What is reflexology?

Reflexology, whether plantar or palmar, provides deep relaxation and has a repairing and preventive aspect. It adapts to everyone’s needs. allows a different and complementary approach to allopathic medicine.

Reflexology aims to mobilize the body’s self-healing processes. It is practiced by exerting sustained pressure, with the fingertips, on reflex zones or points located on the feet, hands and ears. These points correspond to organs or organic functions. Reflexology is not a massage technique, although it may look like it at first glance. It would be more akin to shiatsu. Reflexology does not claim to cure specific ailments. Rather, it seeks to provide some relief from all kinds of ailments: headaches or backaches, PMS, stress, respiratory problems, etc.

The main principles

We still have little knowledge of the precise mechanism of action of reflexology. To date, there is little or no explanation for the topography of the reflex zones and the mode of action of reflexology.

However, we are familiar with the concept of remote stimulation. When we touch the skin, the information received by it first passes through the nerves of the spine to then reach different areas of the brain and deliver information. This responds by sending back, still through the column, nerve impulses to the organs, blood vessels, muscles …

Reflexology is also based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. This is why its action aims to restore the good circulation of the vital energy, Qi, in the body.

The reflex zones are not found in exactly the same places on the different reflexology charts. This can be explained by two factors. First, reflexology is still an empirical and experimental approach, the identification of the location of the points may vary slightly depending on research and clinical practice. Then the points on the charts are points to look for. Their location differs a little, depending on the morphology of the individuals. This is of course not a problem for the experienced practitioner.

Foot reflexology

Foot reflexology is by far the most widely practiced. It is based on a very precise mapping. Without going into details, we find mainly on the underside of the foot the internal organs and on the top the ventral side. The spine is located on the inner edge of the foot, on the big toe side. On the left foot are the organs of the left half of the body (spleen, etc.), on the right foot the organs of the right half (liver, gall bladder, etc.) and on both feet, the even organs (kidneys, lungs, etc.) ) and the organs placed in the middle of the body (heart, stomach, etc.).

Palmar reflexology

Palmar reflexology is much less known and practiced. Our hands, like our feet, are the mirror of our body. Reflex zones are located both on the fingers, in the palm and on the top of both hands.

The benefits of reflexology

Bring relaxation and well-being

By massaging in other areas of the solar plexus, diaphragm and adrenal glands, reflexology allows the person to let go, take a step back, digest their emotions while helping the body to fight against stress, anxiety and fatigue and regain energy.

Relieve pain

Osteo-muscular pain generally responds very well to reflexology. By promoting the relaxation of the whole organism and by emphasizing more particularly on the reflex zones of the painful parts of the body, reflexology relieves the pain and makes it possible to start a process of self-healing. It is effective in the case of back pain, neck pain, …

Stimulate internal organs and relieve so-called “functional” disorders

The stimulation of the reflex zones of the organs helps to restore the good functioning of the great systems of the organism: respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, … reflexology is very effective for all functional disorders: poor digestion, constipation, premenstrual syndrome, … It is also an ideal accompaniment for pregnant women, it helps to regulate minor ailments related to pregnancy (insomnia, fatigue, back pain…).

Improve blood and lymphatic circulation

The work of the reflex zones of the lymphatic system and the blood system improves blood and lymphatic circulation. The sensations of heavy legs, cold feet, edema in the ankles are reduced. The elimination of toxins is facilitated and the immune system strengthened.

Bring comfort to the sick and people in palliative care

For many people with severe diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or in palliative care, reflexology brings real comfort. It helps to support the sometimes heavy treatments and their side effects. It contributes to a decrease in their state of anxiety and improves their quality of life. They feel a sense of relaxation and well-being.

Maintain good health and prevent disease

By stimulating the lymphatic, endocrine and internal organs, reflexology supports our immune defenses, helps manage the stress responsible for many ailments and can therefore play an important role in preventing and maintaining good health.

Reflexology in practice

Some reflexology exercises to do at home

There are all kinds of items on the market for massaging the reflex zones of the feet and hands. But you can just use a golf ball or an empty bottle or any other cylindrical object.

Observe your reactions to the pressure their hard surface puts on your feet and hands. Choose pressure that respects your preferences and comfort.

For the feet

  • 1st exercise: Place a golf ball in the palm of your palm, apply it against your arch, your fingers resting on the inner edge of the foot. Roll it up. Insist on sensitive parts.
  • 2nd exercise: Put your foot on a rolling pin or an empty bottle then go back and forth, making sure to tilt forward and back to activate the different reflex zones.

