Reflexology Training: The Perfect Complement to Massage Therapy

Imagine being able to support the entire body in its return to balance by working solely with the feet or hands. Reflexology is a time-honored therapeutic technique which does just that. Specific areas of the feet and hands ‘reflex’ distant aspects of the body, sending a signal to return to equilibrium. Paired with massage therapy, reflexology training offers a powerful way to address bodily stress and tension.

The benefits of reflexology are extensive and can be both site-specific and systemic. For instance, working with the area of the foot that relates to the stomach can relieve pain and increase flexibility in that area of the foot itself, as well as a produce a calming and balancing effect on the stomach. Other benefits of reflexology include:

  • Better circulation
  • Stress reduction
  • Toxin elimination
  • Deep relaxation

All organs, endocrine glands, skeletal, and muscular elements of the body have reflexes on the hands, feet and ears. So the possibilities for healing are exponentially increased when reflexology is added to therapeutic massage.

Reflexology History

The origins of reflexology can be found throughout a variety of indigenous cultures world wide. The earliest documented proof of the technique stems from an ancient Egyptian pictograph, dating from around 2300 B.C. Unearthed from a sacred site known as the Physician’s Tomb, the scroll shows practitioners working with the hands and feet of receivers.

In western culture, reflexology was born out of Zone Analgesia which was discovered by Dr. William FitzGerald (1872-1929). In his research on oral pain relief, Dr. Fitzgerald found teeth could be desensitized for dental operations by applying clothes pins to the tips of fingers. He went on to discover 10 longitudinal reflex zones that traverse the body from head to toes. His research was later expanded by Dr. Shelby Riley who discovered additional horizontal reflex zones across the hands and feet.

Dr. Riley’s work then caught the interest of a physical therapist, Eunice Ingham (1889-1974) who documented dynamic relationships between hand and foot reflex areas and specific parts of the entire body. From this research, she created the copyrighted maps upon which all modern reflexology practice is now based.

What to Expect From Reflexology Training

The basics of reflexology training are a component of most massage therapy certification programs. Each student graduates with everything they need to successfully integrate reflexology techniques into therapeutic massage, or to offer reflexology as a specific service on its own. Beyond the basics, there are also reflexology certification programs offered nation-wide by experts in the field who have developed their own curriculum aimed to provide in-depth study and master-level proficiency in this discipline.

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