What it is
Reflexology is the holistic practice of applying pressure to distinct locations on a patient’s ears, feet, or hands. It operates within the concept that there are reflex points on those extremities that coincide with all parts of the body, internal and external and that applying pressure to those points can help relieve tension and stress.
Verywell Health explains, "The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are certain points or 'reflex areas' on the feet and hands that are connected energetically to specific organs and body parts through energy channels in the body. By applying pressure to reflex areas, a reflexologist is said to remove energy blockages and promote health in the related body area."
Reflexology is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt over 4000 years ago. Modern reflexology, however, is widely considered to have been legitimized in the early 19th century. In 1917, American physician William Fitzgerald wrote of Zone Therapy, citing that there were 10 distinct zones that extended up and down the human body.
Years later, Dr. Joe Shelby Riley would build upon Fitzgerald’s work, creating a map of horizontal zones across the body as well as a map of reflex points on the human ear. Then, with the tandem efforts of many scientists including Eunice Ingham and Dr. Paul Nogier, modern Reflexology was born.
What it can do
We already know what Reflexology is, but how does it actually work? Well like other forms of massage, the application of pressure to certain parts of the body helps relax muscles, improve circulation, and stimulate hormone production. It can promote better sleep, relieve soreness, and improve overall mood.
Reflexology has been used to help patients cope with symptoms of depression, anxiety, diabetes, asthma, migraines and much more. Many Reflexologists believe that their treatments can be effective in promoting fertility, healing injuries, and curing certain illnesses, but there is no concrete scientific evidence to back those claims.
Reflexology is not medical magic, but it can certainly help improve circulation, mood, and relieve certain pains. If you want to relieve muscle pains or stress without the potential side effects of medication, ask your doctor if Reflexology might be right for you.
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