Frequently Asked Questions
How does Reflexology work?
There are many beliefs as to how it works. These are outlined below:
There are over 7200 nerve endings on the feet connecting to different bodily systems & structures. Through stimulation of these nerve endings signals are relayed to the relevant part of the body, via the nervous system, which in turn encourages a balancing or healing response.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses the theory of the flow of Qi (life force energy) via energy pathways called the meridians. Many of the major organ meridians terminate or start on the feet & therefore by stimulating these points Qi is encouraged to flow through the meridians & bring health to the vital organs & systems. There is a similar belief outside of Chinese Medicine that the human body is an energetic system in a constant state of flow & change. If there is a blockage or congestion in this flow of energy then the body will become 'dis-eased. It is believed that Reflexology can decongest these blockages & thus help the body to self-heal.
An English Reflexologist in the 1930's discovered that imbalances in the feet were found due to calcium crystals, lactic or uric acid or lymphatic deposits. This was the case because the feet are believed by some to be the 'U-bend' of the body (like in a plumbing system) that trap all the body's debris, hence the build up of these deposits in the feet. By applying pressure to these deposits (found as imbalances on the feet) & through working them 'out' by massage the imbalances can no longer be felt. For example, a person with a sore shoulder will show these 'deposits' in the shoulder reflex on the feet.
The 'pain gate theory' proposes how stimulation of different sensory fibres produce a 'gate' that closes off the pain signal transmission. A common example of this is the TENS machine which is commonly used for pain relief in childbirth.
The placebo effect is also a very strong theory with expectation & belief of the client contributing to genuine healing in the body. As is the importance of the therapeutic relationship formed between the therapist & the client. Intention set by the client & the trust in receiving the treatment can contribute to healing. There is also, simply the amazing therapeutic affect of massage & how this switches off the 'fight or flight' stress response & instead allows the parasympathetic nervous system to soothe & encourage the body to heal itself.
It is my belief that Reflexology & other modalities of holistic massage simply allow the body to enter a relaxed state which kicks off its' natural desire to bring homeostasis to the body. First & foremost it is my aim as a therapist to get my client into this state of relaxation so that their own body's mechanisms can precipitate this self-healing process.
Does Reflexology tickle?
This is a common question & coming from someone who previously hated having my feet touched from fear of being tickled, I can honestly say that because the therapy is done with intention & using slow, gentle, but firm touch it doesn't feel ticklish at all & within minutes all fears of being tickled subside & all you want to do is relax!