Reflexology - a history and explanation

in Body

Reflexology uses specific spots on your feet and hands (and occasionally ears) that are directly linked to other body parts, to gage your wellness, or state of being if you are unwell. The history of reflexology can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, although it was only introduced to the West in the early twentieth century.


Reflexologists divide the body into ten energy zones, mirrored by/in the foot. Each foot is divided into five zones (the treatment is sometimes referred to as zone therapy for this reason). Within these zones they are numerous pressure points, during a reflexology session tender or sore areas might be found, revealing ‘dis-ease' in the correlating part of the body.

In has been estimated that between 75 and 90 per cent of trips to the doctors are due to ailments caused by stress. Reflexologists gently massage the area of the foot/hand where there is tenderness to relieve this tension.

Reflexology also stimulates energy pathways in the body, which can be stimulated to either calm the person, or give them renewed energy levels. Practitioners advise that reflexology is best used as a preventive measure, giving clients a ‘heads-up' about possible future symptoms, meaning they can work on the area before they are taken ill, refer themselves to gain additional help or, if appropriate, maintain a healthy diet, exercise routine and lifestyle to encourage the body's ability to naturally heal itself. Regular treatments can help the body run smoothly, improve blood circulation, improve their immune system and relieve stress and tension.

At the beginning of a reflexology treatment the client will be asked to take a few deep breaths, essential oils may also be used to help the client relax. If practising on the foot the client's feet will be cleaned, and cream applied, often giving the client a gentle foot massage to relax them further. A reflexology treatment will start with the toes, moving down the entire foot. Each point related to a different area, and organ within the body, and through small but specific movements the therapist can help to relieve symptoms, and remove toxins from the body.

There are approximately 7,000 nerves in the feet, so as well as energy channels being restored, it is thought reflexology stimulates the nerve paths to the brain relating to each specific organ. Often the clients hand or foot will be shaken by the practitioner this also helps release energy blockages, as well as being relaxing for the client. The therapist will often talk to the client during the treatment, asking if the client has had any problems with the area he/she has picked up on, to gain further insight. 

A reflexology session can last anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour.

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Ellie Garwood has 1 articles online

Ellie Garwood is a freelance writer interested in a diverse range of topics. For numerous reflexology related anatomy books she recommends the range available at Lotus Publishing.

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Reflexology - a history and explanation

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This article was published on 2011/04/28