This article explains reflexology, the history and the benefits and what to expect from reflexology therapy in New Zealand.

What is reflexology?

With a history dating back to ancient Egypt, China, India and Greece, as well as Native Americans, reflexology has been giving pleasure and helping people for an extremely long time.

Pioneering work on reflexology was carried out in the 16th century when it was known as Zone therapy. Later adaptations came about and since the 1930’s the Ingham system has been widely adopted. There are different interpretations of techniques, but Ingham is one of the main methods used in the western world. China and other Asian countries also have their own techniques, but ultimately work the same way.

Reflexology involves the application of pressure and various types of massage movements to all areas of the feet. The stimulation of these nerve endings can assist the body to heal naturally.

The feet have reflex areas and these correspond to all systems and organs in the body. Of course, there are some areas that can be more tender than others, which can often mean an imbalance in the corresponding part of the body.

Sometimes you may feel crunchy type crystals while receiving a reflexology foot massage, which is caused by the build-up of lactic acid. This lactic acid can be broken down through massage, reabsorbed into the body and subsequently eliminated in waste product. This can then improve blood supply, help the body to detoxify and remove blockages in nerve pathways.

It is also possible to apply the principles of Reflexology to hands and ears, as they contain similar reflex areas.

How can reflexology help my child?

Children can be helped by reflexology treatment for many common ailments. Reflexology is thought to help with stress, digestion problems, headaches and insomnia. In addition it can also help with relaxation (e.g. anxious children or teenagers at exam time) and has the added bonus of helping to improve circulation.

How can reflexology help me?

Reflexology during pregnancy can help to alleviate common discomforts of pregnancy, such as nausea and backache. It can also help you to overcome lack of sleep and fatigue.

Reflexology aims to help you achieve your maximum health and balance and can work on its own, or in conjunction with conventional medicine, to treat disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, eczema and sleep disorders.

What should I expect during our first visit to a reflexologist?

An initial consultation will typically involve a discussion about your health and lifestyle and the taking of detailed case notes. As each individual is unique, a recommended course of treatment will depend upon what your reflexologist believes you will benefit from the most. Treatment can usually last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Babies and young children usually have shorter treatments as they can become restless sitting still for too long.

Most children will find it relaxing, once they have settled into having their feet touched, even those who claim to be ticklish!

The reflexologist will ensure the child is calm and understands they are going to have their feet, and possibly their hands and ears, pressed firmly and massaged gently, throughout the treatment.

As reflexology can also be a useful self help technique, the reflexologist may also show you or your child various ways to rub or press your own pressure points on your feet at home.

How do I find a reputable reflexologist?

This is the official website of Reflexology New Zealand, which is affiliated to the New Zealand Charter of Health Practitioners. Those who gain professional membership have met the education standards required and have been issued with accreditation certificates. One of the aims of the organization is to ‘actively promote reflexology to the public and official bodies as an accepted and desired modality in primary and secondary healthcare.’

Choosing a Reflexologist who is a professional member of Reflexology New Zealand means you can be assured they are a qualified reflexologist and that you will be in good hands – literally.

Aside from word-of-mouth and personal referrals, there are also natural health practitioners who may offer reflexology as part of their services (i.e. they may be qualified in a number of complementary modalities).

How much does reflexology cost?

As treatment costs can sometimes vary depending upon location it is advisable to enquire about the consultation costs prior to your appointment.

As a guide, treatments can start from as little as $40 for 40 minutes.

Helpful reflexology websites – Looking for a registered reflexologist in your area? Then go no further – this is the site you need.– This site offers a great visual chart on how the foot zones relate to the body as a whole. It also offers an easy-to-understand and quick-to-read explanation of reflexology as a modality.

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