Category Archives: Reflexology

Reading an Ear Reflexology Chart

Originally posted here: wikihow

The reflexology points on a physical ear chart are located on the ear lobe, the outer canal area and the outer part of the ear that is located just above the ear lobe.

Get an ear reflexology chart online or refer to one in a book.

Take a few moments to study the chart. You will see a logical pattern of reflex points located on the different sections of the ear. The reflexology points are located on the outer ear and the outer ear canal area, as well as on the ear lobe. The reflex points for your organs are located on the inner area of the ear canal

Look at the chart to see which areas of your ear to press or massage that coincide with areas of your body in which you are experiencing difficulty. If you have discomfort or pain in your shoulder, for example, you would press an area on your outer ear. The chart indicates that that reflex spot is just about directly across from your ear canal.

Reading an Emotional Ear Reflexology Chart

Most of the reflex points on the emotional ear chart are located along the outer rim of the ear and on the ear lobe.

Look for emotional ear reflex points on a regular physical ear chart. Sometimes both aspects are combined on one chart.

  1. Determine which emotions you are interested in working with. The reflex points for treating depression and anxiety, for example, are located on the upper part of your outer ear.
    Find the reflex points for expansive, spiritual emotions on the outer part of your ear lobe.

EditTips

  • Don’t worry if you are unsure of where one reflex point ends and another begins. The ears are small and you are bound to press the correct reflex spot if you perform an overall ear massage.
  • Find the largest ear chart you can. There are hundreds of reflex points located in a very small area so a large wall chart works best for clarity.

EditWarnings

  • The points for ear reflexology are similar to, but not identical to those in auricular therapy, which is also known as ear acupuncture. Be sure you are referring to an ear reflexology chart and not an ear acupuncture chart.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Ear reflexology charts

EditSources and Citations

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How Does Reflexology Work?

This article brought you us by the Universal College of Reflexology

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexology, in common with other complementary therapies, is trying to gain scientific credibility in order to be accepted by the mainstream medical profession. Part of this process involves explaining how Reflexology works. Listed below are some of the common theories of how Reflexology works. Many of the theories are not exclusive to Reflexology, and can be applied to a number of other therapies.

The Nerve Impulse Theory
When pressure is applied to the foot, or any other organ in the body, afferent neurons conduct the message to ganglia or groups of neurons outside the spinal cord. Normally, messages pass

Points of Reflexology 1. Pituitary 2. Neck 3. ...

Points of Reflexology 1. Pituitary 2. Neck 3. Side of head and Brain 4. Top of head and Brain 5. Sinus 6. Eye 7. Eustachian tube 8. Ear 9. Thyroid 10. Lung 11. Heart 12. Solar Plexus 13. Liver 14. Spleen 15. Stomach and Pancreas 16. Small Intestine 17. Colon 18. Bladder 19. Ureter tube 20. Kidney 21. Adrenal 22. Shoulder 23. Ovary/testes 24. Sciatic Nerve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from the ganglia to the spinal cord then up to the brain for interpretation. Motor nerves than carry responses down the spinal cord, out to the ganglia then on to the appropriate muscles for activity.

The electrical impulse theory says that for a reason, as yet unexplained, messages from the feet reaching the ganglia connect up with the messages going to muscles, so that working the feet has direct action on bodily organs. This explains why Reflexology zones are vertical, with pressure on one side of the foot affecting organs on the same side of the body. The theory can also be used to explain how Reflexology benefits people with paralysis due to severing of the spinal cord.

The electrical impulse theory has much in common with the reflex arc, a well-known physiological phenomenon. Examples of involuntary reflexes include blinking, pupil contraction to light, knee and ankle jerks. The doctor tapping the bottom of the knee with a rubber hammer so that the leg shoots up is checking that the reflex arc is working, as an indication of proper neurological functioning. The reflex arc relies on nerve synapses or connections between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord so that the activity takes place a split second before the brain is told about it, or can initiate it itself.

Gate Control Theory
A theory of pain is the gate-control theory. This theory says that pain receptors in the spinal cord regulating the amount of pain that can pass up to the brain. Once all the receptors are full, the ‘gate’ shuts, stopping further pain messages going up to the brain. This limits the amount of pain we feel.

