Sunday, July 3, 2011


Reflexology, or ‘Reflex Zone Therapy’ is rapidly gaining in popularity, especially due to today’s expansion in the spa business.  Reflexology is part of practically every menu in every spa across the country.  In spas, reflexology is popular because of several reasons: It appears to be

  • Easy to learn and to apply and thus is not too challenging for therapists and clients alike
  • A relatively short yet effective form of treatment, a sessions lasting not longer than 20 to 40 minutes
  • An easy stress buster – As a mostly relaxing and balancing form of treatment, for superficial benefits it demands little in terms of client participation
  • Last but not least it circumvents certain taboos regarding the body because only hands and feet are treated, NOT the whole body

Having studied the technique in greater depth, serious reflexologists will not agree with this assessment, which, if taken wrongly, may sound slightly denigrating.  But then, serious reflexologists are usually self-employed.  They are either successful free-lancers, or as all-rounders run their own practice, also offering other forms of treatment.

According to the ‘Reflexology Association of Canada’, the reflexology approach is defined as, “A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body.  Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.”  In other words, by manipulating a particular area of the foot, the rest of the organs located in that same zone will enjoy the benefit of easier function.

Eunice Ingham, founder of the western approach to reflexology suggested that the treatment should follow a simple guideline, “If you are feeling out of kilter, and don’t know why or what about, let your feet reveal the answer.  Find the sore spot and work it out.”

Of course, there are different forms of reflexology.  The above definition by the ‘Reflexology Association of Canada’ refers to the classical western approach, which was introduced in the US in the early years of the 20th century, by the ear, nose and throat doctor, William Fitzgerald M.D.  Eunice Ingham, a nurse and physiotherapist, later perfected the system in the 1930s and 40s.  Most western reflexologists are therefore influenced by ‘The International Institute of Reflexology’ in St Petersburg, Florida, founded by Ingham in 1973.

With the strong and living impact of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, in Asian spas other forms of reflexology are applied, involving not only the use of fingers and hands, but also of a wooden stick, and of creams and oils, in order to stimulate the desired reflex action in another part of the body.  To those who so wish, the Aithein Bodywork Academy can teach a few tricks on how to lear the basics of reflexology and how to expand on them.

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