Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears.
It is generally relaxing and may be an effective way to alleviate stress, relieve muscle tension, increase circulation as well as provide overall feeling of relaxation and well being.
The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body.
Proponents believe that pressure applied to these areas affects the organs and benefits the person's health.
Reflexologist's use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to these specific areas.
Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.
Reflexologists claim that reflexology also can treat a wide variety of medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and cancer.
What is Acupressure?
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints, or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy -- or a life force called qi (ch'i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian. According to this theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance.
How is it Applied?
Acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, or elbows, or special devices to apply pressure to acupoints on the body's meridians. Sometimes, acupressure also involves stretching or acupressure massage, as well as other methods.
During an acupressure session, you lie fully clothed on a soft massage table. The practitioner gently presses on acupressure points on your body. A session typically lasts about one hour. You may need several sessions for the best results.The goal of acupressure or other types of Asian bodywork is to restore health and balance to the body's channels of energy and to regulate opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy).