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How does reflexology work?

How does Reflexology work?

This is a question often asked by clients. Reflexology is such an amazing and powerful treatment. A personal passion of mine, that has brought some amazing results to my clients. I have so many stories i could tell of findings in a treatment, but that i will save for another time, another blog :-)

One important thing to remember, despite its power, is that Reflexology is NOT a diagnostic treatment. It merely assists the body in putting everything back into balance so it can heal to its optimal ability. I always relate reflexology to a defragmentation on your computer, every time you use a computer file, it takes that file and places it somewhere else on your device, so by performing a defragmentation, this puts everything back in its right place, so your device (or your body) can work more efficiently.

So, here are some theories of how reflexology works:

  • Pain gate control – The pain gate control theory states that pain receptors in the spinal cord regulates the amount of pain that can pass up to the brain. Once all these pain receptors are full, the 'gate' shuts, and this stops any further pain messages going up to the brain. Thus limiting the amount of pain that we feel.

  • Placebo effect – It is important that the therapist and the client have faith in reflexology treatments, and that positive results will be achieved. This is known as the placebo effect. The feel good factor.

  • Energy blockage theories - Energy blockages can form in the feet or hands in a particular meridian / zone, and this causes the energy flow in that meridian to slow down. The body parts within that meridian then has a reduced energy supply, causing an imbalance. With stimulation, using Reflexology, the blockage can be eliminated, restoring energy flow and bringing harmony back to the body.

  • Hormone release theory - It releases the hormones such as endorphins, encephalin and serotonin, to help lift the mood and release these pain killing hormones.

  • Autonomic and somatic integration theory - Pressure applied to the feet causes predictable reflex actions within the nervous system. The internal organs of the autonomic nervous system and the neurons of the somatic-motor nervous system both respond specifically to pressure applied to the reflexes of the feet.

  • Therapeutic relationship – One of the keys to the success of a treatment such as reflexology is for the client and therapist to build and maintain a therapeutic relationship. The client and therapist need to build up their trust and rapport in order for the treatment to be effective.

  • Proprioceptive theory – This is where the brain sends message signals to result in the relaxation of the muscles, tissue, & nerves to promote natural healing.

  • Electromagnetic theory - Human cells, vibrate at certain rates. The brain has recognised waves that can be detected on Electroencephalograms (EEGs). It can be claimed that if a person’s cells vibrate at an alpha rhythm it means they are in harmony with their surrounding and more likely to be in a positive state of health.

  • Meridian theory - Meridians are specific pathways containing energy that circulates and nourishes through the whole body. They form a crisscross network of interconnected pathways linking the organs, skin, flesh, muscle and bones in a unified way. The twelve organs of the body are each linked to a meridian and the meridian is named according to the internal organ it affects. In addition to the 12 organ related meridians, there are 2 further meridians that are worked with in Chinese medicine. The energy flows through the meridians ensuring proper nurturing of Chi (qi) or life force throughout the whole body. When in a healthy state, the energy flows freely and is well distributed throughout the meridian pathways. However, when the meridian becomes blocked, the Chi (qi) is prevented from reaching the specific area it is meant to nourish. This results in the cells, tissue or organs being affected area and causing dis-harmony within the body.

  • Nerve impulse theory - When pressure is applied to the reflex point on the foot messages are sent via nerve cells to the spinal cord and then the brain for interpretation.

Possible benefits of reflexology:

Reflexology has many benefits, these include:

  • It can help to improve physical conditions.

  • It can improve emotional well-being.

  • It can provide increased energy levels.

  • It can help to clear energy pathways.

  • It can help to promote homeostasis, assisting the body to maintain a state of balance.

  • It provides a relaxation treatment.

  • It provides stress relief, both mental & physical.

  • It reduces tension.

  • It helps the body to heal itself.

  • It promotes efficient body systems by maintaining balance within all of the body’s systems.

Thank you for reading my reflexology blog, i hope this has helped, more to follow soon.

Till the next time :-)

Karen Ashton x

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