By: Emily Crown-Robinson RMT, CST, Dipl.ST, CR
The Pacific Wellness Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Ontario College of Reflexology defines reflexology as a focused pressure technique, usually directed at the hands and feet.
It is based on the premise that there are zones and reflexes on different parts of the body, which correspond to and are relative to all parts, glands, and organs of the entire body. It is like there is a map of the body represented in the hands and the feet.
The following is a brief history of reflexology.
The oldest documentation of the use of reflexology was found in Egypt. There is a scene depicted on papyrus paper, dating back to 2,500 B.C, showing medical practitioners treating the hands and feet of their patients.
In 1917 an American physician, Dr. William Fitzgerald discovered ‘Zone Therapy’. This therapy postulated the existence of ten zones of energy dividing the body from head to feet. By applying pressure to specific areas of the fingers with his hands – he discovered that he could relieve pain in other areas of the body in the same zone.
From the 1930s until her death in 1974, Eunice Ingham, an American therapist, researched reflexology as well. She discovered that the feet were more responsive to pressure than the hands and instated them as the major treatment area.
The International Institute of Reflexology, founded in 1973, has the view that energy is constantly flowing through channels or zones in the body. Those channels terminate to form the reflex points on the feet and hands. When the energy flow is unimpeded, we remain healthy; but when it becomes blocked by tension or congestion, the disease occurs. Having treatment done on the reflexes helps to break down blockages, thus bringing homeostasis and harmony to the organ systems.
Anybody can receive a reflexology treatment – from babies to the elderly. The treatment focus can be for relaxation, as a general ‘tune-up’, or to assist an unhealthy body. Furthermore, it is safe and helpful to receive during pregnancy.
For example – the various aches and pains experienced by an expectant mother as her body changes its shape to accommodate a growing baby can be relieved through reflexology points on the hands and feet. Reflexology is also safe for most pre and post-surgical situations.
Possible benefits of such a treatment are:
Relaxation of the nervous system decreased stress and anxiety
Increased circulation (respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal)
Helps to flush away metabolites (‘toxins’)
Aids the body to normalize metabolism (the digestive system for example)
Compliments all other healing modalities
What to expect during a reflexology treatment on the feet*
The client is fully clothed, supine, only the socks are removed. The feet are then ‘refreshed’ – usually with a mixture of 50% water and 50% witch-hazel solution. A small amount of hypoallergenic lubricant is then applied to the feet to reduce the friction of the therapist’s movements and to create a rhythmic flow to the treatment. You then have the opportunity to slip away into dreamland.
As trained shiatsu (CST) and massage therapist (RMT), as well as a certified reflexologist (CR)– I would be happy to incorporate this modality into your next treatment – or you could simply try reflexology on its own. Let the treatment speak for itself and discover the benefits it has for you. See you soon!
Emily Crown-Robinson, RMT, Dipl.ST (Hon),
* The actual procedural protocol may slightly vary depending on the reflexologist and each client’s health status or foot conditions. You are encouraged to express your preferences before the session and provide your feedback during the session. Our reflexologist will try his/her best to accommodate your needs and preferences.
Note: The reflexology treatment provided by our registered massage therapists (RMT) is covered by most employee benefits.