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Video:See a Reflexology Treatment

with Cathy Wong

Have you thought about trying reflexology, but want to know if it's right for you? Learn about reflexology's wide range of uses and what to expect when you go for your first visit.See Transcript

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Transcript:See a Reflexology Treatment

Hi, I'm Cathy Wong, your guide to Alternative Medicine on About.com

Introduction to Reflexology

Reflexology is a therapy that focuses primarily on the feet. It's a popular alternative therapy, used primarily for stress-related conditions such as digestive disorders and tension headaches, and to promote relaxation, improve circulation, reduce pain, soothe tired feet, and encourage overall healing.

It's also used for post-operative or palliative care. A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.

Reflexology Treatments

So today, reflexologist, Amy Kreydin, is going to show us what a typical session is like. Let's take a look.

Usually you begin with a consultation about your health and lifestyle. You will then be asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit comfortably in a reclining chair or on a massage table. Otherwise you usually remain fully clothed. The reflexologist will examine your feet and begin with brisk movements to warm the feet up. Then pressure is applied from the toes to the heel according to your comfort.

Lotion or oil may be used. A typical treatment lasts from 45 minutes to an hour.

Reflexology Pressure Points

The underlying theory is that there are "reflex" areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body.
For example:
  • The tips of the toes reflect the head
  • The heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
  • The liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
  • The low back and intestines are towards the heel
Practitioners believe that applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways. A scientific explanation is that the pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce pain and stress.
Reflexology is recommended as a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.

What Does a Reflexology Treatment Feel Like?

Most people find reflexology for the most part to be very relaxing. Reflexology shouldn't be painful. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell the reflexologist. He or she should work within your comfort zone.

Some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure. If you're ticklish, not to worry. The reflexologist applies firm pressure to the feet.

Before Your Reflexology Treatment

If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor first and let the reflexologist know. Be sure to give the reflexologist a complete and accurate health history. If you have foot ulcers, injury, or blood vessel disease such as blood clots, consult your doctor before having reflexology.

Thanks for watching. To learn more about Alternative Medicine, visit us on the Web at Altmedicine.About.com
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