The Placebo Effect
Many studies have indicated that patients have benefited from medication and surgery when they have in fact been receiving a placebo. Likewise, patients have suffered side effects from inert substances taken as a placebo. Trust in the therapist is an essential component of the effect as is the therapists’ confidence in what they are doing. Personality type is no indication as to reaction to a placebo. Perhaps the reason that Reflexology works is because of a placebo effect and the type of treatment is not as important as the relationship between therapist and client.

Impeded and Unimpeded Energy Flow Theory
This theory suggests that the ground pulsates with positive and negative electrical energy charges that are picked up by positive and negative receptors on the feet. The energy receptors in the feet are a part of the nervous system. In the healthy person, the charges and energy from the earth pass freely into the nervous system.

If the positive and negative charges in the feet are not in contact with the earth, due to congestion in the feet or particles impeding passage, they cannot pick up the earth charges as effectively and energy flow is impeded.

Reflexology can unblock the pathways allowing the electrical terminals in the feet to touch the ground again so that energy can flow freely

Reflexology Rocks

Reflexology Rocks (Photo credit: teddy-rised)

again.

It is now thought that modern systems of pain relief e.g. TENS machines, work by mildly stimulating the nerve pathways. All the receptors are filled, the gates shut and severe pain stimuli cannot be passed up the spinal cord to the brain. It has been hypothesized that Reflexology works in the same way as a TENS machine.

The Relaxation Effect
It is known that much illness originates from stress and tension in the body. It can be theorized that anything that relieves stress and tension and promotes deep relaxation will enable systems and organs in the body to work much more effectively. This theory suggest that Reflexology is very restful and relaxing, and therefore alleviates and helps prevent illness.

Subtle Energy/Zone/Meridian Theories
Subtle energy is a life force that animates the physical body. It is absorbed from the universe in general and from the air around us in particular when we breathe, touch or eat and it can be channeled into the body by healers. Zone theories have been around for several centuries, meridian theories for a lot longer. Both believe that subtle energy flows through the body in channels

Reflexology demostration at Spearwood Library

Reflexology demostration at Spearwood Library (Photo credit: Cockburn Libraries)

and that disruption to this energy flow results in ill health. Energy may stagnate, become blocked, or speed up. Blockages may be caused by stress, pain, injury and trauma or by a lack of exercise, amongst other reasons. The role of the therapist is to work on the areas of disrupted energy to restore a normal flow. See Zone Theory article for more details

The Holographic Principle
At a highly symbolic level, the holographic principle that “every piece contains the whole” can be seen in the cellular structure of all living bodies. Scientific discoveries in the world of cellular biology, have demonstrated that every cell contains a copy of the master DNA blueprint, with enough information to make an entire human body from scratch. The fact that every cell within the human body contains the information to create an entire duplicate body mirrors the holographic principle (see article “Understanding the Holographic Principle” ) whereby every piece contains the information of the whole.

This holographic principle when extended to the human body as a whole and Reflexology in particular may be applied like this. Parts of the body such as the hands, ears, and feet when stimulated affect the body as a whole. In that each of these parts carries the picture of the whole body, and so homeostasis or a dynamic state of balance can be achieved by stimulating the

English: Hand reflexology is a "pressure ...

English: Hand reflexology is a “pressure therapy” and involves applying focused pressure to certain known reflex points located in the hand to cure or prevent disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

reflexes in any one of these parts.

Electro-Magnetic Theories of Healing
A number of slightly different theories have much in common. It is known that all matter, including human cells, vibrate at certain rates. The brain in particular has recognized waves that can be detected on Electroencephalograms (EEGs). Alpha waves (8 – 13Hz cycles per second) are indicative of deep relaxation. It is also known that the earth is vibrating at a regular rate, in a frequency band known as Schumann Resonance, and that this rate is similar to that of Alpha waves. It can be postulated that the person whose cells vibrate at an alpha rhythm is in harmony with their surrounding and therefore likely to be in a positive state of health.

It is theorized that the brain is the link between the earth’s vibrations and our bodily vibrations. Electromagnetic messages are created in the brain as it oscillates between positive and negative polarities. It is also known that the human body contains iron (in red blood cells), dissolved electrolytes (sodium, chloride and potassium bicarbonate, in blood plasma), proteins (which act as semiconductors) and water, and therefore generates a bio-magnetic field. To send rapid messages the brain works like a radio transmitter/receiver, sending and receiving electro-magnetic signals directly to and from our body cells to regulate their vibrational frequency . The brain also uses the much slower nervous and circulatory systems to pass chemical and electro-magnetic messages to and from cells to regulate vibrational frequency.

