Question

Alternative Medicine

What is reflexology?

A Answers (7)

  • ALinda Lee, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Johns Hopkins Medicine

    Reflexology works on what are called "reflex channels". A reflexologist massages specific hand, feet, and ear pressure points to promote general well-being. It also works on releasing tension and pain in specific areas.

    Remember, you should never use reflexology as a substitute for any regular therapy you're receiving for a specific problem. Instead, seek it out as a helpful add-on to current treatments. Also, make sure a qualified professional is treating you. To find a qualified massage therapist, talk to your doctor and check with an integrated health center (many major medical centers now offer these). Also look online; there are national associations for massage therapists and they offer provider locator services.

  • ADaphne Oz, Health Education, answered
    Reflexology is a form of bodywork that correlates external points on the soles of the feet with various internal organs and processes. Pressing on these different foot points is supposed to stimulate healthy functioning inside the body. Reflexology bases some of its practices on principles rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, whereby using pressure points around the body to stimulate the flow of energy can help heal and promote optimal health.
  • ADebra Fulghum Bruce PhD, Healthcare, answered
    Reflexology works along the same principle as acupressure and shiatsu. This ancient healing art is based on the theory that reflex zones on the feet correspond with specific zones or organs in the body. By massaging or manipulating the zones on the feet with your thumb, fingers, or hands, you can influence healing in the body. For instance, according to reflexology theory, massaging the outer side of the foot may ease any ailment or pain you feel in your back. Alternatively, massaging the big toe may ease a chronic headache.
  • ABen Kaminsky, Dermatology, answered
    Reflexology or Zone therapy is a healing art based upon the theory that there are reflex areas, or specific points, in the feet and hands that correspond to all the glands and organs in the body. The term "reflex" refers to the fact that these points are responsive to stimulus.

    As with acupuncture and other touch modalities, reflexologists believe that nerve pathways exist throughout the body. When any of these pathways is blocked, the body experiences discomfort or “disease.” Reflexology is thought to revive this energy flow and bring the body back into homeostasis or a state of balance.
  • Reflexology is the ancient practice of applying pressure to specific parts of the foot, and sometimes the hands, which are thought to correspond to specific glands, organs, and other parts of the body. Similar to acupressure and shiatsu, as the reflexologist works on each reflex, it is claimed that the patient experiences a reduction of stress and tension in the corresponding body part.

    Reflexology is usually a painless therapy, without serious side effects. It is relatively easy to learn a few of the basic techniques in order to help yourself or other family members. The initial reflexology session usually lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. If hand reflexology is included, the session could last longer.
  • ADiscovery Health answered

    Reflexology is a controversial theory that puts the control center for our entire body in our hands and in our feet.

    From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes a certain amount of sense that our body's responses might be connected to the feet. After all, the instinctive fight-or-flight response requires quick action from our feet, if our brain decides that fleeing is our best chance for survival.

    Reflexogy has some similarities to acupressure is but less well-known. It has been around in China since around 2700 B.C.

  • Reflexology involves the application of manual pressure to specific points or areas of the feet called "reflex points" that are believed to correspond to other parts of the body. Reflexology is often used with the intention to relieve stress or prevent/treat physical disorders. Pressure may also be applied to the hands or ears.

    Reflexology charts consist of pictures of the soles of the feet on which diagrams of corresponding internal organs or parts of the body are drawn. For example, charts may display that the toes correspond to the head and neck, the ball of the foot to the chest and lungs, the arch of the foot to the internal organs, the heel to the sciatic nerve and pelvic area, and the bone along the arch of the foot to the spine. The right side of the body is believed to be reflected in the right foot, and the left side in the left foot.

    Although most reflexologists formally claim that these relationships are not used to diagnose disease, practicing reflexologists sometimes assert that tenderness or a gritty feeling of the feet represents current or past disease in the corresponding area of the body.

    Reflexology is sometimes combined with other techniques, and may be used by healthcare practitioners of various disciplines (such as massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical therapists, or nurses).

    Individual reflexology sessions often last from 30 to 60 minutes, and may be part of a 4 to 8 week course of therapy. Practitioners range from those who taught themselves from books to individuals who attended training courses and belong to professional associations. Techniques can be learned and self-administered. No widely accepted regulatory systems exist for reflexology, and there is currently no state licensure or training requirement in the United States.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.



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