Reflexology began over 5000 years ago and is derived from the Chinese belief that when we have an imbalance within, we tend to become more vulnerable to illness. It is the inner energy or “life force” that when balanced, leaves one in a state of physical and emotional well-being.
How does one attain balance within? The Chinese believe that it is the Qi (pronounced kee) or energy that maintains a healthy body and mind. Thus, when you apply pressure to certain points of the hands and feet, you can alleviate aches and pains that exist in different areas of the body as well as maximize your immune system, increase circulation, and reduce stress.
Perhaps you may have seen demonstrations of Qi Gong on TV. Qi Gong is a form of meditation in which slow and specific movements increase the energy or life force within one’s body.
Reflexology was originally devised by Dr. William Fitzgerald in 1917. In the 1930s, the method was further developed by Eunice Ingham and is widely utilized today. By putting pressure on specific areas of the hands and feet, known as reflex points, one can stimulate the energy to specific areas of the body as well as organs or glands.
For example, let’s assume you are sitting for long periods of time at your computer. Let’s also assume that you develop a headache or neck ache as a result. By applying pressure to the big toe, which consists of several reflex points related to the head and neck, signals are sent via the nervous system which, in turn, increases circulation and alleviates the pain.
Conversely, there are a myriad of reflex points on the hand and fingers which directly affect the brain, ears, shoulder, sinuses, adrenal glands, stomach, lower back, and other organs in the body. If you are stressed, for example, applying pressure to the pinky of the hand can bring instant relief.
Reflexology, when practiced or administered correctly, does indeed work. Here is an example of how to get rid of those annoying headaches. Note: You can perform this exercise, but it is much better to have a family member do it for you. Lie down and begin breathing exercises. Starting with the left foot, begin massaging the big toe ensuring that enough pressure is being applied. Now do the same with the right foot. Relax and continue deep breathing. Before you know it, the pain will have dissipated.
While reflexology is not considered new, it is nonetheless practiced and recognized as a form of alternative medicine. It is as popular today as Yoga and other forms of meditation that not only serves to increase depleted energy within, but brings about the inner balance to achieve good health and well-being.