The Ancient Healing Art of Reflexology

Reflexology by Len Buchanan

Reflexology by Len Buchanan

Foot reflexology is the most common style practiced by Reflexologists around the globe. Hand reflexology makes a close second, with ear reflexology and face reflexology trailing behind as specialty modalities in the field.

The feet are extremely complex in that each foot has over 7,000 nerves, 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles. Add to that a system of tendons that hold the structure together and you have an extremely intricate network. Considering the entire body has 206 bones, both feet have almost one quarter of the bones in the human body. 

How Does It Work?
Reflexology is not a foot massage. Massage and Reflexology have one thing in common—touch. Beyond that, the difference is immense. The training, techniques, and methods of application are unique to their respective professions.

In addition to general health and well-being, there are other specialties. These include: Preconception Reflexology for both males and females with fertility concerns, and Prenatal or Maternity Reflexology where mother and baby can enjoy a relaxing reflexology session in preparation of labor and childbirth.

Reflexology is a natural, non-invasive treatment that relaxes, restores, revitalizes, and brings about a state of healing. The nerves in each foot contain a representation or “map” of the entire body. When direct thumb or finger pressure is applied to these neurological-reflex points, the corresponding area in the body is stimulated, cleared of congestion, and the natural healing process is enhanced.

The Science of Reflexology
The science of Reflexology teaches that a vital energy, or life force, circulates between the organs of the body, permeating every living cell and tissue. If this energy becomes blocked, the part of the body relating to the blockage is affected. Energy blocks in the human body are reflected in the feet. By using specific pressure techniques, they can be detected through the experience of discomfort, or through the presence of “gritty areas,” often referred to as crystal deposits. These occur in the part of the foot that maps to the part of the body that’s imbalanced.

The pressure and techniques are designed to dissipate energy blocks, and break down crystalline structures. Through stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, and by encouraging the release of toxins, Reflexology enhances the body’s ability to heal itself. Apart from treating disease, Reflexology is an extremely effective therapy in cases of stress, tension, and tiredness, and it can be used as a preventive measure against ill health.

Is Reflexology a Cure-All?
Reflexology doesn’t claim to be a “cure-all,” but numerous disorders have been successfully treated with this energy-based modality. These disorders include: plantar fasciitis, menstrual cramps, postpartum depression, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, sports injuries, migraine, sleep disorders, sinus problems, hormonal imbalances, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems, back problems, tension, stress, the list goes on.

Most people who’ve experienced Reflexology agree that the treatment is beneficial and is also extremely relaxing. And because Reflexology treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease, most people benefit from treatment, including people with acute and chronic conditions, and people of all ages – infant through adult.

What are the Benefits of Reflexology?
The body has the ability to heal itself. Following illness, stress, injury, or disease, the body is in a state of “imbalance,” and vital energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning effectively. Reflexology can be used to restore and maintain the body’s natural equilibrium and to encourage healing.

A Reflexologist uses thumbs, fingers, and hands to apply gentle pressure to the feet. For each person the application and the effect of this energy-based therapy is unique. Sensitive, trained hands can detect tiny deposits and imbalances in the feet. By working on these points, the Reflexologist can release blockages and restore the free flow of energy to the whole body. Tensions are eased, and circulation and elimination is improved. This gentle therapy encourages the body to heal itself at its own pace, often counteracting a lifetime of misuse.

Bottom Line on Top
In general, Reflexology increases the circulation of fluid within the body and promotes relaxation. As a result, Reflexology:
Dilates the blood vessels, improving circulation and relieving congestion throughout the body.
Boosts the lymphatic system.
Acts as a mechanical cleanser, stimulating circulation and hastening excretion and waste products.
Increases nutrition of the tissues by improving general circulation. This, in turn, increases the interchange of substance between the blood and tissue cells heightening tissue metabolism.
Relieves tension and reduces stress.
Balances the nervous system.
Improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and hastens the elimination of harmful deposits.
It helps reduces inflammation and swelling in joints and so alleviates pain.
Enhances detoxification.
Assists in healing all body systems.
Makes you feel good!

Some of the benefits of Reflexology such as relaxation, are felt immediately. Others may take a few treatments — this depends on the length of time the body has been out of balance.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

18 thoughts on “The Ancient Healing Art of Reflexology

  1. Interesting. I looked up reflexology:

    Around the world and throughout history reflexology has been rediscovered and reinstated as a health practice time and time again by peoples around the globe seeking to deal with health concerns. Archeological evidence in Egypt (2330 BCE), China (2704 BCE) and Japan (690 CE) points to ancient reflexology medical systems. In the West the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century, based on research into the nervous system and reflex. While no direct evidence of direct cross-fertilization from ancient times has been discovered, the practice of foot and hand work in a variety of cultures, belief systems and historical periods speaks to reflexology for health as a universal bridging concept.

    Has an interesting picture from Egypt!

    • Hey Beth – I’m glad you stopped by before you headed up north. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Reflexology, has indeed, been around for centuries. Thank you for the information and the picture from Egypt.

