Monday, October 27, 2008


YourHealth: Soothing the soles
By : Rajen M. 

It is believed that nerve endings of all major organs are at the soles of the feet. These nerve endings can be stimulated by massage.
It is believed that nerve endings of all major organs are at the soles of the feet. These nerve endings can be stimulated by massage.

REFLEXOLOGY is sometimes called "zone therapy". It is an ancient practice of massaging, squeezing or pushing on the sole of the feet. Sometimes it involves the hands and even the ears.

The goal is to encourage a beneficial effect on other parts of the body and even to improve general health.

How it actually works is still very much debated. One theory is that nerve endings of all major organs are at the soles of the feet. These nerve endings can be stimulated by massaging the end points on the soles.

Reflexologists contend that the body contains an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi. When this is blocked, healing is prevented. Massaging the soles actually enhances the life force. 

Other proposed effects of reflexology include the release of endorphins (natural pain killers found in the body), the promotion of lymphatic flow in the body, or the dissolving of uric acid crystals. That is why you are asked to drink lots of water after each session. 
The origins of reflexology date back to ancient Egypt as evidenced by inscriptions found in a physician's tomb at Saqqara. 

We cannot determine the exact relationship between the ancient art as practised by the early Egyptians and reflexology as we know it today. Different forms of working the feet to effect health have been used in the ancient world.

There seems to be an active phase of its development in China and Japan that parallels the development of acupuncture. Similar techniques are advocated as "mamar therapy" as a part of Ayurveda. 

In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century, based on research into the nervous system and reflex.

The precursor of modern reflexology was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872-1942), an ear, nose and throat specialist, and Dr Edwin Bowers. 

Fitzgerald claimed that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body.

Reflexology was further developed in the 1930s and 1940s by Eunice D. Ingham (1899-1974), a nurse and physiotherapist. 

Ingham claimed that the feet and hands were especially sensitive, and mapped the entire body into "reflexes" on the feet. It was at this time that "zone therapy" was renamed reflexology. 

Modern reflexologists in the United States and Britain often learn Ingham's method first, although there are more recent developed methods.

The basis of the science is that the body is reflected on the feet or hands. Left foot or hand reflects the left side of the body and the right foot or hand the right side. 

The spine reflex area runs down the insides of the foot and hand with reflex areas for the arm and shoulder reflected toward the outside of the foot or hand.

The toes and fingers reflect head and neck reflex areas as well as those of the internal parts of the body they enclose. 

The ball of the foot mirrors the chest and upper back in addition to the heart and lungs. 

The waistline of the body is represented at the base of the long bones of the feet and hands. Portions of the body above the waistline is mirrored above this line toward the toes or fingers and those below the waistline toward the heels of the foot or hand. 

In general terms the benefits of reflexology have to do with the reduction of stress. Because the feet and hands help set the tension level for the rest of the body they are an easy way to interrupt the stress signal and reset homeostasis, the body's equilibrium.

Reflexology is a complement to standard medical care and should not be construed as medical advice.

There are no ill effects of this technique except for the pain and soreness that you might feel after the session.