|Reflexology in Brief|
Reflexology in Brief
In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century with European and Russian research on the nervous system. The ideas of reflex use for health improvement were carried on sporadically and brought to American in 1909 by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an eye-ear and nose specialist from Connecticut. Physiotherapist Eunice Ingham is credited with developing a system of reflex areas by 1938. At that time, reflex therapies were created as medical practices but were soon eclipsed by use of new surgical procedures and drugs. In the East, ancient Chinese techniques were re-discovered in the 1980s and have spread throughout Asia creating today's reflexology-rich environment with reflexology paths in parks and a thriving reflexology industry of practitioners, businesses and research. How does reflexology work? Reflexology involves applying pressure techniques to the feet or hands. These points interact as a part of the body's nervous system, creating relaxation, improved circulation, exercise of the nervous system and, we also must not forget, the benefits of touch itself. Pressure sensors in the feet and hands are a part of the body's reflexive response that makes possible the ‘fight or flight’ reaction to danger. Feet ready to flee and hands ready to fight, they communicate with the body’s internal organs and create the sudden adrenal surge that enables a person to lift a car, as an example of this co-ordinated activity. The perception of pressure by the feet and hands taps into the reflex network that makes possible our every move. Reflexology, consistently applied, provides an exercise of these pressure sensors and thus a conditioning of the internal organs to which they are inextricably tied. What are the benefits? Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology are effective and beneficial in many ways.
A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries reveals that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns. Reflexology: • Enables relaxation: With EEG testing, we now know once the reflexologist hands start their work, relaxation begins. All together, 24 studies demonstrate reflexology’s relaxation effects via this technique. • Pain reduction: Reflexology work is documented in studies showing pain reduction and management on individuals of all ages and health states. • Ameliorates health concerns: Research shows that reflexology work helps individuals of all ages with some 78 health concerns ranging from aggressive behavior in 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. • 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: Reflexology improves conditions such as blood pressure and cholesterol, as measured by ECG, EEG and MRI. • Enhances medical care: Reflexology helps where nothing else can for many, such as phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients, to name a few. • Benefits mental health: Research demonstrates that reflexology can reduce depression and anxiety. • Complements cancer care: Pain, nausea, vomiting and/or anxiety has been eased for chemotherapy patients following reflexology work as shown in studies from 7 countries. • Eases post-partum effects: Reflexology has a positive impact on post-partum depression, anxiety, urination and bowel movements. In general terms, the benefits of reflexology involve 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 of medical help. ` © complied and wrtitten Lady Colleen Heller 2011