What is Reflexology?

We will describe it for you, but reflexology is truly best understood and appreciated through EXPERIENCE!

Reflexology is a complementary health care modality used to help bring about balance and healing to the internal and biomechanical systems of the body.  This balance, called homeostasis, is a state in which the body, mind and spirit are at peace and working to fine-tune internal systemic mechanisms.  The feeling when you’re in this state is dreamy – like a relaxing vacation on a calm, warm beach where all is well in the world.

What is Reflexology?

When stress abates, the body has a chance to attend to its internal healing work.  This quiet state allows the body’s systems of communication to better receive messages of imbalance and to respond and help things get back on track, such as improving circulation of blood lymphatic drainage/return and facilitation of cell oxygenation. When the internal functions can be restored and healed in this way, the result is enhanced health, clarity and peace of mind and an enhanced capacity to respond enthusiastically to the opportunities that your daily life brings forth.

What is Reflexology?   There are many definitions of reflexology. Here’s mine:

Reflexology is a way to work with natural healing properties of the body to promote internal balance.  It is based on the principle that mini-maps of the entire body are reflected in various locations, including the feet, hands, ears and face. Reflexologists combine a broad variety of manual techniques with their map-focused intention to stimulate specific parts of the body, creating an opportunity for the entire body to re-balance itself through natural biofeedback mechanisms such as the nervous system, fascial pathways, and improved circulation and energy flow. Reflexology is not massage.

Here is the official definition used by American Reflexology Certification Board, Reflexology Association of America and National Council for Reflexology Educators:

Reflexology, an integrative health practice, maps a reflection of the body predominately on the feet, hands and outer ears. It uses unique manual techniques to deliver pressure to neural pathways assisting the body to function optimally.

What are Reflexology Maps?

The crux of this scientifically validated modality is the theory that the entire body is reflected in smaller areas of the body. Areas like the feet, hands, ears and face reflect the body in a similar way to the reflection of the world as it repeats in drops of dew. The maps we use in reflexology are some of the many repeating patterns found in nature. You can think of these maps like fractals (evolving symmetry and replication of a similar pattern), holographic patterns (reflections of the whole into many images) or the microcosm/macrocosm principle (the parts reflect the whole – “as above, so below”). They tell a story of the body in that moment and over time through their reflected patterns. Reflexologists communicate with the natural intelligence and healing motivation of the body through these many maps, having tactile conversations in one location that create fundamental shifts toward balance throughout the entire system.

The beauty of these maps is that the communication between the mini-map and the entire person is two-directional and instantaneous. In other words, the maps reflect the dynamically changing body as a whole and constantly communicate status messages in return in a biofeedback loop. Therefore, by intentionally focusing on and bringing balance and ease to specific problem areas within any given map, a reflexologist sends that same message of balance and ease to parts and systems of the body as a whole, interrupting patterns of tension, illnesses, and imbalance.

Benefits of Reflexology include balance and healing of all the internal systems of the body, improved biomechanical function of the entire body, and improved function in the local area being worked (i.e. the feet, hands, ears, face, etc.).

When the structure of the body can relax (i.e. have a break from chronic stress), circulation re-balances system-wide.  With better hydration and nutrition to the tissues, the body has better elasticity and suppleness and is less likely to break down and more likely to heal and experience a reduction of body pains, aches, stiffness and foot pain.

With improved circulation, nutrients, oxygen and hormones can be more effectively distributed to all cells of the body and toxins can be more efficiently removed.  This enhances the function of all organs and systems.

Many people have found benefits when addressing the following:

  • structural ailments like neck pain, low back pain, leg, hip or knee troubles, and arm or ribcage pain
  • functional issues like headaches, migraines, insomnia, diaphragm limitation, food allergies, digestive pain and dysfunction
  • circulatory problems that affect the urinary, lymphatic, and cardiovascular systems
  • hormone distribution issues resulting in reproductive challenges like fertility or difficulty getting pregnant, troublesome symptoms during pregnancy, challenges during childbirth, symptoms of menopause, and libido and prostate issues
  • respiratory system complaints like chronic cough, asthma, and environmental allergies
  • energetic blockages
  • emotional pain and traumatic history that might be trapped in the body
  • foot pain

For a list of over 380 scientific studies done with reflexology on specific ailments, please visit http://www.reflexologyresearch.net/

How does Reflexology Work?

There are many complex ways that reflexology works. Here are some:

  • multi-directional nervous system communication between macrocosm and microcosm
  • biomechanical feedback between the structure and its parts (muscles, bones, ligaments)
  • proprioceptive engagement and learning (pressure, stretch and joint angulation receptors feeding into the brain)
  • dispersal of deposits (substance P) at the area of nerve endings improves essential messaging between the mini-map and the body
  • the combination of positive touch and dispersal of substance P stimulates the release of endorphins including oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin, helping the body relax into a parasympathetic state and shifting brain wave states from highly active and stressed (gamma/beta) to a much more peaceful state (alpha, theta, delta) that encourages deep, restorative relaxation and natural healing
  • adaptation (changes within both the microcosm and the nervous system through reflexology techniques)
  • improved circulatory and lymphatic flow, allowing for improved endocrine functioning
  • soothed integumentary system
  • energetic channels that flow through and around us – within every cell (this includes the concept of meridians, biospheres, etc.)
  • facilitated fascial networking and communication running through the entire system (fascia can contract like smooth muscle and can disrupt musculoskeletal dynamics)
  • stress reduction allows for self-healing through homeostatic balance
  • reducing adhesions between tissues layers of the microcosm
  • bringing the foot into better basic function improves “natural reflexology” experienced when walking

Reflexology is a safe, noninvasive way to stimulate better circulation and the body’s natural healing impulses. However, reflexology is not a cure-all and is not a substitute for medical care, if needed.  Specific results are not guaranteed. Please consult with your primary healthcare professional on matters relating to your personal health and well-being.

What is Facial Reflexology?

Many people come to foot reflexology for foot pain, hand reflexology for issues of the hands, and facial reflexology to help reduce tension held in the face and head. But the feet, hands, ears, face and other regions of the body also contain miniature maps of the entire body.

By working with these areas and the maps they contain, our goal is to affect change and promote balance there and elsewhere in the body, including muscular and skeletal systems, glands and organs, and body-wide systems of internal healing.

In facial reflexology, we utilize various layered maps on your face. Through them we access not just your face, but your entire body and any systems that might be out of balance. We work to support the body by disbursing deep facial deposits and smoothing out congested areas, allowing improved flow of blood, lymph and energy and encouraging optimal internal balance. We seek to help your body find the power to heal itself. As it happens, facial reflexology can also encourage an “uplifting glow” as blood movement is stimulated and lymphatic drainage is facilitated.

As you receive the session, you will probably become very deeply relaxed and your physical and emotional burdens can be lifted for a time. On the conclusion of the session you will typically feel rejuvenated and free of stress.

The primary form of facial reflexology we use was originated by Lone Sorensen, however we add our own individual training and specialties to our work as well. The result is a potent combination of relaxing and restorative benefits.

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128-10th Ave. SW, Box 43105, Olympia, WA 98504 - Phone: 360-709-4600 - Web: wtb.wa.gov

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