The concept of Reflexology has been around for a very long time. There is evidence that it can be traced back as far as 2330 BC. It was first established by the Egyptian, Chinese and Indian cultures.

In 1917 Dr. William Fitzgerald, introduced a form of this therapy to the west. He believed that pressure points to a specific region of the body could have an anesthetizing effect to another region of the body. He termed this techniques as “Zone Therapy.” He divided the body into 5 zones on each side. He concluded that pressure in one part of a zone can affect a different region of that same zone.

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In the 1930’s Eunice Ingham advanced the concept of Zone Therapy. She found that if you applied pressure to the feet with finger and thumb techniques she experienced better results. She mapped the zones of the feet correlating them to the organs throughout the body. She initially called her technique “The Ingham Method of Compression Massage” which later became known as Reflexology.

Effective For

  • Enhancing overall body function
  • Decreasing stress and tension
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Headaches, Migraines
  • Chronic Pain
  • Body aches and pains
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Arthritis
  • Difficulty with sleep

Reflexology is a technique of applying pressure, stretch and movement to the feet using the thumb and fingers to activate and stimulate more than 7,200 nerve ending in each foot. Each of the nerve endings correspond to a particular region of the body. Stimulating the nerve endings helps to enhance the firing pattern of that particular nerve which reflects back to a specific region of the body. In other words, it is the belief system that there are reflex points in the hands and feet that correspond and help reduce stress to all the muscles, organs and glands in the body.

There are different theories of how this technique works. We will be using the focus of how the nervous system is affected with application through the feet. The body produces “deposits” in the tissue of the feet. These deposits decrease proper blood supply and reduce a nerves ability to work to its full potential. By manipulating the feet the “deposits” are reduced around the nerve endings increasing their capability to fire impulses to correlating body segments.  Improving the activity in the nerve endings and exciting the nerves through stimulation can in turn help the body to work more efficiently.

This is done by enhancing the circulatory and lymphatic systems and the release of toxic build up in the tissue giving the body the capability to work at a more productive level.

Sessions are done either lying down on your back on a massage table or seated with legs up in a reclining Reflexology chair. Generally treatment is administered to the feet and may extend up to just below the knee. Sessions are either 30 or 60 minutes. Different pressure is applied to the feet during the session. Some pressure is very soothing and relaxing. Other pressure is deeper and more direct. It is always important to remember to communicate with the Reflexologist during your sessions so that they are aware if a particular pressure is uncomfortable.

People experience different sensations during and after a treatment. Most people may experience significant relaxation and a sense of well being. Some feel decreased aches and pains throughout their body. Some people become tired and ache. These different sessions are all positive healing actions that are occurring from the treatment. Be sure to let your Reflexogist know of your responses so that they may help explain what is happening throughout your body.

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Dawn Szpiech, AT, ATC, PTA, MT, TBMM-CES

To learn more about your Reflexologist vist Dawn’s Bio