THE SOLE OBSESSION WITH REFLEXOLOGY
It’s one thing to have butterflies in your stomach, but is it possible to have butterflies in your feet? Some therapists certainly think so, and they have dedicated their lives to studying how to relax tensions within the body and enhance circulation in certain places. Most people might already be familiar with acupuncture as a method for pain relief, but if there’s one thing Asia is really good at, it’s finding more than one way to relax tension. Look no further than the alternative practice of reflexology.
Reflexology is a kind of alternative medicine based on the principle that there are specific reflexive areas in a person’s hands and feet that directly correspond to that person’s glands, organs, and body parts. When these specific areas are gently manipulated, the feeling can relax nerve tensions and even improve nerve and blood supply. While reflexologists focus on stimulating these reflex areas to produce effects elsewhere in the body, it is easy to confuse it with massaging. Reflexology is more about gently manipulating and applying pressure on certain parts of the feet and hands, rather than an all-around kneading of muscles in a massage.
This alternative medicinal practice was originally practiced in ancient Egypt and China. But it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it was introduced in the United States, thanks to William H. Fitzgerald and Eunice D. Ingham. Ingham is famous for pioneering the Ingham Method, which has formed the basis for all reflexology practices for over sixty years.
Certain reflexes on your feet provide a mirror image of all the different parts of your body. For example, according to the Ingham Method, parts of your toes correspond to your brain, but the center of your biggest toe (or hallux), when pressed, affects your pituitary gland. There’s even an area on your foot, when pressed, that can affect your bladder!
What’s so unique about reflexology is that the alternating pressure applied to specific reflexes on your feet has a stimulating effect instead of any kind of numbing effect. Reflexology has never been known to make a bad problem worse, instead helping to normalize the functions of the body.
At the end of the day, reflexology is much like a doctor testing your reflexes by hitting your knees to see if you kick your legs in response, but it goes much deeper than a basic hit to the knee, and with a much softer pressure.