What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary therapy involving gentle pressure to specific points on the feet or hands, stimulating local sensory receptors, to produce an effect elsewhere in the body.
The benefits of Reflexology stem from its ability to initiate a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
Reflexologists adopt a holistic approach. This means exploring not just the physical issues the person presents with, but also their lifestyle, beliefs, concerns, and emotions.
Reflexology does not aim to diagnose or cure and should be used as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, traditional medical treatment.
How can reflexology help me?
Reflexology does not aim to diagnose or cure and should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. The ultimate aim of the therapy is to promote relaxation and improved wellbeing.
Reflexology is frequently used alongside medical treatment, particularly in the management of stress related conditions. The most common feedback reported is an improvement in levels of relaxation, enhanced general wellbeing, and reduced perception of stress.
Reduction in stress, along with its associated physiological, emotional and behavioural implications, holds long term health benefits for both body and mind. This leads many to seek Reflexology solely for relaxation and maintenance of long term wellbeing amidst the stresses and strains of modern day life.
Who can have Reflexology?
Reflexology is a safe and non-invasive treatment. There are however certain conditions that mean foot Reflexology should be avoided, including:
- Acute foot pain / foot injuries
- Blood clotting problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Infection in the foot
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Severe swelling of the lower limbs and feet, known as oedema
- Ulceration of the foot / lower leg
In most circumstances, the benefits of Reflexology may still be experienced by treating the hands instead of the feet. Always seek medical advice first if you are unsure.
Why choose reflexology?
The therapy provides a sense of deep relaxation and wellbeing.
Care and attention is paid to comfort throughout the treatment.
The combination of time, attention to the person as a whole, and the physical therapy itself, means that every aspect of the person’s presenting issue is addressed – the biological, the psychological and the social.
Because the physical therapy is focused on the extremities, with no need to remove clothing, there is less likelihood of sensation of personal space invasion and more scope to focus on deep breathing techniques, mindfulness, or simply ‘switching off’.
A course of regular Reflexology treatments allow continuity of care and development of a professional therapeutic relationship between practitioner and client that may sometimes feel missed in an increasingly time-pressured national healthcare system.
Reflexology is used by many on a regular basis in order to maintain long term wellbeing. Most people can receive and benefit from Reflexology, provided they do not have any of the aforementioned contraindications.
How does it work?
The layers of skin on the soles of the feet contain thousands of sensory receptors.
Some of these receptors respond to pressure or stretch, some to light touch, some to temperature, some to movement of hairs, and some to vibration.
These receptors sit at the end of long nerves. When receptors are activated, they trigger a change in the voltage difference across the nerve cell membrane, which, if sufficient, is converted into an electrical signal, or nerve impulse.
The nerve impulse is in turn propagated along the long body of the nerve cell.
Thousands of nerves that supply sensation to the foot travel and join up to eventually forming larger named nerves as they ascend the leg, ultimately entering our vertebral column. From there they ascend to join the spinal cord, entering tracts, transmitting the touch and pressure sensations to certain areas of the brain, where they are interpreted.
Nerves that originate from different vertebral levels detect sensation in different areas of the foot, known as dermatomes.
The combination of techniques used in a Reflexology treatment, namely the alternation of light and firm touch, varying pressure at varying points, and gentle but specific movements of joints and soft tissue, covering all dermatomes, means that many more receptors are activated than would be the case in the normal day to day function of the foot.
Taking Reflexology one step further - Hypnoreflexology
This treatment can be described as reflexology with guided meditation. It creates deep relaxation by balancing the body, mind and emotions. This results in the body entering a natural healing process and strong recovery especially beneficial in cases of insomnia, anxiety, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and terminal illnesses and alongside its traditional terminal treatments. Our therapist Monika Frackowiak provides this treatment.
We are fortunate at The Beehive to have four experienced therapists Wayne (MingXing) Lin, Lynsey McCabe Dr Rebecca Healey and Monika Frackowiak, they work on different days which means there's lots of opportunities in the week when you can benefit from this great massage.