For hands

Crossing your fingers, squeeze the reflex zones located at the base of the palms and insert a golf ball between them, which you roll. To target an area, place the golf ball on it and hold it in place with the fingers of the other hand, then roll it.

The specialist

The reflexologist is a professional in well-being and stress management. It promotes the body’s self-regulation process, by stimulating the plantar, palmar, auricular, facial and / or cranial reflex zones.

He takes charge of the consultant as a whole and accompanies him towards a better balance of the organism. He uses techniques of palpation and stimulation of reflex zones to treat imbalances, pain and functional disorders.

Course of a session

After an interview, which allows the reflexologist to learn about the general state of health (quality of sleep, digestion, stress level, recent operations, etc.) and the purpose of the consultant’s visit, the latter s ‘sits comfortably in a deckchair or on a massage table. The first reflexology actions themselves are dedicated to the relaxation of the person. Then follows precise manipulations on certain reflex zones in order to allow the body to find the homeostasis necessary for its proper functioning.

During and at the end of the session, the person is invited to discuss the sensations they have felt.

Become a reflexologist

Since 2015, some training organizations have obtained the professional certification of the title of reflexologist from the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP). However, this profession is not regulated and its exercise remains free (according to the Rome K1103 sheet from Pôle Emploi).

The reflexologist is a professional in personal development and the well-being of the person (activity recognized by Pôle Emploi, Operational Directory of Trades and Jobs, sheet N ° K1103, Personal Development and Well-being of the person).

The reflexologist activity is also offered by INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) in 2 categories:

  • Human health and social action – APE Code 8690F Human health activity not elsewhere classified.
  • Other service activities – APE Code 9604Z Body Care

Contraindications of reflexology

Reflexology is an approach that does not seem to involve significant risks. However, certain precautions should be taken, among others with pregnant women. Indeed, certain points could stimulate the onset of labor or increase fetal movements. Caution should also be exercised for people with problems related to the circulatory and lymphatic systems36. In the event of phlebitis, arteritis and thrombosis, reflexology is not recommended.

Reflexology is contraindicated for people suffering from trauma and inflammation of the feet (sprains, strains, bruises, etc.), cardiovascular diseases, circulatory disorders (phlebitis, thrombosis), and during the first three months of pregnancy . Certain situations require the agreement of the attending physician.

History of reflexology

Ancient illustrations and texts suggest that the Chinese and Egyptians used a form of foot reflexology during antiquity. In the West, one of the first works on the subject was published in 1582 by two European doctors, famous in their time, Drs Adamus and Atatis.

Modern reflexology dates back to the work of an American physician, Dr. William Fitzgerald. While researching a method of anesthesia in minor surgery, he found that the pain experienced by his patients lessened if he applied pressure to certain points on the body. His theory, developed in 1913, is based on an anatomical model that divides the body into 10 energy zones, going from head to toe, each linked to specific places on the body: the reflex zones.

It was Eunice Ingham (1889-1974), an American physiotherapist assistant to Dr Fitzgerald, who developed, in the early 1930s – from the discoveries of this doctor – reflexology as we know it today. hui. She is the author of the first treatise on modern reflexology in which the whole body is literally “mapped” on the hands and feet.

Eunice Ingham has given seminars all over North America. She also founded the first reflexology school. Now called the International Institute of Reflexology, this school is headed by Dwight Byers, Eunice Ingham’s nephew. Their teaching is offered in several countries of the world.

The specialist’s opinion

Plantar reflexology, whatever its approach, is a very effective technique for relieving stress and reviving the various organic systems of the body. Its purpose is not to treat or diagnose a specific medical disorder but to stimulate our capacity for self-healing. It allows you to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Reflexology is an effective technique which aims to stimulate the body’s self-healing faculties. It allows to release blockages and tensions at the physical, mental and emotional level, and to relieve the ailments of everyday life: stress, fatigue, back pain, digestive disorders, constipation, sleep disorders … no case of medical treatment. The reflexologist does not make a diagnosis.

The frequency of the sessions depends on the disorders and the receptivity of the organism. For a specific problem, 2 or 3 sessions 8 or 10 days apart can be a good rhythm. Otherwise, a visit to your reflexologist every 3 or 4 weeks allows a good rebalancing and a good prevention. You can also decide to have a session at the start of each season.

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