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A Guide to Reflexology

September 16th, 2011 Healthy Living

Reflexology is a healing practice that uses pressure points on the hands and feet which correspond with different body organs and systems. Applying specific touch techniques to these zones is thought to have a beneficial impact on a person's health, and many people combine it with other treatments to alleviate pain associated with medical conditions and relieve stress. The practice isn't used to cure any diseases or prevent disorders, but many people do benefit from it.

Reflexology has ancient roots, but Dr. William Fitzgerald is generally credited as the father of the practice in the U.S. He defined 10 vertical zones throughout the body and found that applying pressure to these zones could relieve pain during minor surgeries. Other practitioners further developed his theories and eventually expanded them to include pressure points on the ear. They created charts to map out the corresponding areas of the body so everyone would know where to find the pressure zones.

Not all reflexologists agree on all points, but there is a consensus on major zones. For example, each foot represents a vertical half of the body. The left foot corresponds to the left side of the body, and the right foot corresponds with the right half. If you have a condition like asthma, you could apply pressure to the areas on your feet or hands that correspond to the lungs to get some relief.

You can practice reflexology on yourself or enlist a family member to help you. Practitioners are also widely available and can teach you at-home methods. Repeat the pressure frequently and persistently for the best results. Charts and maps are available online, and even exist as Smartphone applications, so it's easy to see where you need to apply pressure.