Reflexology as a means of massage, has a fairly recent history compared to some other massage techniques, such as Chinese and Thai massage. There have been some documented reports of practices, which appear similar to Reflexology, in China and Egypt, but the first agreed point is in 1913. William H Fitzgerald was a renowned ear, nose and throat specialist who happened upon the theory that areas of the hands and feet could correlate to other areas of the body. In the 1940s Eunice Ingman mapped out a series of zones on the foot, which are still used in the practice today.
Reflexologists believe that the mapped areas of the foot link to other areas of the body; the toe, for example, linking to the head. By applying pressure to the mapped part of the foot, they can affect healing elsewhere – pressing the toe to cure a headache. The reasoning behind this isn’t agreed upon, some Reflexologists believe that a life force or Qi can become blocked and therefore block healing. They theorize that reflexology can assist in unblocking this Qi. Others claim that the pressure may release endorphins, which help to end pain.
Arguments persist today on how much one can rely on Reflexology to achieve real medical improvements, but what is un-doubtable is that Reflexology does help to achieve a state of relaxation and calm in the same way other forms of massage do.
A foot massage differs from Reflexology in that it doesn’t profess to provide any healing measures other than comfort and release for the foot, and a resultant state of relaxation. There are no zones or pressures points and it uses a basic massage technique with oil or cream. The whole foot is massaged including the ankles and toes and it doesn’t necessarily need a qualified person to administer it.
As a whole, whether you choose Reflexology or a basic foot massage, it’s a good idea to spend some time loving your feet. Did you know that:
- Our feet bear the equivalent of 1000 tons every day
- Your feet may be 5 to 10 percent larger at the end of the day than they were in the morning
- Your feet may product a pint of water (or sweat) in a single day