The truth is there are many answers; however I would first say that Reflexology is both a Science and an Art. It is a Science in that the practice is based on both physiological and neurological studies and an Art in that your experience at the hands of a Reflexologist depends largely on their skill and expertise and the dynamics which occur between practitioner and receiver.
Reflexology is above all a holistic healing technique which aims to balance the mind, body and spirit.
While it is a foot massage it cannot be defined solely in these terms. It is a precise pressure technique which works on specific reflex points on the feet with the understanding and belief that these areas correspond to all areas in the body. So by treating the feet you treat the body.
During a treatment pressure is applied to the reflex areas, which have been mapped out by practitioners such as Dr William Fitzgerald and Eunice Ingham in the last century. But Reflexology goes back much further than that and its roots can be traced back to ancient Egypt, China and India.
The treatment appears simple in that pressure is applied using specific finger and thumb techniques which work the entire foot both plantar and dorsal (top and bottom). The body responds to this pressure and works to heal itself thereby allowing the feet to play a major part in maintaining a healthy balance in the body.
The Reflexologist is not medically trained and as such cannot diagnose illness in the way a doctor might, they will however be able to tell which Reflexes are “out of balance” which point towards an imbalance in the body and a potential illness. Holistically speaking the Reflexologist will then work those reflexes to activate the body’s own energy to effect change.
The work of a Reflexologist is preventative and encourages the receiver to work with them to achieve better results. A change usually does not happen overnight, although it might. Change depends on the person’s own body’s ability to manage it and the willingness of the mind to allow it.
One of the main ways in which Reflexology helps is through relaxation. Through Relaxation we begin to combat stress which is a major feature in becoming ill or out of balance. The aim of Reflexology is to restore balance or homeostasis and a balanced body leads to a balanced mind and spirit.
Through Reflexology the receiver and practitioner work together, think of it as an MOT for the body. When your car has an MOT and you are given the list of things to put right, you do it straight away as otherwise your car is unsafe. It is the same principle with the body. The Reflexologist works on the areas/reflexes which need to be more in tune (are out of balance) but the responsibility for maintaining the equilibrium is with the receiver.
Reflexology is like a spring clean for your body, it reconditions it and keeps it working, it can fine tune it, helps repair it and is well worth the effort of seeking out a treatment.