Reflexology -- Much More Than Just a Foot Massage

By Tarah Cech

Originally known as zone or reflex therapy, Reflexology is a holistic healing method that assists the healing of the body through the use of therapeutic pressure and massage of the reflex points found on the feet and the hands. There is evidence that the art and science of Reflexology was used by the ancient Egyptians, Japanese, and Indian cultures as a tool to encourage and facilitate excellent health. Modern Reflexology is rooted in research in Europe and Russia dating back over 125 years. Russian physicians of the early 1900's followed the reflex research of Nobel prize winner Ivan Pavlov to create today's reflex therapy. Through stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, and by encouraging the release of toxins, Reflexology supports the entire body in healing itself.

Considered an exceptionally effective method for activating the healing powers of the body, modern Reflexology is both a science and a healing art. As a science, Reflexology requires dedicated study, technical knowledge, practice, and skill. As a healing art, Reflexology is most effective when the therapist works with intention, dedication, and gentle loving care. Modern Reflexology now generally includes the use of essential oils during the session, as the reflex points are particularly receptive to this potent plant medicine. When skill and care are combined with sound healing practices, Reflexology can help to facilitate healing and encourage overall well-being.

Science teaches that one's vital energy circulates between the various organs while saturating every living cell and tissue. It has long been known that good health depends on the dynamic balance and natural functioning of all the body systems. This ever-changing state of balance is called homeostasis. In order for the body to function optimally, all systems must act in synergistic harmony. If the energy becomes blocked or congested in one part of the body the whole organism is affected. Through the use of precisely applied techniques and oils, blockages can be released and health can unfold naturally.

Stress reduction is an important benefit of the practice, as stress is the source of many (if not all) the imbalances in our bodies. Reflexology assists in alleviating the effects of stress by inducing deep relaxation. The nervous system is allowed to rest and consequently functions in a more balanced state. As the body moves toward homeostasis, healing can take effect. Lavender essential oil is fabulous for decreasing stress and facilitating relaxation. 3-4 drops of therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil in the palm of your hand and then gently holding your friends or clients feet with the intention of sending them love and relaxation. Other relaxing essential oils include: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Rose, and Roman Chamomile. A lovely calming blend includes equal parts Lavender and Chamomile in the carrier oil of choice. Rose essential oil is fabulous for opening the energy of the heart.

Reflexology is also a perfect practice to cleanse and purify the body of material and etheric toxins. Gravity pulls toxins downward; Inorganic waste material (such as uric acid and calcium crystals) can accumulate in bottom of the feet. An experienced reflexologist can break up these crystals with various reflexology techniques, along with detoxifying aromatherapy oils.

Soaking the feet in epsom salts with a few drops of essential oils can help to facilitate the release of old energy - this can be done at the completion of a session, or in between sessions. This is a very healing therapy that is safe for elderly, pregnant, and children. Use 1/4 - 1/2 cup of epsom salts in warm water. Add in 3 - 4 drops of essential oils and relax for 1/2 an hour. Foot baths are wonderful for those who have been ill or are exhausted. Aromatherapy baths are generally considered safe as long as the essential oils are properly dispersed throughout the water - the essential oils can be diluted in a carrier oil before pouring into the foot bath. Grapefruit, Geranium, and Juniper are all wonderful essential oils for detoxification, and can be used at the same time as oils for relaxation, such as Lavender, Sandalwood or Ylang Ylang.

As an energy-enhancer, Reflexology works on with subtle energy flows to revitalize the body's natural internal healing mechanisms. For those in need of revitalization, choose essential oils that are uplifting such as Black Spruce, Bergamot, or Rosemary. Rosemary blends nicely with Lavender for clearing nervous exhaustion. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long way - small amounts, even just a 'hint' of a good aromatic oil will have therapeutic effects. Bergamot is considered relaxing, calming and restoring. It may also help to lift depression as it encourages the flow of Chi (life-force). Always dilute Bergamot in a carrier before applying to the feet or skin, and any other essential oils that may be considered exceptionally strong or potent.

As energy pathways are opened, strengthened, and brought into balance, the body returns to its natural rhythms and energy flows naturally. The body, mind, and spirit are brought back into balance. Rose essential oil (Rose 'otto') is a wonderful oil for balancing and integrating the energy pathways of the body. Facilitate this healing by gently 'anointing' your friends feet with Rose oil and then along them to bask in the high vibration healing of this beautiful flower. Ylang Ylang can also be a perfect balancer, bringing the masculine and feminine energies into harmony. Remember, with all the oils, the tiniest amounts will have important healing action; the aromas should always be subtle and pleasant for both the client and practitioner.

As with all natural healing modalities, both the practitioner and the client benefit from the healing process. This active healing extends into into other areas of life, further creating an environment of well-being. Reflexology is an excellent way to assist oneself and one's client in becoming independently healthy. It is my opinion after having benefited from both receiving and sharing reflexology sessions with many clients, friends, and family that Reflexology is an exceptional natural tool. It is easy to get started, either performing the practice on yourself or with a friend, letting your intuition guide you through this important, loving process. - 30540

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