Feet. Most of us really take them for granted, don’t we? They sit there at the end of our legs and work pretty hard, but usually get very little back in return. They really deserve better, especially at this time of year when most of us are doing a lot more running around than usual. So when I heard that my friend Andrea Morrison, who’s just set up her business Eden House Holistic, was doing taster sessions in reflexology I thought I’d give it a go. Of course reflexology isn’t just about pampering – Andrea is a clinical reflexologist, which means she identifies and concentrates on particular reflexes, depending on the needs of the client.
Most people are aware that reflexology involves the feet, but how does it work exactly? Basically it’s a holistic therapy working on the principle that the body’s organs, glands and other parts are mapped out in zones or reflexes on the feet, and that stimulating these points in a certain way can assist in the body’s well-being. Reflexologists are not allowed to make claims regarding its effectiveness for specific conditions; however, medical trials have been carried out apparently demonstrating that it can help many common complaints such as IBS, cancer, back pain, sleep disorders and stress.
Reflexology has roots dating back to Ancient Egypt, India and China, but was not introduced to the West until Dr William Fitzgerald developed Zone Therapy in the USA in 1913, claiming that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone. In the 1930s nurse and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham further developed this zone theory into what is known as reflexology. Her opinion was that congestion or tension in any part of the foot is mirrored in the corresponding part of the body. Therapists use their hands to apply pressure to the feet to identify and treat areas of concern.
So how was it for me? Sitting in a special super-comfy chair in Andrea’s tranquil treatment room and covered with a blanket I felt very cosy during the brief consultation! Andrea explained that she would usually take a full medical history from patients having an initial consultation. The actual treatment consisted of Andrea applying some lotion to my feet, then working her way carefully around them with her fingers and thumbs. Luckily this didn’t tickle at all – in fact in a couple of places it was slightly uncomfortable or even a bit crunchy! The part relating to my slightly dodgy lower back showed up (unsurprisingly). More surprisingly, Andrea identified that the area relating to my throat felt slightly uncomfortable, and in fact I had had a bit of a sore throat for a couple of days previously – so I definitely think there must be something in it!
Although fairly brief, the session was very relaxing – a nice treat for my running feet apart from anything else! Andrea explained that reflexology isn’t just for treating problems, it’s also a great way to just have a bit of me-time and chill out. I would say it’s a great idea for anyone who might feel a bit self-conscious about stripping off and being covered in oil for a full massage. I’d definitely do it again!
If you’re interested in finding out more about reflexology you can do so on the Association of Reflexologists website. If you’d like to book an appointment with Andrea you can find her contact details on the Eden House Holistic website, as well as details of her latest special offers. One of her vouchers would make a great Christmas present for a stress-head – or a runner!