Everybody loves a good foot rub. But did you know foot massage dates back to ancient Egypt and China? That’s right, over 5,000 years ago our ancestors were rubbing each other’s feet. In the late 1800s, Europeans invented reflexology: applying pressure to a person’s feet (or hands) in order to affect a physical change to the body. Placement of pressure is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that correspond to other parts of the body.
Also called “zone therapy,” this mixture of healing art and science is based on the premise that an energy channel encompassing 12 vital organs exists from our feet to the tops of our heads. Applying pressure with his/her hands, a reflexologist unblocks that channel to restore proper health and organ function.
Because the principles of foot massage are not in alignment with Western science, reflexology did not come to the United States until the 20th century. Since then, it has become an increasingly popular alternative therapy – due in part to the current holistic medicine trend.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Chinese Reflexology works a lot like acupuncture only without the needles. By massaging reflexology points on your feet, you can balance and harmonize your body’s energy meridians.
Chinese Reflexology points on your feet correspond to different areas of your body.
You may be skeptical when you hear about this method of healing but there are many experiences shared by people which prove that Chinese reflexology for feet is very useful.
‘’When I first learned of Chinese Reflexology many years ago, I was very skeptical. At the time, I was struggling with my health. I had been working for years in a career that I hated, and eventually my body couldn’t handle the stress any longer and it started to break down.
Fortunately, my boyfriend (now husband) told me about his Chinese Reflexologist. I remember thinking, Reflexology? Isn’t that where they rub your feet? How is that going to help me? With nothing to lose, I decided to try it for a month, and that decision completely transformed my life.
As I received Chinese Reflexology treatments, my health stabilized and I started feeling better. I was so amazed by the improvement in my health that I decided to learn how to practice this ancient healing art on myself’’ – Holly Tse
Please note if you are pregnant: There are acupuncture points in and around your feet that are used to induce labor. Thus, it is best to avoid practicing Chinese reflexology on yourself if you are pregnant.
FOOT REFLEXOLOGY BENEFITS
Think about how much stress your feet go through each day. No body part is more abused than your feet. Standing, running, jumping – our feet do it all! Reflexologists believe that overall health begins in your feet and travels up. The benefits of foot massage are endless – not to mention it feels downright great! Although there are no “hard facts” to prove what a foot massage can really do, practitioners and patients alike claim that reflexology can:
- Cure colds/minor ailments
- Prevent/cure diseases
- Increase energy
- Relieve stress, pain, and anxiety
- Improve blood and lymph circulation
- Prevent injury
- Relieve pain from MS and chemotherapy
- Stimulate activity of internal organs
- Successfully treat liver dysfunction, constipation, IBS, chronic headaches, and skin allergies
- Relieve pressure on legs and feet in pregnant women
The benefits aren’t purely physical. A good foot massage can also improve your mental and emotional state. Most of those who seek out a reflexologist are looking for relaxation and stress relief. With less stress in your life, your chance of heart disease drops considerably.
There are four basic reflexology areas on the soles of each foot. The “head and neck” area encompasses all five toes. In this area you will find points corresponding to the sinuses, eyes, ears, etc.
The “spine,” which runs up the inside of each foot, is located where your toes connect to the rest of your foot. This is the most important reflexology zone – you can think of it as a highway for the communications between your brain and your nerves, bones, and muscles.
The “chest area” is located around the ball of the foot. This area is generally a darker color than the middle of the foot. It is associated with the lungs, shoulders, etc.
The “waist line” is located wherever your foot is widest. This section correlates with the stomach, liver, intestines, etc. and is generally a lighter color.
The “pelvic area” is located at the heel. It is typically a darker color, like the chest area of the foot. This area of the foot corresponds to the legs and buttocks.
The goal of reflexology is to release stress/congestion in the nervous system and to balance a person’s energy. A reflexology session may be general or it may focus on specific problem areas.
Reflexology is not a cure or a medical treatment. It does not treat specific illnesses. Everyone’s body responds differently to reflexology, and you might notice no response after your first attempt.
REFLEXOLOGY AT HOME
Unfortunately not everyone has the time or money to regularly visit the spa. Lucky for us, several companies have developed machines we can buy to experience a foot massage in the comfort of our own homes. Although a machine probably won’t be quite as good as “the real thing,” they are a great investment for you if you have chronic foot problems (such as diabetes symptoms), plan on using the machine daily, or have a busy schedule.
Just like any electronic device, there are loads of foot massagers out there that vary wildly on price. Purchasing a machine for less than $60 is unadvisable unless you go for a manual model. There are two basic types of foot massagers: electric and spa. Electric massagers use rollers or balls to massage the feet, while spa versions use heat and water to relax the feet. The type of massager you purchase should depend on what you are trying to accomplish.
You can check out the video below and try learning some techniques: