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What is Reflexology?

While reflexology therapy has been around for quite some time and is continuing to grow as a complementary therapy in the medical field, I still find myself trying to explain to new friends and clients what reflexology is, in a way that they can easily understand. So I thought I would break it down in a way that is a little different than it is usually explained and hopefully it will be easier to understand.

First let’s start with the definition of “reflex.” Reflex is described as an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought. So for example, we touch something extremely hot (stimulus), our “reflexes” take over and we quickly remove whatever it is that we are touching. That is a reflexive response from our nerves sensing the extreme heat and responding accordingly before we can think of the correct action ourselves. Our nerves can create reflex actions as they collect information about external conditions in relation to the body's internal state; analyze information; and initiate appropriate responses to satisfy the body’s needs. Remarkably, the nervous system transmits such messages to the brain at speeds of 180 miles per hour!

So now we know that nerves can create reflex actions and that they send messages to the rest of our body. This brings us to reflexology and the feet. The feet are destinations for a majority of nerves in the body. It is said that the soles of the feet have more nerve endings than almost any other part of our body. Makes sense, doesn’t it? They are easily tickled, are more sensitive to heat and cold than other parts of the body, and have you ever stepped on a Lego?! Ouch!! Or better yet, have you ever stubbed any of your toes and instantly you can feel it shoot up to your head? The thousands of nerve endings located in the feet are indeed connected to the rest of our body and supply reflex messages to corresponding areas of the body.

I’ve been describing less than ideal examples of stimulus to get my point across. So let’s switch it up now and talk about the good kind of stimulus, also known as, reflexology! Reflexology is a therapy that uses firm and gentle pressure to stimulate the nerves and reflex points on the feet. The toes, for example, are known reflex points for the head. Reflexology maps and charts show all the reflex points on the feet. Below is a foot chart for the Universal Reflexology method. Applying pressure using thumb, finger, and hand techniques to the reflex points on the feet stimulates thousands of nerves and blood vessels that are connected and run all throughout our body. Correctly stimulating a reflex point on the foot promotes health in the corresponding areas of the body that are connected to the reflex. This type of therapy is a beneficial stimulus to the nerves and nervous system as it releases endorphins into the body which results in the reduction of stress, tension, and pain. It feels good and is good for you!

Thank you for visiting Reflexology by Katie and letting me share reflexology with you! I hope you enjoyed it! It is my goal that everyone who has a reflexology treatment should leave physically and mentally relaxed and refreshed. I am pleased to be providing reflexology therapy to Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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