raised by medical


What are the benefits of reflexology
Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology to be effective and beneficial in many ways. A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns. Reflexology:

Creates relaxation: From the moment the reflexologists hands start their work, the relaxation begins as shown in research using EEG brain activity. All together, 24 studies demonstrate reflexologyÕs relaxation effects.

Reduces pain: Pain reduction following reflexology work is documented in 27 studies including research showing impact on individuals of all ages and health states

Ameliorates health concerns: Research shows that reflexology work helps indiviuals of all ages with some 78 health concerns ranging from aggressive behavior Êin children to urinary concerns of the elderly.

Improves blood flow: Separate studies show that reflexology work increases blood flow to the feet, brain, kidneys and intestines.

Aids post-operative recovery: Reflexology work aids recovery after surgery as shown by several studies, reducing pain and lessening the use of post operative analgesics.

Impact on physiological measures (e. g. blood pressure and cholesterol; measurements by ECG, EEG, and fMRI)

Enhances medical care: Reflexology helps where nothing else can for many: phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients, and hemodialysis patients to name a few.

Benefits mental health: Research demonstrates that reflexology can reduce depression (11 studies) and anxiety (9 studies).

Complements cancer care: Pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anxiety eased for chemotherapy patients following reflexology work as shown by16 studies fom 7 countries.

Eases pregnancy, delivery and post-partum effects: Women who received reflexology experienced shorter labor times and used less analgesia. In addition, reflexology showed a positive impact on postpartum depression, anxiety, urination and bowel movements.

In general terms, the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body, they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.

Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care. It should not be construed as medical advice. It should not be a replacement to medical help. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.

What should I expect from a reflexology session
Reflexology sessions last from 30 minutes to an hour. The client sits in a reclining chair placing the feet conveniently for the reflexologist's work. The reflexologist use pressure, stretch and movement to work through the foot methodically.

Technique is applied to the whole foot or hand. Sit back and relax. Or, ask for an on-going assessment of stress cues of the feet; education in the location of reflex areas of the feet or education in how to apply self reflexology techniques. Ask about research relevant to your health concern.

You should feel relaxed at the end of a session. How long that relaxation lasts is a good indicator of the effectiveness of the session. Make note of this and tell your reflexologist your response to the session at the next session. This can be helpful information to the reflexologist.

Expect the reflexologist’s application of technique to be within your comfort zone- not too heavy and not too light but at a level within your personal preference. Communicate this preference to the reflexologist. Expect technique application to be "dry," without the use of oil, cream or lotion. Use of these emollients constitutes a foot massage and not a reflexology session. Use of any tool or instrument is outside the professional scope of practice for a reflexologist.

Do not rely on a reflexologist for medical help. The reflexologist is limited to complementing medicine not replacing it
 
 

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