Problems can arise in two ways. Firstly, under certain conditions the electrical messages from the brain can become blocked or distorted like a radio not quite tuned into a station. With damage e.g. caused by stress, the pairs of electrons spin in the same rather than in opposite directions, distorting the signal and causing cells to malfunction. Secondly, cells can vibrate at less than optimum frequency due to injury, emotional trauma or a decreased magnetic field. Degenerative diseases, memory loss and conditions such as ME have all been associated with magnetic field

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64 (Photo credit: barnism)

deficiency.

Healing focuses on these two areas. Simultaneous EEG recordings (measuring brain electrical activity) often show that a client’s EEG pattern comes into synchrony with those of the healer during a healing session indicating sympathetic resonance is taking place. Studies have shown that the brain waves generated by healers are often Alpha waves. It is theorized that the healer, having tuned the client into the same wave length as themselves, can retune the messages to the correct frequency, or replace missing signals with their own signals restoring the Alpha wave link between brain and cells. In developing a relaxed alpha state prior to healing, the healer also taps into the earth’s vibrational energy to channel healing from outside through to the cells.

Healers monitored by electrometers have generated fluctuating surges of low frequency body potential of between 0.3 Hz and 30 Hz, with most activity in the range 7Hz. In some healers, up to 60 Hz of potential difference was found between the head/hands and the feet. In electrical terms the healer’s body becomes a LF bio-electric dipole antenna. It is known that 2 Hz can regenerate nerve tissue, 7 Hz can trigger bone growth, 10 Hz can heal ligaments whilst 15-72 Hz can decrease skin necrosis and generate capillary formation.

Magnetometers have measured palmar biomagnetic fields 1000 times greater than those of the heart and a million times greater than those of the brain. In

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63 (Photo credit: barnism)

everyday life, palmer bio-magnetism is borderline detectability. The theory can explain why healers often feel tingling in their hands during a treatment. Areas of heat or blockage that healers sometimes say that they can feel on the body may be electrical resistance at the cellular or tissue level. It is also theorized that the healer’s sweeping or scanning of the body during healing could re-magnetize the blood and stimulate the bio-magnetic fields of the body. The circulatory system can then transport healing energy around the body in blood and plasma to restore correct vibrations.

Evidence in support of a healing energy theory have included accelerated tissue healing and bone repair beyond chance probability. Experiments with nerve cells in petri dishes have shown that energy generated by healers can cause impulses to travel along these nerve cells and jump between the synapses or gaps between cells from one nerve to another. Research has shown that brain cells contain millions of crystals suggesting that the brain acts like a radio transmitter/receiver.

Endorphin Release Theories
Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates or painkillers, with actions similar to that of morphine. These are stimulated by pain, and serve to reduce the amount of pain that we feel by inhibiting

English: Foot reflexology is a "pressure ...

English: Foot reflexology is a “pressure therapy” and involves applying focused pressure to certain known reflex points located in the foot to cure or prevent disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the activity of a neurotransmitter called substance P, that is thought to transmit pain. It is theorized that a Reflexology treatment stimulates the release of endorphins to help ease pain and to give the body the same natural elevation in mood as strong painkillers.

Facilitation Theory
This school of thought believes that the patient does their own healing when and if they are ready, regardless of the therapist or the type of therapy. The role of the therapist is to facilitate the process.

The Feet as a ‘U’ Bend Theory
In a plumbing system, the ‘U’ bend traps all the debris that passes through the sink, toilet or wash basin. With time, unless proprietary cleaners are used, the bend becomes clogged and waste water cannot flow away properly. The feet are the furthest point in the circulatory system from the heart. They are also the part of the body where the effect of gravity is greatest, and are in effect, the “U’ bend of the body. It is theorized that calcium, uric acid and lymphatic deposits in the blood accumulate in the feet interfering with the normal circulation of blood and lymph. Reflexology breaks up and moves these deposits, thus improving blood and lymph circulation.

