Posted on Hello Wellness on Nov 20, 2010
An Egyptian wall painting of the Sixth Dynasty dating back to 2400 BCE found at Saqqara in the tomb of Ankhmahor (a ka-priest who tended to the tomb of his patron king) depicts two men working on the feet and hands of two other men. Another pictograph at the temple of Amon, Karnak dating back to Rameses II (1279-13 BCE) depicts a healer tending to the feet of foot soldiers at the battle of Qadesh.
Like papyrus, pottery and coffee, the ancient Egyptians did well to export their knowledge and practise of foot reflexology to India and China and from there to the rest of the world. An alternative therapy, reflexology involves application of pressure to the feet with fingers without the use of oil or lotion. Massaging and stimulating specific reflex points and nerve endings in the feet increases circulation so that oxygen and nutrients can be distributed throughout the body and the toxins can be flushed out.
In ancient times, reflexes were stimulated naturally by walking barefoot over rocks, stones and rough ground, or by using hands to climb, build or work. In today’s modern world, nature’s way of maintaining balance is lost. Reflexology helps restore this equilibrium and promotes vitality. It is believed to help in conditions such as:
Cancer: In cancer patients, massage, reflexology and acupressure are used as complementary therapies to traditional medical treatments to help decrease anxiety, pain intensity, nausea, vomiting and fatigue
Post-operative pain: Foot and hand massages given to post-operative patients have been found to reduce pain, heart rate and respiratory rate
Aging: Studies involving middle-aged women have shown that self-reflexology decreases depression, perceived stress, systolic blood pressure, and helps strengthen the immune system.
Menopause: Both reflexology and foot massage helped to decrease anxiety, depression, hot flashes and night sweats in women during menopause.
Headaches: A nationwide study undertaken in Denmark found that nearly 19 per cent of headache sufferers ceased taking medication following reflexology treatment.
Though reflexology is generally safe, there may be a few side-effects such as fatigue, headaches and increased sensitivity in the feet.
Consult with your physician before you take a reflexology course, especially if you suffer from epilepsy, diabetes, foot ulcers, gout, thyroid and circulatory problems.