We often neglect our feet in many respects. Yet, as they are rich in nerve endings, they hold the key to relaxation and well-being, through reflexology. Zoom in on this technique, which is invaluable therapeutic to find a better vitality.

Foot reflexology is based on the principle that the feet are miniature representation of the human body. At each of their “reflex zones” is an organ, a gland or body part. A touch on these specific areas, to locate the tension, restores natural energy, thus relieving the corresponding regions of the body.

At once stimulating and relaxing, reflexology is practiced by exerting sustained pressure with the fingertips to release the ability to heal the body. According to reflexology therapists, this technique is recognized as having the capacity to alleviate certain ailments such as headaches, back pain, digestive problems and insomnia, and also aches associated with PMS and menopause .

But reflexology is not limited only to feet. Indeed, there are several other reflex areas on the human body. We thus find, in addition to reflexology, palmar reflexology (hands), reflexology and cranial facial, the sympathicotherapy (on the nose, rather addressed by acupuncture) and full reflexology, which includes specific items at clavicles. The iridology, it is the study of the iris of the eye to establish a health check.

The origins of reflexology

Reflexology techniques have been traced to China and India over 5000 years ago, but they have really found their origins in Peru, with the Incas, about 12,000 years before Jesus Christ.

In modern times, we go back to the work of American physician William Fitzgerald, who was referring to the zonal therapy. The aim of his research was to find a method of anesthesia in minor surgery. He discovered, by chance, that the pressure exerted on certain parts of the foot anesthetized a specific part of the body. His theory, developed in 1913 based on an anatomical model which divides the body into 10 energy zones – ranging from head to toe – each linked to a body part.

Based on the findings of the latter, Eunice Ingham (1889–1974), an American physical therapist and assistant of Dr. Fitzgerald, she devised reflexology in the early 30s, as we know it today. She is the author of the first treaty of modern reflexology, which provides a mapping of the hands and feet as perfect reflections of the body, and found the first school of reflexology, the National Institute of Reflexology.

Although reflexology is increasingly used as an alternative approach in the public and professionals, only China, Denmark and, more recently, the United Kingdom have integrated this into their health care system.

The benefits of reflexology

Reflexologists claim that calcium deposits that get accumulated in certain areas of the foot generate energy blockages. Just by eliminating them, the body regains its harmony through the phenomenon of homeostasis. The body has its own intelligence. When the force that inhabits life is blocked, pain occurs. If we allow life energy to flow freely, it removes the evil and helps them heal. Pressures provide a targeted real well-being, and some even see the secret to health and longevity that is preserved.

According to some studies, patients afflicted with degenerative diseases and receiving reflexology, perceive a decrease in their emotional and physical symptoms – a decrease in their state of anxiety, a feeling of relaxation and an improved well-being. In addition, reflexology is sometimes seen in a palliative care setting to increase the quality of life and sense of well-being of the patient.

Did you know that reflexology was also therapeutic against edema and pain at the feet of “heavy legs”, related to pregnancy? This therapy is to be received, however, and only sparingly, after the first three months of pregnancy because it may increase fetal movements.