Reflexology is a powerful therapy that involves techniques using fingers and thumbs to stimulate areas on feet, hands, and ears using massage, stretching and kneading. At the Balmain Massage & Wellness Centre, Blanca and Melissa work mostly on feet.
Reflexology is used as pro-active health care tool to maintain physical, mental and emotional health. Promoting a state of total relaxation, it stimulates energy flow throughout the body, strengthens the immune system by improving blood flow and encourages hormonal balancing.
The Cochrane Collaboration* defines reflexology as follows:
"Reflexology is gentle manipulation or pressing on certain parts of the foot to produce an effect elsewhere in the body. Reflexologists posit that the blockage of an energy field, invisible life force, or qi, can prevent healing. Another tenet of reflexology is the belief that practitioners can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body through the manipulation of the feet. One claimed explanation is that the pressure received in the feet may send signals that 'balance' the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce stress and pain.
Our own Chris Shakallis, a reflexologist who has taught remedial massage to many of the current crop of young therapists, says he always start his massages from the patient's feet. “I get an immediate indication of the general state of health and an indication of what areas need work the most.”
There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one's qi.
* The Cochrane Collaboration is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of a group of more than 31,000 volunteers in more than 120 countries. The collaboration was formed to organize medical research information in a systematic way to facilitate the choices that health professionals, patients, policy makers and others face in health interventions according to the principles of evidence-based medicine.