What is Reflexology and how does it work?


Blog11-ReflexologyReflexology is the application of direct pressure to specific points located in the hands, feet and ears. Reflexologists believe that these specific points correspond to particular organs and body systems throughout the body and that, applying pressure to those points results in physical health and mental benefits.  Although Reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure disease, it is often used in conjunction with other traditional treatments to help relieve symptoms and promote healing.  It is often used to improve conditions related to anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, headaches, PMS, and sinusitis.

The origin of Reflexology can be traced back to ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilizations, with evidence of hieroglyphics documentation of pressure points on the feet, dating back to 2330 BC. In modern times, Reflexology was said to be further researched and professionally documented by Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) with the publication of Relieving Pain at Home in 1917.  His philosophy was based on his research that concluded, “Humanity is awakened to the fact that sickness, in a large percentage of cases, is an error of body and mind.”  Dr. Fitzgerald also created the first known map of the longitudinal zones along the body and their corresponding “reflex” or point of contact to create a physical response and promote healing. This was called Zone Therapy. His modern research opened a door for additional professional research and documentation, which has evolved Reflexology to its current state.

To perform a Reflexology session, the therapist will begin with a consultation with the patient to document any physical ailments and gain knowledge regarding the purpose for the visit. Reflexology is often performed on a massage table, with the patient fully clothed and removal of shoes and socks only.  The therapist will find the corresponding reflex point and apply direct pressure with their thumb or fingers.  The brief pressure on these specific points allows the release of built up toxins and blocked energy.  During the treatment, physical and mental tensions are released and a state of relaxation is achieved.  This allows the body to improve circulation, reduce pain, relax muscles, encourage lymphatic system drainage, release toxins, and stimulate the nerve pathways.  Each session typically lasts from 60-90 minutes.

While there continues to be a debate regarding medical documentation and authenticity of the long-term benefits of Reflexology, many patients still turn to this non-conventional method of treatment. In fact, its popularity continues to flourish.

Massage Therapy students at Arizona College learn how to incorporate Reflexology into their Massage Therapy ritual in their course MTM 210 Spa Techniques. Do you like the idea of learning how to perform Reflexology to reduce pain and promote general well being?  Have you considered a career as a professional Massage Therapist? With a career in Massage Therapy, you could work in resorts, spas, gyms, and chiropractic offices, or even start your own business. Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.