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What Are the Benefits of Reflexology by Using a Foot Massager?

November 17, 2016

Reflexology is the physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hand with thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas on the feet and hand that correspond to organs in the body. 

The premise is that massaging particular areas of the feet and hand will induce a positive physical benefit to specific organs and to the body in general.

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Foot Massage: All The Benefits Of Reflexology In The Convenience Of Your Own Home

Sometimes a relaxing foot massage is just what you need. Delivered by a caring partner, massaging the feet conveys comfort and care. But the mechanical stimulation of your feet doesn't just feel good.

The discipline of reflexology teaches us that foot massage can be healing massage. The good news is, you don't need to see a reflexologist. You can get many of the benefits of healing foot massage in the convenience and privacy of your own home.

Three theories of how reflexology works

How does reflexology work? There are three major theories.

  1. One theory is that when pressure is applied to the feet, a signal travels through the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system to the brain, which makes necessary adjustments in hormonal levels that affect specific areas of the body.
  2. Another theory is that stimulating the 7200 nerves in the feet can break up patterns of stress.
  3. And a third theory is that "chi" or "life force" can become blocked in its channels and unblocked by gentle stimulation of the feet.

Of all those three theories I would focus on the nervous system to explain the workings of reflexology.

Our feet and hands contain pressure sensors that are a part of the body's reflexive response that makes possible the "fight or flight" reaction to danger. An example of this adrenaline surge is our ability to withstand or "forget" temporary pain in dangerous situations.

Pressure is applied to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. Stretch and movement techniques are used to provide relaxation to the feet and hand. Oil, cream, and lotions are not used in traditional reflexology work.

It All Comes Down Feeling Great After Foot Massage

As long as you are relying on reflexology massage to feel better, it really doesn't make any difference how it works! The simple truth about many healing methods is they don't cure diseases, they just make you feel great! That's the real value in reflexology foot massage. When you feel better, your body sorts things out. When you feel better, soon you really are better, and it's not all about disease and cure.

Foot massage is safe for adults and children alike. And with gentle infrared radiant heat, it feels even better.

Believers of reflexology claim the following benefits claim:

  • The body is divided into 10 longitudinal zones - five on each side of the body
  • Each organ or part of the body is represented on the feet and hands.
  • A reflexology practitioner can diagnose abnormalities by feeling the feet and hands.
  • Massaging each area stimulates the flow of energy, nutrients, blood, and nerve impulses to the corresponding body zone to relieve ailments in that zone.

Proponents claim that foot reflexology can cleanse the body of toxins, improve circulation, and improve the health of organs throughout the body.

Non-believers of reflexology thinks that:

  • Reflexology is subjective and based on a placebo effect.
  • There is no solid evidence of improved health as a direct result of reflexology.
  • Reflexology cannot directly cure certain health problems.
  • Reflexology is just another form of massage therapy with limited effectiveness.
  • Paying $35 - $100 for a foot massage is too expensive.

The Bottom Line

Reflexology is a popular alternative therapy based on the idea that pressure points on the feet and hand correspond to reflex zones that are connected to every internal organ and body zone.

Proponents believe that reflexology stimulates body zones and organs therefore resulting in improved health or maintenance of good health. Opponents argue that the benefits resulting from reflexology are just placebo effects so it's all psychological. In other words, reflexology is just a glorified word for massage therapy.

While reflexology can promote comfort and relaxation and possibly promote well being, there are many factors in determining good health such as diet, exercise, genes, and whether or not you smoke. If you feel you're getting direct benefits from reflexology, then you should continue and enjoy this alternative therapy.

History of Reflexology From ancient Egypt to the USA

Archeological evidence from Egypt, China, and Japan reveals that ancient reflexology medical systems existed. In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century based on research on the nervous system and reflexes. While there is no direct evidence of direct cross-fertilization from ancient times, the practice of reflexology in a variety of cultures, historical periods, and belief systems indicates that reflexology is a factor in promoting health.

Reflexology has been practiced in Egypt for thousands of years, but it was introduced into the United States in 1913 by William Fitzgerald, a physician who was an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Dr. Fitzgerald noticed that certain zones on the feet corresponded to other parts of the body and that stimulating them correcting imbalances in those parts of the body. He called his technique "zone therapy".

In the 1930's the technique was further developed by Eunice D. Ingham, who was a nurse and physiotherapist. She found that the feet especially sensitive to zone therapy (Dr. Fitzgerald had also worked with the hands and ears), so she mapped the functions of entire body into their "reflexes" on the feet. Due to her efforts "zone therapy" was renamed reflexology.


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