What Is Reflexology & How Can It Benefit You?

What Is Reflexology & How Can It Benefit You?

From migraines to depression, reflexology is credited with treating all kinds of ailments. But does it really help? Put aside your skepticism - we asked two experts how, why and if it really works…

First of all, what is reflexology?

“Reflexology is a massage that applies pressure to a range of particular points on your hands, face and feet that correspond with all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles in your body,” explains Sarah Bradden, Cosmetic Acupuncturist & Expert in Reflexology. “This helps improve circulation of blood, oxygen and ‘qi’ around the body, relieving stress and healing pain in other areas, too. By applying pressure to points on your feet and hands, you can treat and heal problems in the body, which unblocks and encourages energy to flow freely again. This, in turn, brings us back into good health, a sense of balance and wellbeing, stimulating our own body’s healing responses. 

Does it work for everyone?

“It would be rare for you not to be able to have reflexology, everyone can benefit from it,” advises Sarah. “But as with any treatment, it’s important to disclose your full medical history, if you are – or think you might be pregnant – or if you have recently had an operation or surgery. You must also let your therapist know of any injuries that might affect your treatment – such as a recently healed broken ankle. While they may be able to help the symptoms, it’s key they know your limits with the pressure they apply. It’s important to remember that it’s not a foot massage. Feet may get massaged a little to relax you prior to treatment, but it actually involves firm pressure applied to specific points on the feet.” 

What are the benefits?

“We are limited in what we can claim with reflexology, however, there are numerous studies that have shown it can aid in relaxation, help to relieve pain, and even improve circulation of blood and lymph glands,” says Rupert. “I think the type of clients I see are probably a good indicator of the benefits of the treatment. The vast majority of people I see come with the following problems:

Stress Related Issues: Stress is at the root of around ¾ illnesses we face today and reflexology has been proven to have a calming effect on people

Unresolved Chronic Pain: Particularly muscular/skeletal. It’s surprising how often the key to pain lies in the feet – change the feet and I guarantee, the rest of the body will change with them

Hormonal Imbalances: Generally relating to the menstrual cycle, but also polycystic ovaries, menopause symptoms and PMT

Pregnancy: I always say it’s the perfect treatment to have during pregnancy. It’s gentle, non-invasive and helps ease the body through all different stages 

Foot Related Issues: Often overlooked. A gentle mobilisation of the bones and a thorough working through of all the muscles, ligaments and tendons can work wonders for several foot problems.” 

Is there any recovery time?

“Reflexology feels great for most people. It’s a wonderfully effective treatment at working through all the knots and restrictions in the feet. No other treatment works the feet as long or as thoroughly. People often comment how light and bouncy their feet feel post-treatment,” explains Rupert. “As for pain, sensitivity, feelings of discomfort are likely as this is what reflexologists look for, it helps to indicate the areas that need work. So yes, there is slight tenderness, though we always work within a client’s pain threshold and the pain is always described as a ‘sweet’ pain. There’s also no downtime required, you might feel sleepy and headachy afterwards, but this is usually a good sign as shows you’ve released toxins.” 

Keen to try reflexology yourself? Check out these six below across London… 

  1. Anamaya Clinic, Kensington, rf-reflexology.co.uk 

  2. TriYoga, Ealing, triyoga.co.uk 

  3. Calm & Clear, 2 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, calmandclear.co.uk

  4. Andrea Hurst, The May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, andreahurst.co.uk

  5. Margaret Dabbs, New Cavendish Street, margaretdabbs.co.uk 

  6. The Wellness Clinic, Harrods, Knightsbridge, harrods.com 

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