Around the world and throughout history, reflexology has been rediscovered time and time again. Archeological evidence points to ancient reflexology medical practices in Egypt (2330 BCE), China (2704 BCE) and Japan (690 CE).
In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century with European and Russian research into the nervous system and reflex- think Pavlov. Reflex therapies were created as medical practices but were soon eclipsed by use of surgery and drugs. The ideas of reflex use for health improvement were carried on sporadically and brought to American in 1909 by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an eye-ear and nose specialist from Connecticut. Physiotherapist Eunice Ingham is credited with developing a system of reflex areas by 1938.
In the East, ancient Chinese techniques were re-discovered in the 1980's and have spread throughout Asia creating today's reflexology-rich environment with reflexology paths in parks and a thriving reflexology industry of practitioners, businesses and research.
For best results, apply reflexology techniques to targeted reflex areas consistently. This can be accomplished with self reflexology techniques, those applied by family as well as with the guidance of the professional reflexologist.
You yourself can most easily provide reflexology work frequently and consistently, using self applied techniques to break up the stress patterns in your feet and hands. Apply pressure simply using a foot roller or, for the hands, a golf ball. Think morning, noon and night. Build reflexology into your life. It is easy to do reflexology while doing other activities. Put a foot roller under your desk at work, use a golf ball on your hands while waiting for the kids at school or do either while watching television. Be creative in how and where you apply techniques but be consistent.
Reflexology applied by family or friends provides several benefits: application of pressure techniques, non-invasive touch and an opportunity to visit.
The reflexologist can provide you with a relaxing experience, quality technique application as well as educate you in how to do it yourself.
Research has shown the specific techniques of reflexology to be effective and beneficial in many ways. A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is effective, impacting a variety of physical and psychological concerns.
In general terms, the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body, they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.
Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care. It should not be construed as medical advice. It should not be a replacement to medical help. Please use it wisely. We care about your safety.
Lessening of stress and anxiety is demonstrated in twenty-nine reflexology studies with study participants including healthy individuals, senior citizens, women and cancer patients. The stimulation of reflexology's pressure techniques creates change in the body's basic level of tension as demonstrated by research showing that reflexology relaxes the body using a variety of measurements: brain waves (EEG), blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and anxiety.
Twenty-four studies conducted by nurses in ten countries show that reflexology helps with each stage of the cancer experience: following chemotherapy, post operatively, management of symptoms and during palliative/hospice care. Research demonstrates that cancer patients who receive reflexology work show significant improvements in physical and emotional symptoms: lessened pain, anxiety, depression and stress; reduced nausea and vomiting; lowered fatigue and improved quality of life.