  2. Okay, I understand. I need to call Faith and have her come straight Home! As you know, Faith is a Certified Reflexologist and Herbalist. While my Dad was still with us, Sunday nights were some of his favorite times, that when Faith would drop in and “do” his feet. Oh, my word, I can’t begin to tell you how much he loved it! The attention, the good working over of his arthritic feet, were a tonic for him. The next time she comes home I hope she’ll do the same for her “poor, old Mom”. Of course, if she ever calls me that, she’ll have to use her own feet to outrun me!

    • Your comment made me laugh, Sandi! I can just see you chasing Faith after her calling you “poor, old Mom.” That’s so sweet that she worked on her granddad’s feet on Sunday nights. That was probably one of the highlights of his week — I know it would be mine. I love having my feet worked on. Better yet, my hands!

  3. I have had a reflexology treatment once and I laughed through most of the whole session. I was one of the most amazing healing experiences I have had.
    I did not know all the particulars as you have just stated but I knew something was happening. I was letting go…
    Years ago someone was giving my a foot massage, I know it is not the same, yet it was a truly an amazing experience as well.

    • Jeff – Did you laugh because it tickled, or because you were delighted? I hope it’s because you were delighted. Years ago I was working on the feet of an eleven year old boy. His feet were so sensitive, just putting my hands near his feet sent him into fits of laughter! His laughter was contageous and made me laugh! That was a good memory — thank you for triggering it.

  4. Ah Laurie, so glad you posted this post. I was thinking about this awhile ago and wondering when it would be a topic for class.

    Reflexology has always made perfect sense to me. My mother gave me two little books on reflexology by Eunice D. Ingham. I still have one of them. It was first published in 1938 and the copyright was renewed in 1966. I was given the book about 1974 at the age of fifteen. My mom, aunts and cousins and I use to practice finding the pressure points related to whatever was bothering us. I still check the pressure points on my feet to see where the tender spots are and apply pressure. The book has a foldout reflexology chart at the back… very handy.

    In addition, I like to paint barefoot if possible as well as meditate and garden. The feet on natural ground seem to get their pressure points pressed just by moving around. Socks and shoes keep our feet dry and warm but I am suspicious that they also keep them cushioned from what is good for them:)

    • Terrill – I attended the International Institute of Reflexology in St. Petersburg, Florida where they teach the Ingham Method. That’s so cool that you have one of her books! Do you ever work on David’s feet — it’s a great way to support the immune system, and enhance every part of the body (heart, brain, digestion, circulation, etc). With a book that has a foldout in the back, he could pay you back by working on your feet (there’s always a method to my madness — just ask Len).

      Like you, I like to be barefooted as often as possible. It’s a real treat in the summertime here because our winters are so darned long.

      • David doesn’t like his feet rubbed or the pressure points pressed as I think his feet and skin are uncomfortably sensitive to most touch. I can lay my hands on sometimes (at the shoulder, back of the hand, center of the chest) but often it seems best to just hover about six inches away from his body and move the energy that way. This is different than intimate touch which much more free flowing and not so restrictive. I never really thought about this until you asked Laurie. He is often reclusive with most people other than me and his children, even more so now…its like he doesn’t have a shield or buffer…. this must be coming up in a later class but if not it might be something to explore (or I would like to explore:). How do we create that wee bit of permeable energy field that gives us resilience? I know how to do it for me but I’m not sure I can show it to someone else. Now you have me thinking Laurie! I guess I will sleep on it.

  5. Hi Laurie!

    I really enjoyed this post and found it very helpful. I wasn’t aware of all the benefits until I read your article. I have read others, but they were not as clear and thorough.

    Thank you!

    At one time, I considered this training. We have a school here locally. My father had reflexology prior to his open heart surgery 15+ years ago. He said it was very helpful to relax and release the tension in his body, mind, and emotions. That is saying a lot coming from my Dad who isn’t always the most open person.

    Something about a major life event seems to drop the defense shields and allows exploration in areas previously denied or feared.

    Very timely post for me!

    Deep Bow!

    • Ben – I’m so glad you stopped by. I sure hope you’re enjoying a long, relaxing, holiday weekend. Thank you for sharing the story about your dad’s reflexology experience. It’s like double-confirmation when a somewhat skeptical person gives high praise to an energy-based therapy. I wholeheartedly agree that a major life event certainly tends to significantly alter the who, what, when, where, why, and how a person goes about things. It was so good to see you here — thank you for the visit.

  6. I love reflexology! I bought a book once and gave treatments to (1) my mother (2) father (3) husband and (4) maybe a child or two. They all liked it tremendously! Oh would it be wonderful to have a reflexology treatment right now. Absolutely wonderful.

  7. gosh, Laurie, my feet felt good just reading about Reflexology. Here’s what I am thinking about all these wonderful treatments you have been instructing us about: my budget can afford about one “date” a month with a holistic practitioner. So, I am going to find an EFT person, a reflexology person, etc., and each month, I am going to treat myself to one of them until I have been through them all and then start over again. I haven’t been to get a Thai yoga massage since last fall! Time to make the space for a little bit of luxurious healing.

    • Barbara – I like your plan. Revolving through different energy-based therapies — one a month — and then recycling through them again — what a fantastic idea!

  8. Pingback: Have Sex for Better Health « Speaking from the Heart

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