There are ten reflex zones on the foot each corresponding to a different body area. There are additional specific reflex points that correspond to internal organs, glands, and sense organs. For example, in the center of the pad of the big toe there is a reflex point that corresponds to the pituitary gland; on the ball of the left big toe is a reflex point to the heart, and on the ball of pinky is a reflex zone to the shoulder. There are over 50 reflex point such as these on the feet.
When these reflexology points are stimulated with specific massage techniques, the body's natural healing abilities are stimulated. Pain is reduced; organ function improves, and in some cases, diseases are resolved.
While massage therapists who perform Foot Reflexology are not medical practitioners with the training to either diagnose or treat, the practice of Foot Reflexology over recent decades shows, again and again, the healing potential of this modality.
How does Reflexology work? Foot Reflexology works on several levels. Research in the 1890s by Henry Head and Charles Sherrington shows us the neurological relationship between the skin and the internal organs, and that the nervous system as a whole adjusts to stimulus. By applying pressure to the feet, the calming message to peripheral nerves is carried through the central nervous system signaling the body to relax. This enhanced relaxation allows increased blood supply to the internal organs and their systems. This relaxation allows, additionally, the body to move naturally toward homeostasis and more optimal functioning.
The neuromatrix theory of pain helps us to understand how Reflexology reduces pain levels in the body. According to the neuromatrix theory, pain is a subjective experience created by the brain. The brain does nthis in response to not only physical stimui but also in response to emotional or cognitivie factors. Thus, your moods or stress levels can also affect your experience of pain. Reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.
Lastly Reflexology is recognized as a specific type of massage developed based on Zone Theory. Zone Theory, developed by Dr. William Fitzgerald in the early 1900s, understands the body is divided into 10 vertical zones, each zone corresponding to fingers and toes all the way up to the head. In Reflexology, every organ, gland, or body part that lies within a zone can be accessed via a reflex zone or point on the foot or hand. For example, if you work on the horizontal relfex zone at the base of the ball of the foot, you are affecting the solar plexus and diaphragm. These pathways between reflex zones and other parts of the body are thought to be connected via the nervous system, as described above.
The Benefits of the Shiatsu Massage:
Restore and maintain the body's energy, especially helpful to those suffering from fatigue and overall weakness.
Improves blood flow and circulation.
Reduces stress and tension as well as anxiety and depression.
Relief from headaches.
Promotes healing from sprains and similar injuries.
Helps bring relief to arthritis sufferers.
Helps to restore strength and flexibility to your feet.