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Page 2 - Reflexology: "Sole Searching"
Reflexology in Pain Relief
Reflexology is very effective at relieving pain. This is important since pain is what usually motivates a person to seek help. Indeed, reflexology is often a treatment of last resort, so it seems all the more remarkable that it is effective because other techniques have already failed.
One of the first proponents, Dr. William Fitzgerald, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist who in 1917 wrote the book "Zone Therapy", used an early form of reflexology to anesthetize those areas of the body.
When I was in massage school, before my specialized training in reflexology, I worked only one time on the feet of a terminal cancer patient who had a tumor the size of a grapefruit protruding from her chest. After her death, her husband told me that the treatment gave her the only pain free day and the only good night's sleep that she had gotten in close to a year.
The medical community regards stress as being, if not a leading cause of disease, then certainly a factor that increases its severity. Consequently, it is no small matter that reflexology is such an effective stress reducer. It also helps the body to return to normal functioning and improves circulation. By normalizing the way the body functions, reflexology helps it to achieve a state of equilibrium.
The Law and Theory of Reflexology
I have formulated what I call the law of reflexology, which I have synthesized from a number of different sources, Oriental as well as Bioenergetics and Reflexology theories. It states that any blockage of blood, breath or energy, any disease, injury, illness or tension in the body is reflected on the corresponding reflex area on the foot. It is reflected as a tenderness, or a sensitivity, or as pain or a discomfort. If we injure ourselves, the corresponding area of the foot will reflect that with tenderness or discomfort. If we then work out the tenderness in the foot, we tend to heal the corresponding body area. When congested or blocked areas on the foot are cleared out, the healing process is hastened because the circulation--the blood and nerve supply and the energy flow to that body area--has been improved. Moreover, the body has a better opportunity to heal itself once some of the incidents of stress to the affected area have been reduced or removed.
Why is reflexology effective? In each foot, there are more than 7,200 nerve endings that have extensive interconnections with the central nervous system. These nerve endings are part of our sensory apparatus in that they sense pain and pressure, hot and cold, etc. The feet are also important for proprioception--sensing or determining our physical position or where we are in space. Essentially, reflexology stimulates or fine-tunes this sensory apparatus and its neural pathways. Further, stress patterns in the body also manifest on the feet. By disrupting those patterns on the feet, reflexology disrupts that pattern in the body as well.
Moreover, the practice of reflexology has been demonstrated to behave like a micro-acupuncture system. This means that it affects prana, or chi, the subtle or mystical energy forces that fuel our bodies. The effects of reflexology may not be limited just to the nervous and circulatory systems. According to classical Oriental medical theory, we have meridians or nadis which are channels that supply the energy for the cells, organs and systems of the body. Stagnation of this energy results in a diminished vitality and in disease. The proper flow of this energy translates into good health. Reflexology releases the blockage in those or similar channels to free up an increased supply of energy, thus improving health.
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