Stepping into Health with Reflexology
Oct 01, 2015 11:06PM
● By Ariana Rawls Fine
Reflexology, according to the Reflexology Association of America (RAA), “is a non-invasive complementary practice involving the use of alternating pressure applied to reflexes within reflex maps of the body, located on the feet, hands and outer ears.” A trained reflexologist uses specific finger, thumb and hand techniques to stimulate points and areas that correspond to the body’s organs and systems. Modern reflexology is actually based on ancient practices of working the feet that were found across four continents, including in countries such as China, Egypt and India. An American ear, nose and throat physician, William Fitzgerald, discovered the power of zones on the foot in the early 20th century. His Zone Theory was developed further by Dr. Shelby Riley and then by Eunice D. Ingham, a physical therapist; Ingham is mainly credited with researching, developing and popularizing the modern modality through the 1970s.
Reflexology can help with relaxation, stress relief, sleep, digestive problems, pain reduction and overall wellness – including “lending a helping hand” to mental health care management with depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Reflexology has been used to support pregnant women with an easier birthing process and post-partum recovery as well. The modality has been used to complement medical care, especially in cases of cancer care to help with pain, nausea and anxiety.
Patrick Lucas, a Bethel-based reflexologist, began studying after experiencing it himself as a client. “We live in a time-challenged society, especially in Fairfield County,” he states. “I could see the tangible benefits I received in my own body and the deep relaxation and stress reduction. That’s what drew me to study reflexology.”
Although there may be sensitive areas due to stress or ailments, a reflexology treatment should not be painful. There are several areas that should be more tender, such as the adrenal reflex points. As your health improves through continuous sessions, you can influence your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and potentially reduce your reliance on prescription or over-the-counter drugs. “I have been a type II diabetic for more than 26 years, somewhat controlled with pills and, over the past five years, replaced with dosages of insulin. During this period, my readings fluctuated between 165 dmo and 200 dmo daily. I started with reflexology…in November 2012 in order to rebuild my body and overall health and redevelop a sense of well being. Much to my amazement, I noticed my need for insulin was becoming less and less. I went from 54 units daily to 20 units,” explained Melvin Bye, a client of Irina Breslav, a Stamford-based reflexologist.
Although there is no required national certification to become a reflexologist, it is highly recommended to seek an American Reflexology Certification Board-certified (ARCB) practitioner in good standing either with RAA (Reflexology-USA.org/Practitioners), ARCB (ARCB.net/Find-an-ARCB-Reflexologist) and/or the Reflexology Association of Connecticut (ReflexologyCT.org/CurrentMembers.html). This insures your chosen reflexologist has the training and knowledge needed to understand your health issues and goals. ARCB is an independent reflexology testing agency that certifies the professional competency of and sets standards for reflexologists nationwide.
Reflexology can help activate and balance the body’s healing powers by improving circulation, revitalizing energy, offering a relaxing place to release tensions, and reducing pain. “After suffering from a muscle injury in my back, I was in search of some type of healing. The pain I was experiencing was constant and nearly debilitating. I could not do my normal daily activities like driving, and going to the gym…I finally discovered the miraculous therapy of reflexology. Now I finally feel like myself again, and I’m able to do all of the activities I enjoyed prior to injuring my back…The effects are not instant but, by the day after therapy, you sure feel refreshed and find that your pain and stress will have dissipated,” said Josh B. of Stamford about his treatments in 2012 with Breslav.
Ariana Rawls is the editor of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County. A former nationally certified reflexologist, she practiced in the Tri-State area and in Israel and is a co-founder of the Reflexology Association of Connecticut.