Conclusion
Maybe Reflexology works because it is a combination of all of the above. At this point in time we just don’t know. Whilst it is important for the credibility of Reflexology to explain how it works, it may be many years before the scientific capability is available to test some of the theories, if at all. The effect of Reflexology may be due to an isolated factor, or due to a combination of factors. The important point to bear in mind in the meantime, is that regardless of how and why it works, Reflexology does work and brings benefit to thousand of people.

 

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What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person’s general health. For example, reflexology holds that a specific spot in the arch of the foot corresponds to the bladder point. When a reflexology practitioner uses thumbs or fingers to apply appropriate pressure to this area, it affects bladder functioning.

massage of footAlthough reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascularissues, diabetesheadaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.

Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across Europe and Asia as both a complement to other treatments and as a preventive measure. One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early ’90s.

According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced sick leave and absenteeism (and significant economic savings for the employers). Employees have consistently reported complete or partial improvement in conditions where they sought reflexologists’ help and even relief for additional problems related to stress. In one municipal district, almost one-third of the employees reported greater satisfaction with their jobs after completing six sessions with a reflexologist.

Where are the reflexology points and areas?

In reflexology theory, points and areas on the feet, hands, and ears correspond to specific organs, bones and body systems. Practitioners access these points on the feet and hands (bottom, sides, and top) and the ear (both inside as far as the finger can reach and outside) to affect organs and systems throughout the entire body.

Maps of reflex points have been passed between practitioners across the globe. Understandably, there is not agreement among all reflexologists on all points; however, general agreement does exist on major reflex points. Some scientific documentation of linkages between the skin and internal organs also exists.

To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, reflexologists use reflexology “maps.” A good example of a reflexology map exists for the feet. Each foot represents a vertical half of the body:

  • refloxology chartThe left foot corresponds to the left side of the body and all organs, valves, etc. found there.
  • The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body and all organs found there. For example, the liver is on the right side of the body, and therefore the corresponding reflex area is on the right foot.

The illustration to the right shows a reflexology map for the feet. For a map of the hands, see www.reflexology-research.com

A reflexologist may perform a general, integrated session, or may focus on specific problem areas on the feet, hands or ears. For example, if time is limited and the person really needs to relax, the reflexologist may choose just to work on the ears.

Whatever the approach, the reflexologist attempts to release congestion or stress in the nervous system and balance the body’s energy.

How does reflexology relate to other therapies?

English: Foot reflexology is a "pressure ...

English: Foot reflexology is a “pressure therapy” and involves applying focused pressure to certain known reflex points located in the foot to cure or prevent disease. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acupuncture and Acupressure: Reflexology is similar to acupuncture and acupressure in that it works with the body’s vital energy through the stimulation of points on the body. However, acupuncture/acupressure points do not always coincide with the reflex points used in reflexology.

foot massageReflexology and acupressure are both “reflex” therapies in that they work with points on one part of the body to affect other parts of the body. While reflexology uses reflexes that are in an orderly arrangement resembling a shape of the human body on the feet, hands, and outer ears, acupressure uses over 800 reflex points that are found along long thin energy lines called meridians that run the length of the entire body.

Massage: Some people confuse reflexology with massage. While both massage and reflexology use touch, the approaches are very different.

  • Massage is the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, using specific techniques (for example, tapping, kneading, stroking, and friction) to relax the muscles.
  • Reflexology focuses on reflex maps of points and areas of the body in the feet, hands, and ears using unique micromovement techniques such as thumb or finger walking and hook and backup to create a response throughout the body.

In short, massage therapists work “from the outside in,” manipulating specific muscle groups or fascia to release tension. Reflexology practitioners see themselves as working “from the inside out” — stimulating the nervous system to release tension.

Another difference between massage and reflexology is that a client will stay fully clothed for a reflexology session except for removing footwear, whereas clients remove clothing for a massage session.

Where does reflexology come from?

Because reflexology is an ancient practice, its origin and history is difficult to track. However, reflexology is thought to have been passed down through an oral tradition, and possibly first recorded as a pictograph on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor infeet imprints 2330 BC along with other medical procedures.

Reflexology symbols are also thought to be recorded on the feet of statues of Buddha in India and later China. The Chinese classic, the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, which was written around 1,000 BC, has a chapter on “Examining Foot Method” and is the beginning of discussions in print about the connection of life force and points and areas on the feet.

It is believed that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s, thus introducing reflexology and massage to Europe. In 1582, a book on an integral element of reflexology called zone therapy was first published in Europe by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis.

