Reflexology is based on the principle that reflex points on the soles, tops, and sides of the feet correspond to different areas of the body. In this way, the feet can be seen as a ‘map’ of the body. By applying specialised massage techniques to specific reflex points – using the thumbs, fingers and knuckles – the aim of a reflexology treatment is to help restore balance to the body naturally, and improve the client’s general well-being.
Some therapists may also work reflex points on the hands, ears and face, however it is the feet that are most commonly treated in reflexology.
What to expect
We start with a full consultation, asking various questions about your health and lifestyle, to ensure reflexology is right for you. For the treatment itself you will remain fully clothed, simply removing your shoes and socks. You’ll be invited to relax on a reclining chair or treatment couch, or to put your feet up on a footstool. We will gently clean your feet before applying a fine powder, cream of oil, to help provide a free-flowing treatment, and then start gently massaging and stretching your feet and ankles.
As the treatment progresses, a variety of different reflexology techniques will be used to ‘work’ the reflex points on each foot, including a caterpillar-like movement called ‘thumb walking’. The areas treated and pressure applied will be adapted to suit your individual needs. Treatment generally lasts for 45 minutes to an hour, though shorter reflexology sessions may be more appropriate in some instances.
Benefits of reflexology
Reflexology can help to relieve anxiety and tension, encourage relaxation, improve mood and aid sleep, though some people use it to help them cope with more specific health challenges. Reflexology is often used alongside conventional care in hospices, hospitals and other healthcare settings, to help support patients with a variety of conditions.