Reflexology is a complementary therapy that involves the application of pressure to specific points, known as reflexes, on the feet and hands to encourage the body to heal from within. The therapy is based on the principle that the feet and hands contain 'mini-maps' of the whole body and that by applying pressure using the fingers or thumbs a reflexologist can have a positive effect on the corresponding parts of the body.
The right foot/hand corresponds to the right hand side of the body and the left foot/hand to the left hand side of the body. Parts of the body that are found on both sides, such as the kidneys, will have corresponding reflexes on both feet/hands whereas parts of the body that are found on just one side are only represented by the foot/hand on that same side. For example, the heart reflex is found on the left foot only.
Reflexology is a holistic therapy and treats the person as a whole rather than just focusing on a set of symptoms. Holistic therapies take the emotional and spiritual being into account as well as the physical.
Most people tend to associate the feet with reflexology, however reflexology also works on the hands. Hand reflexology is often used as a self-help tool.
One thing is clear, reflexology is so much more than a simple foot rub or hand massage - it is a powerful therapy which has been shown to have a very positive effect on health and wellbeing. When a part of the body is not working at its best, a sensitive area will be found in the corresponding part of the foot or hand when pressure is applied to it. By working over sensitive reflexes through a number of reflexology treatments the tenderness will usually reduce as the body begins to function properly again as it reaches homeostasis.