In the United States, William H. Fitzgerald, MD, who is frequently referred to as the father of reflexology, wrote in 1917 about ten vertical zones that extended the length of the body. He found that the application of pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of an injury could serve as relief of pain during minor surgeries.

Dr. Fitzgerald’s work was expanded by Dr. Shelby Riley, who developed a map of horizontal zones going across the body and a detailed map of reflex points on the feet and hands. He also suggested pressure points on the outer ear.

Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who worked for Dr. Riley, is another prominent figure in the development of reflexology. In her research with zone therapy’s pressure points, she found the feet to be the most sensitive and responsive. She developed the foot maps still in use today and introduced reflexology practices to the non-medical community in the 1930s. Ms. Ingham also designed one of the most commonly used reflexology charts, which has since been refined by her nephew, Dwight Byers, at the International Reflexology Institute.

In 1957, Dr. Paul Nogier recorded a reflex map of points on the outer ear. His work has been expanded by Oleson and Flocco and is now being taught as part of an integrated approach to hand, ear and foot reflexology.

References

Eriksen, L. (1992). Municipal Reflexology. Zoneterapeuten (Journal of the Danish Reflexologists Association, FDZ),6.

Eriksen, L., & Levin, S. (1995). A Closeup View on Company Reflexology (Committee Report): Danish Reflexologists Association.

Enersen, O. D. (1994-2007). Head’s Zones. Who Named It? Accessed May 24, 2007, fromhttp://www.whonamedit.com/synd.cfm/636.html.

Frequently Asked Questions. (2007). Frequently Asked Questions Retrieved March 5, 2007, fromhttp://www.americanacademyofreflexology.com/FAQsOf.shtml#DiffMass.

History of Reflexology. (2007). American Academy of Reflexology Retrieved March 4, 2007, fromhttp://www.americanacademyofreflexology.com/HistoryOf.shtml.

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Reflexology – What is it?

Reflexology Path

Reflexology Path (Photo credit: kingcountyparks)

How does it work?

The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body.

For example:

  • the tips of the toes reflect the head
  • the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
  • the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
  • low back and intestines are towards the heel

He believed that certain areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body. This concept was furthered by physiotherapist Eunice Ingham into the modern practice of reflexology.

Practitioners believe that applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.

Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of “zone therapy” in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed this zone theory in the 1930’s into what is now knows as reflexology.

A scientific explanation is that the pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphin’s that reduce pain and stress.

English: Reflexology on feet

English: Reflexology on feet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What will I feel?

Most people find reflexology for the most part to be very relaxing.

Reflexology shouldn’t be painful. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell the reflexologist. He or she should work within your comfort zone.

Some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure.

If you’re ticklish, not to worry. The reflexologist applies firm pressure to the feet.

Why do people get reflexology?

  • Stress and stress-related conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive problems, such as constipation
  • Back pain

Reflexology is a popular alternative therapy. It promotes relaxation, improves circulation, reduces pain, soothes tired feet, and encourages overall healing.

Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care. A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.

Reflexology is recommended as a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.

What is a typical reflexology treatment like

A typical treatment is 45 minutes to 60 minutes long and begins with a consultation about your health and lifestyle.

You are then asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit comfortably in a reclining chair or on a massage table. Otherwise you remain fully clothed.

The reflexologist will assess the feet and then stimulates various points to identify areas of tenderness or tension.

The reflexologist then uses brisk movements to warm the feet up. Then pressure is applied from the toes to the heel according to your comfort.

Lotion or oil may be used.

Português:

Português: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How will I feel after?

Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. They may even feel sleepy.

Occasionally, people feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is only temporary and is considered to be part of the healing process.

Precautions

If you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor first and let the reflexologist know.

Be sure to give the reflexologist a complete and accurate health history.

If you have foot ulcers, injury, or blood vessel disease such as blood clots, consult your doctor before having reflexology.

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Inspiration Island – Holistic Healing: Part 2

 

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Essential Energy

The application of pressure is usually done in a circular motion, so that it may stimulate the body’s vital energy and create an overall balance. The vital energy that flows though each organ and system of the body is also referred to as Chi or Prana in Eastern medicine. All of the body’s organs and systems are connected by this vital energy. Therefore, if a particular organ is sick, one must look at the entire body to locate the cause of the illness.

