Reflexology Presents Unique Therapeutic Opportunities
Feb 27, 2015 09:12AM
● By Linda Sechrist
Nerves are the communication lines of the body, according to Daniel Howell, Ph.D., a professor of biology at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia, who writes about the effects of footwear on foot anatomy in The Barefoot Book. Howell notes that natural biofeedback occurs between the brain and the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 exteroreceptors in the soles of each foot. Peripheral nerves, he explains, originate from the brain and spinal cord, extend to the skin, muscles and tissues, and relay information in the form of electrical impulses. This communication plays a big part in the work of reflexologists, which use their thumbs to apply alternating pressure on reflex points located on the feet.
“If you’re feeling out of kilter, don’t know why or what about, let your feet reveal the answer; find the sore spot, work it out,” is the advice of Eunice D. Ingham, who worked as a physiotherapist under Dr. Joe Shelby Riley. In the 1930s, she researched and documented the theories and thumb, finger and hand techniques that became the signatures of the Ingham Method of reflexology, still used today by reflexologists throughout the world.
The Original Works of Eunice D. Ingham, published in 1984, includes her first book, Stories the Feet Can Tell Thru Reflexology, which correlates the connections between specific organs and glands with reflex areas in the feet.
A reflexologist’s experienced hands and thumbs, which travel over feet dusted with non-talcum powder, pick up on textures such as grittiness, sponginess, lumps, hard spots or a callus formation. Responses to reflexology vary widely, from feelings of calm and sleepiness to a sense of renewed energy and rejuvenation. The more frequently an individual experiences reflexology, the more likely they are to notice overall benefits such as stress reduction, relaxation and pain management.
Reflexology sessions are ideal for individuals with foot problems or for those that stand on their feet for much of the day, such as nurses, hairstylists, bartenders and waitresses. A typical 60-minute session requires only the footwear to be removed, and may include work on the feet, hands and outer ears. Sessions can relax the entire body, help increase circulation and relieve emotional stress.
Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings and host of the online Metabolic Revolution Summit. Visit her website ItsAllAboutWe.com for a free audio sample.