REFLEXOLOGY


What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a powerful yet gentle therapy whereby pressure applied to reflexes on the feet is thought to have a beneficial effect on overall health, encouraging the body towards homeostasis and self-healing.

Practised by ancient cultures for thousands of years, modern reflexology is based on the principles of Eunice Ingham, who realising that all nerves in the body end in the feet, mapped the zones of the body and their major systems onto the feet, allowing the whole body to be treated by working on the soles and tops of the feet and ankles. Approximately 7000 nerves in the body are stimulated by reflexology. By stimulating these areas using specific compression techniques, a direct response is created in the related body area. For example, massaging the sinus reflexes on the tops of the toes can bring great relief to congested sinuses on the face.


Reflexology can produce more localised improvements in the feet themselves too. Circulation tends to be poor in the extremities; the hands and the feet and it is important to encourage blood flow back up the legs to the heart in order to maintain good health. Waste matter such as uric acid crystals, synonymous with the painful condition, Gout, and calcium deposits can build up on the soles of the feet, with gravity pulling these toxins downwards. Reflexology can effectively disperse these crystals and help maintain healthy balance in the feet and overall body.

Reflexology does not offer diagnoses or cures, instead it facilitates healing in the body. It brings balance and harmony to the major body systems, encouraging the body’s own innate healing abilities and can be wonderfully powerful despite being gentle.


Benefits of reflexology

Having a reflexology treatment is very relaxing and encourages release of endorphins. This alone is beneficial in combating stress and encouraging self-healing though represents just one advantage to this therapy. Blood circulation is improved by stimulating reflexes on the feet, allowing more efficient delivery of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body thereby increasing energy and aiding in the function of various organs. For similar reasons, the effects of the therapy aid in more efficient elimination of waste from the body. It can help reduce pain and inflammation, support the immune system, improve bowel function, encourage optimal blood and lymph circulation and balance the hormonal system. On a human level, it promotes hands-on human interaction which is so important and sadly lacking in the lives of many in this busy world, and provides a safe space in which the individual can speak freely and relax away from the demands of modern life where having any quiet time free from other people or technology can be a rarity. This is a safe therapy which is generally suitable for all and offers an alternative to full body massage in those for whom this may not be appropriate, such as pregnant women, the elderly or cancer patients.


Advanced Training

I have taken advanced post-graduate training in the specialised areas of fertility and maternity reflexology so am well placed to join prospective parents on their journey from the pre-conception to post-partum stages. Reflexology can be greatly beneficial at every stage on this journey, for man, woman and baby.


Fertility Reflexology

Over the last 20 years, cases of infertility, which is generally considered as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse (or 6 months if the Mother is over 35 years of age), have increased dramatically with one in six couples now struggling to conceive naturally. There can be many reasons for this and sometimes no medical explanation can be found to explain the difficulties faced by the couple. There are many treatment options which couples may try, including medication, acupuncture and reflexology. Reflexology aims to encourage the body into a relaxed state where the major body systems are balanced and in harmony, giving nature a helping hand in having the body as prepared for the incoming soul as possible and alleviating the stress involved when one or both partners fear that conception may not be possible in their case.

Whilst it is generally the female partner who will seek out a therapy such as reflexology, it is highly beneficial for both partners to attend treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, female infertility accounts for approximately 40-50% of cases with male infertility accounting for 20%, and issues with both the male and female partners accounting for 30-40% of cases of infertility.


Maternity Reflexology

Reflexology can be safely used by a suitably qualified practitioner during pregnancy, labour and post pregnancy. This is a very special time but also one of great change; physical, mental and emotional, with changes often happening in a short space of time. Having regular reflexology treatments can help to alleviate many of the common symptoms associated with pregnancy and can offer benefits to Mother and baby, helping the pregnancy to be as stress free as possible and optimising good health, while treating many of the ailments and discomforts experienced by many pregnant women such as;

● Helping to reduce morning sickness, heartburn, indigestion and constipation

● Relieving aches and pains such as back pain or tight hips

● Promoting restful, good quality sleep and easing insomnia

● Relaxing the Mother and giving her a safe space in which to simply switch off or discuss her pregnancy

● Helping with the bonding of Mother and baby; there is a deep sense of both individuals being worked on during a treatment which many prospective Mothers find a beautiful experience during which they feel deeply connected to the life growing inside them

● Preparing and balancing the body, with special focus being placed on the endocrine system which governs the pregnancy and labour processes

Many maternity hospitals worldwide recommend reflexology to their clients, including the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.


Other areas of special interest

● Neurological conditions

● Endocrine imbalances

● Sinus issues and headache

● Gastrointestinal issues

● Anxiety and depression

As a member of the Irish Reflexologists Institute, I am required to adhere to strict Continuous Professional Development criteria and have up-to-date first aid training.

As a member of this professional governing body, I am entitled to issue receipts which may be submitted to your health insurer for a partial refund on the cost of your reflexology treatment depending on your level of cover. All of the main health insurers offer this service to customers on certain plans, including the V.H.I., Laya Healthcare, Irish Life Health and Glo Health.