Numerous experiments and studies have been done on Chi or Prana energy in China in the last thirty years. The studies revealed the presence of a mixture of electromagnetic fields in the energy of the human body. Today, various tools and machines exist to measure this type of energy.

More than Just a Foot Massage!

Reflexology is different from a regular foot massage because it works by applying pressure on specific areas. This implies the existence of pain in those areas, if an imbalance is present. On the other hand, a foot massage entails ‘massaging’ the feet in a way which results in a comfortable and relaxing state but which does not really deal with the symptoms of any illness or with the illness itself.

From Imbalance to Illness

Research and experience has shown that reflexology can help deal with various illnesses that a person may be suffering from. If the vital energy is out of BALANCE, there is usually either a physical or emotional manifestation of that imbalance. The aim is to restore this balance through a variety of ways, one of which is reflexology. As it helps put the vital energy back in HARMONY and BALANCE, it deals with the illnesses a person could be suffering from. When the body is in a balanced state, it can act in a HEALTHY manner and can react properly to anything that affects it.

The Importance of Awareness

Part of the whole HEALING process is the ‘awareness’ that we need to develop in order to deal with a disease. Diseases develop as a result of imbalances that have existed for a long time and which have either been ignored or which we have failed to deal with properly. Therefore, AWARENESS should exist before the ailment actually turns into a real disease! Even the slightest thing, such as a headache or interrupted sleep, should be examined closely and dealt with. The key is to be aware of all our mental, emotional and physical needs. Only then, will we be able to act as defenders of our own imbalances and will we be able to remain HEALTHY.

Listen to your Heart (and Body)!

The next time you develop a particular symptom, stay with it and observe it. Try to find out what it is trying to tell you. Pay attention to it in a different way by listening to your mind and body. Being AWARE of your needs and acknowledging them is the first step of any HEALING process, no matter what type of therapy you choose. Take care of your emotions and your body, and you will always be HEALTHY and FIT!

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Inspiration Island – Holistic Healing: Part 1

A Chronology of Reflexology

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Confused about reflexology and whether it could benefit you in any way? Wondering if this ancient healing practice can be the key to healing your mind and body? Well wonder no more! Certified Alternative Medicine Tutor Nada Rashed explores the history of reflexology, the impact that it may have on your body and how it actually works.

Apply Pressure like an Egyptian

Reflexology is an ancient healing science which dates back to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. It has continued to develop over the centuries, with the help of doctors and healers across the world, to become the kind of practice that it is today.

The Human Map

Reflexology is based on the principle that a complete map of the human body exists on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. The map reflects all organs of the human body, from your head to your toe. The upper part of your foot, for instance, represents the upper part of your body which include the chest, the heart, the shoulders and partially the arms. As you go lower on your foot and hand, you also go to a lower corresponding area on your body.

Powerful Pioneers

Dr. William Fitzgerald is an American pioneer in the field of reflexology. Not only was he was an ear, nose and throat specialist, but he was also the first one to start making a connection between applying pressure to a painful area of the body and releasing pain from that very same area. This is essentially the same concept that reflexologists continue to follow today.

In Your Own Zone

Dr. Fitzgerald also discovered what is referred to as ‘zone therapy’, which divides the body into equal longitudinal zones. Dr. Joseph Riley, who worked with Dr. Fitzgerald, later added horizontal zones, across the hands and feet, to the longitudinal zones. This made it easier to determine the different individual reflexes according to the ‘Zone Theory’.

The difference between zone therapy and reflexology must be made clear though. Reflexology works on the zones of the body as well as the different reflexes representing the organs. It thus works to identify the sore areas which are out of balance. On the other hand, zone therapy works mainly on the zones to determine the areas which need to be worked on.

Reflexology

Female Trailblazers

Eunice Ingham was one of the students of Dr. Riley’s zone therapy. She became the main pioneer of reflexology as it is known today. Ingham practiced on hundreds of cases before confirming that “reflexes on the feet were an exact mirror image of the organs of the body.” In her famous book, “Stories Feet Can Tell”, she recorded her cases and outlined the foot reflexes which are commonly used today. As a result of the wide range of beneficial knowledge which it contained, Ingham’s book was translated into seven different languages.

Press, Signal, Relieve

So how does reflexology actually work?

