Reflexology: All you need to know

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology, not to be confused with massage, is a science based on the belief that all organs, glands and parts of the body can be traced back to specific areas on your feet. By understanding the connection between the part of the foot and the corresponding organ/gland/body part, reflexologists can assist in the relief of stress, increasing energy levels and may help in the management of current medical conditions. It is not intended to replace traditional medicine, but to be used alongside it in order to promote health and wellness. And many people claim that it is extremely effective.

Despite not being acknowledged as a legitimate practice by the medical industry, reflexology is incredibly popular for the treatment of stress, nerve function, circulation, headaches, pregnancy and menstruation. Some people claim that it has helped them heal from minor surgery. It requires the removal of shoes and socks so that the reflexologist works solely on your feet. which contrasts against massage. Reflexologists can discern any problem areas in your body based on feeling tension or congestion in the corresponding part of the foot. Although they conduct the sessions, they view themselves as mere participants as they are guiding you body to rejuvenation, which allows the body to become balanced and to repair itself naturally.

Where does it originate from? 

There have been indications of reflexology or some form of it being applied in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, China, India and even by the Native Americans.

An early practice of reflexology was introduced to America in 1913 by  Doctorm William H. Fitzgerald who spoke about having 10 vertical zones in the body. His work was expanded on by Dr Shelby Riley, and eventually by Eunice Ingham who created the detailed reflexology foot maps in 1938.

Does it actually work?

Skeptics claim that there is no sufficient evidence supporting the proposed benefits of reflexology, and that it has more of a placebo effect than anything else. Recent studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of reflexology, however the results did not support that reflexology is an effective treatment for the medical conditions mentioned above. That being said, high quality trials can be difficult to conduct to test the effects of reflexology and there remains to be thousands of people around the world who swear by the benefits of the practice.

Another point of debate is the fact that there is no general consensus as to the reflexology maps. There are a range of foot charts exemplifying inconsistencies which points towards a lack of scientific basis. Fortunately, there are no adverse effects which accompany the practice of reflexology, so even if there is no benefit being derived, there will most likely be no negative consequences either.