Reflexology applies pressure to a range of particular points on your hands and feet that correspond with all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles in your body.

We are all familiar with the classic 'knee-jerk' response the doctor taps the patient below the knee, and his lower leg bounces up into the air - if you do something to one part of the body you can cause a reaction in another part. Reflexology applies this response to the whole body. By applying pressure to points on your feet and hands, you can treat and heal problems elsewere in the body.

Reflexology is based on similar principles to acupuncture and some types of massage - that our bodies are mapped by channels of energy, or "qi" (pronounced "chee"): we feel pain, or generally unwell, when the flow of the energy is blocked in some way. By putting pressure on one part of these channels, the reflexologist sends an impulse or message all the way along it, which unblocks it and encourages the energy to flow freely again.

This in turn bring´s us back into good health and a sense of balance and well-being, and stimulates our body's own healing response.

What is reflexology good for?

Many people goes to see reflexologist, as they might go for a massage: to help with their general health and make them feel relaxed and calm. But because it is such a comprehensive treatment, reflexology can help you in many other ways, with anything from a trapped nerve to depression.

Reflexology is recommended by doctors for a variety of conditions, including:

  • back pain and muscle strain
  • sports injuries
  • stress
  • anxiety and depression
  • sleep and eating disorders
  • poor circulation
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • migraine
  • pre-menstrual tension
  • symptoms of menopause
  • breathing difficulties such as asthma

What to expect from reflexology

The reflexologist may massage your feet a little to relax you before they start, but the technique itself is about applying firm pressure to specific points on the foot.

A treatment session usually lasts for about an hour. You will probably get a lot of a single session but may want to have several more.