  1. During a normal session, the reflexologist applies pressure on the different points of your foot or hands which represent the different body organs.
  2. Through this pressure, and because of existing nerve endings on your feet and hands, the brain receives a signal.
  3. Upon receiving the signal, your brain begins releasing hormones such as cortisol and endorphins. The first is responsible for reducing the pain that you may be suffering from and the latter is in charge of making you feel ‘happier’ and less stressed, thus causing you to feel more relaxed after your session.

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Reflexology Document, January issue

Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back to 3,000 years; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of any rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, depression etc. As well as relieving stress and tension which can lead to diseases and illness if not treated. One of the definitions of massage is the application of soft tissue manipulation techniques to the body in order to reduce stress and fatigue as well as improving circulation.

CONNECTIVE TISSUE MASSAGE
Also known as “Bindegewebsmassage”, these techniques are designed to specifically affect the conenctive tissue of the body. CMT was developed in Germany by Elizabeth Dicke. After diagnosis of a serious medical problem, she experimented with different types of massage on herself. She found when she applied light pressure through the skin and connective tissue in one area of the body, there was a related effect at a distant site. The technique consists of the massage therapist subtly hooking her fingers into the skin and superficial connective tissue while performing a dragging or pulling stroke that somewhat stretches the skin. CMT leaves a visible mark that looks somewhat like an abrasion or burn, but which goes away without leaving a scar. “In Germany, it is considered a physical therapy technique; in many parts of Egypt, it is considered a medical technique. In the United States connective tissue massage is taught in many massage schools.

DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
techniques which utilize deep tissue/deep muscle massage are administered to affect the sub layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require more advanced training and a more thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. it helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation, and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis.

INFANT MASSAGE INSTRUCTION
Qualified instructors teach parents how to properly massage their infants. Infant massage is also utilized in hospital neonatal care units. This specialized form of touch is successful, not only in the critical weight gain of premature infants, but also in creating a strong bond between parent and infant and exposing a young child to the benefits and pleasures of touch.

LYMPH DRAINAGE THERAPY
Lymph Drainage Therapy is unique in that healthcare professionals learn how to palpate the lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of the plymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find alternate pathways for drainage.

NIKKON RESTORATIVE MASSAGE (OKAZAKI RESTORATIVE MASSAGE)

Nikkon Restorative Massage was developed by Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki in Hawaii in the 1920s. He incorporated Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian techniques. The goal of Okazaki’s style was to restore health and pull toxins out of the body through proper application of pressure using fingers, forearms, and elbows. The result is proper realignment of the body to its highest potential.

PRENATAL/PREGNANCY MASSAGE
Performed by a trained prenatal specialist, many methods of massage and somatictherapies are both effective and safe prenatal, and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s prednancies. Prenatal, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of noth the mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques re-balance structure, physiology, and emotions of the new mother, and may help her to bond with and care for her infant. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to therapy.

SWEDISH MASSAGE
One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. There are five basic strokes, which all flow toward the heart an are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. Therapists use a combination of rubbing, rolling, and tapping movements and some apply oils, to reduce friction on the skin and create a pleasant effect. there are many benefits of Swedish massage which include generalized relaxation and improved circulation which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.

THAI MASSAGE
Also called Nuad Bo Rarn, Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for approximately 2,500 years. Main credit for Thai massage is given to a famous Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha king. It is based on the theory that the body is made up of 72,000 energy lines out of which 10 hold top priority, Thai massage also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects. This point serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead of a stretcher.

YOGASSAGE
This is a massage modality that enhances the free and natural movements of the body through gentle, sustained stretching and applied pressure. Gentle vibration and energy work with the chakras is practiced to have an integrated effect. Yogassage has been compared to Thai massage but on a stretcher as it mixes and takes elements from both Eastern and Western cultures during the bodywork.

QIGONG
Its history goes back to more than 3,000 years. this traditional Chinese treatment combines hands-on and hands-off techniques that balance the flow of vital energy through the body, release any blockages, and improve circulation. Qigong is also a combination of timed breathing and gentle flowing movement, meditation all working together to achieve an integrated state of mind and body enabling the balance of vital energy. Qigong theory is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is used to treat many illnesses as well as for relaxation. It is estimated that there are about 200 popular types of Qigong preacticed in China and around 100 million people practice it.

Dr. Nada Rashed

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