Reflexology is an often-misunderstood therapy and an under-used treatment that could be beneficial for many people. So, what is reflexology? Reflexology is a complementary massage therapy that involves applying gentle pressure to your feet and hands using specific thumb and finger techniques. It is designed to stimulate energy pathways in your body.
In this article, we explore what reflexology is, how it works, its key benefits and what to expect during a reflexology appointment at DDB Physiotherapy.
What Is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a type of massage where varying levels of pressure are applied to your feet, hands and ears. It is based on the theory that these parts of your body are connected to key organs in the body and important body systems.
As a result of this connection, it is recognised as a way to ease stress within your body by helping to bring about a state of relaxation. This state of relaxation is known to aid the body’s own healing process while also of course having the additional health benefits associated with a reduction of stress.
Reflexology is considered to work in a similar way to acupuncture or acupressure as they all focus on targeting specific points/areas of the body.
How Does Reflexology Work?
There are a range of theories surrounding how reflexology works and no single theory has been accepted as the definitive explanation of how it works. The two leading theories that explain how reflexology work are the nerve impulse theory and zone theory.
Nerve Impulse Theory
The nerve impulse theory states that pressing on a specific point on your feet or hands sends an initial message to the brain which is passed onto the corresponding part of the body through the nervous system. It is recognised that the nervous system adjusts to external factors including pressure and touch.
In this case, the pressure applied by a reflexologist helps to calm the central nervous system. This promotes relaxation and stress reduction while also having a positive impact on your breathing, immune response and blood flow.
Zone theory suggests that the body can be divided up into ten zones that run from your head down to your feet. The foot itself is divided into five zones which are linked to different parts of the body. When you apply pressure to a specific zone it is suggested that you relieve pain in the part of the body that is linked to that zone.
For example, zone one is aligned with the left and right centre of the body and zone 5 is aligned with the left and right sides of the body.
Key Benefits Of Reflexology
Reflexology has a range of benefits, some of these benefits have clear scientific evidence to support them. While others are based on the experiences of people that have tried the therapy.
Reduce Stress And Anxiety
Reflexology is recognised as an effective therapy for reducing stress and anxiety. The way that it works and its effect on different areas of your body is responsible for this. Reduced stress also results in a number of associated health benefits that are beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
It has also been shown to reduce levels of anxiety among people that are undergoing other medical treatments. This includes those for cancer and heart related conditions.
Reduce And Manage Pain
Reflexology can reduce pain symptoms from a range of different conditions including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) and back pain. It is able to boost your wellbeing which tackles discomfort. This helps to make the pain associated with a number of health conditions easier to manage.
Manage Challenges During Pregnancy
Each stage of pregnancy presents different challenges that can be difficult to manage. Reflexology is great at relieving stress and promoting relaxation, both of which are incredibly beneficial for anyone that is pregnant.
Lift Mood And Boost Wellbeing
Anything that can lift your mood and boost your overall wellbeing is worth considering. Reflexology delivers on both accounts and is an effective therapy at helping you to feel and be at your best. When you are feeling at your best, all other aspects of your life will benefit from this too.
What To Expect During A Reflexology Appointment?
Each reflexology appointment should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. If you have not had a reflexology treatment before, the reflexologist will ask some brief questions about your medical history, health and lifestyle.
After this, the therapy will begin with making you feel comfortable and warm. Usually, a lying or half lying position will be used. Once you are in a comfortable position, the reflexologist will apply gentle pressure to various pressure points on your feet and hands. They may return to different pressure points multiple times during a session. They also treat pressure points that are unconnected to any particular pain that you are experiencing.
Reflexology can feel unusual at first especially if you have an existing pain or tension. Sometimes it will be able to resolve it almost instantly. Most people who have had reflexology often feel either calm and relaxed or energised after their appointment.
Depending on your first treatment, the reflexologist may recommend a course of treatments instead of a single treatment. This will be if they believe that it would be beneficial and achieve the best results.
Reflexology At DDB Physiotherapy
Our reflexologists are ready to help you reduce stress and anxiety, tackle pain, lift your mood and manage pregnancy challenges. Each reflexology treatment at DDB Physiotherapy is a 1 hour appointment and is performed by an experienced reflexologist.
If you are unsure whether reflexology would be beneficial for you and your health. Why not contact us to discuss it further? To book a reflexology treatment call our friendly team on 02392 552266 or book your appointment online using our online booking system.
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