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Updated 13 August 2015

The reflexology treatment

The purpose of reflexology is to treat the whole person. A reflexologist usually starts the session off by working on the entire foot, and then zones in a specific area.

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The purpose of reflexology is to treat the whole person, rather than only one specific symptom, therefore a reflexologist usually starts the session off by working on the entire foot, before zoning in on an area that needs extra help.

Types of reflexology

There are various types of reflexology being practiced: (1) the meridian therapy, (2) vacuflex, (3) Universal method and (4) zone therapy. There are various methods, techniques and charts used in the practice of Reflexology. Although they are all different ways of doing reflexology the end result is the same, so there is no right or wrong method.

Some reflexologists use a very heavy pressure and others a comparatively light pressure. Contrary to common belief, the amount of pressure does not determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Frequently, a very light touch will be far more effective than a heavy touch.

What to expect from a reflexology session

Everyone can benefit from a reflexology session including children, teenagers and adults. Stress and tension affect all of us, it is just the degree that differs.

The purpose of reflexology is to treat the whole person, rather than only one specific symptom, therefore a reflexologist usually starts the session off by working on the entire foot, before zoning in on an area that needs extra help.

During a full reflexology treatment, the reflexologist should work on all of the body system routines and each section is finished with long smooth strokes down the foot, towards the ankle. This is done to ease any discomfort, especially on sensitive areas and to draw excess energy out of the area.

Reflexology gets the circulation going again and increases the nerve supply to all organs. This creates a balancing effect (or "homeostasis") that restores the body's equilibrium.

People sometimes feel nauseous and get headaches after a session, this is because reflexology often stimulates the body to release stored toxins. Make sure that you drink lots of water after the treatment to help your kidneys flush out the waste products.

Health benefits from reflexology

Reflexology works by reducing stress in the body, so, it is very relaxing. It is relief of stress that produces the therapeutic benefits of reflexology. As your body relaxes, your blood and lymph circulation and nerve supply to your cells all improve.

Consequently, the cells of the body get cleansed and nourished, and the glands and organs of the body are revitalized and rejuvenated. In this way reflexology creates and environment that allows the body to more effectively heal itself. Reflexology also reduces physical, emotional and psychological stress and tension.

Tests and research into reflexology

Reflexology is being used very successfully in the Burns Unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. At present, research is being done at the Helen Joseph Hospital on HIV/Aids patients.

Most of the scientific research of the effectiveness of reflexology has been conducted in China, Denmark and Great Britain and is available on the Internet. A data base of various case studies is being put together by the South African Reflexology Society.

The difference between reflexology and therapeutic reflexology

The differences between reflexology and therapeutic reflexology is that a therapeutic reflexologist is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa and has to display their certificate of registration. A therapeutic reflexologist also has to record a detailed case history of the patient.

South Africa has been acclaimed as having the highest standard of reflexology in the world, and is the first country where the government has accepted reflexology as a profession.

(This article was written by Pat Bosman, a therapeutic reflexologist registered with the Allied Health Professional Council.)

 
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