Other Name: Zone therapy
Reflexology is gentle manipulation or pressing on certain parts of the foot to produce an effect elsewhere in the body.
It is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a pseudoscientific system of zones and reflex areas that purportedly reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.
There is no convincing evidence that reflexology is effective for any medical condition.
There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one’s qi.(a “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow”. As per the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts.)
Reflexologists divide the body into ten equal vertical zones, five on the right and five on the left. Concerns have been raised by medical professionals that treating potentially serious illnesses with reflexology, which has no proven efficacy, could delay the seeking of appropriate medical treatment.
Reflexologists posit that the blockage of an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi, can prevent healing. Another tenet of reflexology is the belief that practitioners can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body through the manipulation of the feet. One claimed explanation is that the pressure received in the feet may send signals that ‘balance’ the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce stress and pain. These hypotheses are rejected by the medical community, who cite a lack of scientific evidence and the well-tested germ theory of disease.
Reflexology’s claim to manipulate energy (Qi) is unsupported by science; there is no scientific evidence for the existence of life energy (Qi), ‘energy balance’, ‘crystalline structures,’ or ‘pathways’ in the body.
In Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, Simon Singh states that if indeed the hands and feet “reflect” the internal organs, reflexology might be expected to explain how such “reflection” was derived from the process of Darwinian natural selection; but Singh says that no argument or evidence has been adduced.
Reviews from 2009 and 2011 have not found evidence sufficient to support the use of reflexology for any medical condition. A 2009 systematic review of randomized controlled trials concludes: “The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.”
In 2015 the Australian Government’s Department of Health published the results of a review of alternative therapies that sought to determine if any were suitable for being covered by health insurance; reflexology was one of 17 therapies evaluated for which no clear evidence of effectiveness was found.
The benefits of reflexology include its ability to stimulate nerve function, increase energy, boost circulation, induce a deep state of relaxation, eliminate toxins, stimulate the central nervous system, prevent migraines, and treat urinary tract conditions. This type of massage speeds up recovery after an injury or surgery, reduces sleep disorders, and relieves depression and pain. Furthermore, it can help to ease the treatment of various types of cancer and even help to soothe the pain of pregnancy, even the one occurring after delivery.
Whether you work in an office, a factory, a field, a hospital, or anything in between, there is a good chance that you put a lot of weight and stress on your feet every day. It is not always the back, stress can manifest itself in the other parts of our body too. People often opt for massages, so it makes sense that there should be foot massages too, right? Reflexology is much more than a foot massage, but at its foundation, that’s the easiest way to describe the process. This specific area of massage therapy also includes hands and ears, making it a holistic massage.
Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.
Reflexologists claim that reflexology also can treat a wide variety of medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and cancer. However, scientific evidence is lacking to support these claims.
Reflexology is generally considered safe, although very vigorous pressure may cause discomfort for some people.
Cold or Flu:
Reflexology is generally considered to be a safe therapeutic method, but in some cases, people have developed cold or flu-like symptoms afterwards. Practitioners refer to this as a healing crisis that occurs as the body eliminates harmful toxins. You may experience a runny nose from sinus congestion or cough up mucus from the lungs as the bronchial passages clear.
You might notice yourself yawning; in fact, falling asleep during treatment and feeling tired afterward is pretty normal. If you experience both fatigue and a headache, it may be anxiety, which many people experience at the onset of illness or when beginning a new treatment therapy. Some people also develop headaches when they feel tired; since these two side effects seem to go hand in hand, a headache usually disappears once your energy returns.
You might experience various emotional reactions during or after reflexology treatments. Some people feel relaxed or like laughing, and others feel like crying. An intense state of relaxation may even make you feel lightheaded. If feeling emotional is uncomfortable, try to be gentle with yourself and trust that any overwhelming feelings should pass.
Tenderness, increased sensitivity, tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation in the feet are temporary side effects during or following the first reflexology session.
Uncommon Side Effects:
Nausea, excessive sweating, insatiable thirst and skin rashes are other possible side effects. Reflexologists say that nausea may be due to the effect of eliminating toxins from your body. Drink plenty of water to help to ease the discomfort. Staying well hydrated also helps remove toxins from the kidneys, bladder and liver. Another way to fight nausea is to take small bites and chew slowly when you eat. Do not eat foods that are high in fat or sugar, as these take longer to digest. Some people may experience more frequent urination or bowel movements for a day or two afterward, as the body detoxes.
Duration of Side Effects:
Side effects normally don’t last for more than 24 hours, but in some cases, individuals may continue to experience mild discomfort for a few days afterward. The symptoms being treated may actually get worse before they begin to get better; this usually means that your body is responding. If symptoms continue to worsen, or if you notice any new symptoms after a day or two, report them to your doctor and reflexologist immediately.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.