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Information for health professionals

Whether you may be considering talking to patients about reflexology or simply wish to find out more, this section aims to help you find relevant information quickly and easily. I hope it will be useful in helping you decide whether referring to my service is right for your patient(s). 

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What is reflexology therapy?

Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary treatment modality based on the concept that there are specific reflex areas in the feet and hands, which are believed to correspond to particular parts of the body, glands and organs. Some practitioners may also include reflex points on the ears and face. Practitioners use precise movements and techniques to stimulate the reflexes, which involve application of appropriate pressure using the thumb and fingers. Reflexology is a complementary natural therapy that can be used safely alongside standard health care to promote patient wellbeing. Practitioners do not diagnose or 'treat' medical conditions.

How does it work?

Working reflexes on the foot is thought to effect changes in the corresponding part of the body often leading to a natural re-balancing process, which helps the body maintain or regain its natural state of homeostasis.

One theory is that these effects are created by increased blood flow to the area of the body the reflexologist is treating on the foot. This is supported by research using MRI technology [1, 2], which showed increased blood flow into areas of the brain corresponding to the reflexology point of action being treated on the foot.  Other theories stipulate that reflexology works through the nervous system (each foot has over 7,000 nerve endings) or that impulses travel from the feet through the body via energy pathways, similar to the notion of meridians in acupuncture.

References:

[1] Somatotopical relationships between cortical activity and reflex areas in reflexology: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Nakamaru T, Miura N, Fukushima A, Kawashima R.Neurosci Lett. 2008 Dec 19;448(1):6-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.10.022. Epub 2008 Oct 14.PMID: 18938220

 

[2] Activity in the primary somatosensory cortex induced by reflexological stimulation is unaffected by pseudo-information: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study.

Miura N, Akitsuki Y, Sekiguchi A, Kawashima R.BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 May 27;13:114. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-114.PMID: 23711332

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