Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands or ears. It is a very effective way to alleviate stress. Therapists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and the person's general health. For example, there is a specific spot in the arch of the foot that corresponds to the bladder point. When the therapist uses thumbs or fingers to apply pressure to this area, it affects bladder functioning.
Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS and sinusitis.
Points and areas on the feet, hands and ears correspond to specific organs, bones and body systems. Practitioners access these points on the feet and hands (bottom, sides and top) and the ear (both inside, as far as the finger can reach, and outside) to affect organs and systems throughout the entire body.
To represent how the body systems correspond to one another, the therapist uses reflexology "maps." A good example of a reflexology map exists for the feet. Each foot represents a vertical half of the body:
• The left foot corresponds to the left side of the body and all organs, valves, etc. found there.
• The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body and all organs found there. For example, the liver is on the right side of the body, and therefore, the corresponding reflex area is on the right foot.
A therapist may perform a general, integrated session or may focus on specific problem areas on the feet, hands or ears. For example, if time is limited and the person really needs to relax, the therapist may choose just to work on the ears.
Whatever the approach, the therapist attempts to release congestion or stress in the nervous system and balance the body's energy.