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Page 3 - Reflexology: "Sole Searching"
In reflexology theory, there is what is known as a zonal relationship between the body and the foot. There are ten vertical or longitudinal zones in the body that correspond to our ten toes. There are also horizontal zones on the foot corresponding to the shoulder and diaphragm areas, the waistline, and the pelvic area below it. Using zone theory, we are able to determine where on the foot the solutions to most of our aches and pains can be found.
A practitioner looks for sensitive areas and blockages in the foot. The sensitive areas are usually evident since the client will physically respond in some way. Apart from any pain response from the client, the practitioner is able to detect blockages. The tissue may be atonal, or somewhat squishy, or it might be hypertrophic or tough. Both of these situations suggest zonal imbalances. The reflexologist might encounter crystalline deposits, which feel like little grains of salt under the skin, or other related blockages which, when felt, should be crushed. As stated earlier, the removal of a blockage in the foot improves the blood and nerve supplies as well as the energy flow to the corresponding body area.
The correct amount of pressure to be employed is that which would elicit discomfort or pain in a sensitive area, but which is still relaxing and pleasurable. In other words, that which "hurts good." Enough pressure should be used to elicit sensitivity to ensure that blocked reflex areas have been located and sufficiently accessed, but not so much pressure as to make the client tense or cause him or her to dislike the treatment. Often, however, the more pressure that is used, the better it feels to the client because more endorphins are released into the bloodstream. (Endorphins are the body's pain killers or blockers. It is naturally produced "morphine".) Also of course, the amount of pressure that is comfortable will vary from client to client.
The actual technique or "stroke" used by the reflexologist is to use one hand to hold the foot back and straight, and use the other to do an inchworm-like motion on the foot. For the most part, the practitioner applies the inside or medial edge of the thumb at a 45 degree angle to the foot. The movement of the thumb is just like that of an inchworm. The thumb moves or slithers along, taking tiny bites or steps, burrowing along the entire foot. The thumb applies a fluid and continuous movement and pressure, and never leaves the surface of the foot.
Reflexology as a Holistic Healing Practice
Reflexology is a holistic practice in that it affects us on all levels; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The feet are simply powerhouses. They have been regarded reverentially for a long time. For example, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; people are anointed upon their feet; disciples kiss the feet of their gurus. Indeed, if the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the feet are reflections (read: reflexions) of it. Energy blockages on the feet tend to reveal which emotions are not being released. The feet also tend to reveal what issues our higher self or spirit is working through, thus permitting a simplistic emotional and spiritual assessment. Indeed, reflexologists work on our very soles (souls).
Moreover, reflexology grounds us. We tend to live in our heads and not in our bodies and with our feet, figuratively, not on the ground. Yet, we cannot feel secure unless we are solidly and securely connected to the earth. Reflexology restores our connection with the earth by energizing the feet and bringing our awareness into them.
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