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From My Toes to My Head


BORED of popping those pills, feeling rundown and stressed all the time? Well it may be time to give yourself a treat. For those of you who have not yet tried it, reflexology is a great natural way to de-stress and relax, which is the least it can do for you.

what exactly is reflexology?

It is a simple, safe, holistic therapy that helps to bring the body back to it's optimal functioning (homeostasis). Using the feet, hands or ears, practitioners are able to activate the innate healing ability that we all have. Most reflexologists don't like to be lumped by the terms "foot or hand massage", because what we do is not a simple massage; we stimulate various organs, muscles and glands by putting pressure on different areas or spots on the feet or hands.

how does it work?

Based on the Eastern medicinal philosophy, the body is connected via energy lines and meridians which run through it. This is much like acupuncture and acupressure. By pressing different areas or spots on the feet, electric impulses (messages) are sent up these meridians to the brain and then to the corresponding area of the body.

I prefer to work with the feet for several reasons. First because the feet are what grounds and connects us to the earth. They are also the largest of the reflex areas, with hundreds of thousands of nerve endings there. They are unfortunately the parts of the body that are abused and neglected the most, being crammed into fashionable high heels or sweaty Nikes in which they have difficulty breathing. Working with the feet provides an intimate connection for hands-on work whilst not being overly intrusive. The practitioner can simultaneously work, converse and/or keep an eye on facial expressions. These are important factors because there are often tender spots.

what to expect

During a session, which generally lasts between 40 minutes to an hour, you should be in a comfortable and warm environment. It is usually better to have a treatment away from your usual environment, which may be loaded with negative thoughts and emotions. Reflexology serves to stimulate not only your body, but your mind and spirit too, so being in a neutral space often makes you more open. One often experiences a hurts-so-good feeling in the areas that are most imbalanced. After the first treatment people react differently, many feel relaxed, refreshed and invigorated.

After the treatment, some may experience a hint of nausea. During the session toxins are released into the body and then excreted either by urinating more often or sweating, in which case one should drink fresh water at regular intervals. Others feel a little sleepy as the body heals itself, a process which can last up to 24 hours. Nevertheless, as I mentioned before, most people leave feel relaxed and floating, since the feet feel so light and refreshed.

As for how many sessions suffice for effective treatment, I generally recommend 8-10 treatments, although sometimes more are necessary, or one can continue just for the pleasure of it. One shouldn't have more than three treatments a week but it is good to keep the continuation so at least once a week is recommended.

things to bear in mind

Practitioners do not diagnose specific diseases or ailments, but they can give you an idea of what is unbalanced and requires special attention, and even suggest alternate therapies. Although reflexology can prove extremely effective in treating particular illnesses or problems, it uniquivocally centres on balancing out the energy of the entire body. A client should clarify whether they have ever broken bones in their feet or ankles before starting. Since fertility is increased, extra care should be taken whilst enjoying some forms of "exercise". Also, because it relaxes the body, I do not treat pregnant women, especially if there have been complications with carrying the baby; treatment is appropriate only before childbirth, to help induce the birth and lessen the labour pains. Reflexology is not like going to the doctor where you take a problem to be fixed, whilst you don't understand what is going on or why. A reflexologist should keep you informed about what they are doing and why. Because it is a holistic therapy, one must be prepared to do their bit for long-lasting effects. Changes shouldn't have to be extreme, but well-being is centres on keeping a natural balance and not leaving room for any state of dis-ease. So stopping negative or destructive habits by altering certain lifestyle attitudes, and taking things in good measure are all necessary accompaniments for the therapy. Most important of all, however, is that one should sit back and enjoy an ensuingly healthier, calmer and cleaner way of life from their head to their toes!

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