Reflexology is something that has always intrigued the team but never something many of us have spent time trying and testing out. This Monday it is Reflexology Day and our very own Shelley is currently on a journey to train in reflexology, massage and aromatherapy. We simply couldn't think of a more perfect excuse to find out more about the therapy so pulled the wonderful Shelley aside to delve into the wonderful world of reflexology. We even got some tips on trying it out of ourselves so keep your eyes peeled later in the blog.
Hi Shelley, would you mind telling us a bit about your relationship with reflexology...
I've always had an affiliation with holistic therapies; I think they're beautiful and relaxing. I've collected crystals since childhood, tinkered with essential oils and now I'm training in reflexology, massage and aromatherapy. I want to have my own dedicated space where I can treat clients and take them away from their stresses for an hour.
Sounds great! So what is the difference between Reflexology and a massage?
You actually get a bit of both! Reflexology is focused on the hands and feet. 'Putting your feet up after a long day' is an age-old saying that relates to feeling relaxed from the stresses of life and you get that from having reflexology. But beyond the feel-good effects, the practice and purpose go deeper than the skin and the muscles by putting pressure on specific points on the foot that correspond to organs and areas of the body (see image).
A reflexologist can feel if there is sensitivity or tenderness when those areas of the foot are stimulated. It usually indicates bodily weaknesses or imbalances within the corresponding organ according to the foot map.
If I was to book a reflexology session, what should I expect from it?
A session usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes. I check the feet for health, chat through any observations and then move on to some relaxation techniques. I then treat each foot individually.
It depends on where the client is in their treatment. If they've had the first session and found areas that need attention, I will focus on those areas. If it's the first session, I go through each foot thoroughly to find areas for focus, do some work on them further and then plan with the client about what I'll focus on next time.
It usually takes a few sessions for improvements to be seen but the nice relaxation feeling starts straight away.
What are the benefits of reflexology? What can it be used to treat?
Reflexology aids the body in healing itself by relieving stress, helping to clear any channels of blocked energy, increasing circulation, boosting the immune system and clearing the body of toxins to improve overall health and balance. Therefore, it can be used for most conditions. I always advise my clients to see a trained medical professional for conditions they're concerned about.
The only time reflexology is not advised is if the client is pregnant, has a history of blood clotting, or has an injury to the foot itself.
And if I am not sure if reflexology is for me, can I try it out on myself? If so, what are your recommendations for it?
Yes of course! It's great to do it for yourself. It gives you some well deserved time to spend on your own self-care. I'd do this every few weeks as a treat to yourself.
Get a copy of the foot map in front of you where you can see it clearly without bending. Sit on the floor on a comfortable surface and take the right foot between your hands. Hold the foot with the left hand and work your way through the areas, starting with the inside edge and arch of the foot. Use the thumb edge to apply pressure and move the thumb upwards in a 'creeping' motion.
Imagine the thumb is a worm, bending at the first joint and moving up when it flattens. The movements should be small and angled so that the left side tip of the thumb applies pressure.
Depending on how flexible you are, you might struggle to do the outside of the feet. Try swapping hands and using the left thumb to creep up the foot. You can then use both hands to do the ball of the foot and the toes. Note down any areas of sensitivity and do a little extra work on those areas.
Wow, thank you so much, Shelley!
Now to grab our foot map and test it out for ourselves. We would be so interested to find out how you get on if you give it a go yourself or your experiences of seeing a therapist), do let us know!
Our Mango Butter and Lemon Foot Balm are used by reflexologists in France to help ease the massage. Try yours here