When I began to study Reflexology, I knew nothing about it.
Except for one thing... I knew it worked for me.
Back in the days when I began having Reflex therapy myself, it made me feel better and it got my monthly cycle back to, well.... a monthly cycle!
I wasn't interested in 'how' it worked back then, it wasn't something I wanted to spend time analysing.
As with many things in life, I booked that first appointment with a lovely local Reflexologist (in the UK) because my best friend recommended I try the therapy, and as I trusted her advice implicitly, of course I was going to give it a shot.
Now with hindsight, I realise that the decision I made and took action on that day, was as they say... an absolute 'no brainer'.
You see, sometimes you don't need to know the 'ins and the outs' of things, provided there's no real risk of death, you just need to take a leap of faith and see where it takes you.
After receiving those Reflexology treatments, it took me a while to get to the 'study' stage (2 years!). On my first day of practical work, when I was finally able to get my hands on a pair of feet, the passion and intrigue for Reflexology became overwhelming.
It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, just thinking about it... even now, after all this time.
But I understand that you may be wondering how Reflexology actually works?
I guess, for reasons to do with how governments and local authorities fund research into health and medicine, there is unfortunately no scientific evidence relating to precisely what happens when pressure is applied to points on the foot and how that causes a positive response in distant part of the body.
A big toe being pressed, causes an effect in the brain, for example.
Findings are either anecdotal or small scale and independently researched. If you go and google 'Reflexology research', you'll find tons of studies from across the world.
In fact, we are heavily reliant on pioneers and key figureheads in the Complementary or Alternative Therapy arena.
Supporters of Reflexology, who over the decades, have independently dedicated their lives to understanding, developing and then tirelessly raising its profile. Of course, we've got the millions of people around the globe that know beyond doubt just how effective Reflexology is for the mind and body because they depend on regular treatments to heal, preserve and optimise their physical, mental and emotional health, particularly when other, more orthodox options don't work for them.
Reflexology is simply a very safe, subtle and effective therapy and let's be honest, spending government money on research to prove or try to dispel its superpowers will not fill the pharmaceutical companies pockets.
But what about the effects of the treatment itself? There are a number of differing theories that have been put forward over the centuries (the Egyptians were first you know) behind why such positive results are experienced.
For me, the more plausible explanations are any combination of the following:
Circulation of blood and lymph...
The body needs energy in the form of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. As Reflexology improves blood circulation through pressure and massage, so the efficiency of organs, muscles, tissues and cells increases, as everything is inter-connected. Where there are blood vessels, there are also lymph vessels carrying toxins and waste away from the body. Increase circulation and the elimination of waste products is more efficient too, leaving you with a lovely balanced body that works as it should.
The Nervous system…
There's a theory that Reflexology works with the nervous system, as a vast network of neural pathways exist in the feet (7,000 approx) that run up through the body. In the simplest terms, apply pressure to a specific part of the foot and it sends an electric signal up the neural system pathways, affecting the part of the body at its end point. If a pathway becomes blocked or impaired then the nerve function is affected as the signal cannot reach its destination which leaves the body less able to function properly. Reflexology aids the clearing of these neural pathways.
Energy, Chi or Life Forces...
As in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there's the belief that every living thing has an electromagnetic energy field running through it. Our bodies have channels or 'meridians' that the Chi, or life force naturally flows through. Disrupt the movement of Chi through stagnation, blockage or imbalance and disease and illness occurs. TCM works to alleviate the problems and get the Chi flowing properly again, bringing the body back into balance. This theory applies to Reflexology, Acupressure and Acupuncture too.
Our own individual beliefs...
There's our own belief system and attitudes to life and the things that happen to us, what we experience and how we deal with them. When we are open to new ideas and philosophies, could it be that we stand a better chance of them benefiting and enriching our lives?
Could it be that those with a closed and more cynical viewpoint, set themselves up to anticipate failure so get failure, or are they happy to just risk missing out on the experience altogether?
Simply, isn't it better to try something new instead of writing it off at the first hurdle?
Give Reflexology a try today, I promise you'll have no regrets.
Reflexology Association's worldwide demand a high standard of practitioner experience and qualification from their members. These websites all have a Find-A-Practitioner link, so try them first and foremost: