Mapping your body through reflexology
Licensed massage therapist Pam McCarty became interested in the practice of reflexology after her doctor sent her to the massage therapist in an effort to manage a panic disorder. She said she noticed the calming effect from having her feet worked on immediately. She began taking reflexology classes and found herself amazed by the reactions fellow students had in the reflexive parts of their bodies when corresponding points were manipulated in their feet.
“It’s a complementary therapy,” said McCarty. “It’s not meant to cure anything. It’s based on the concept that there are 10 different zones in our bodies from the top of our head to our feet.”
These 10 zones, she said, are divided in two, with five located in each foot. The top of the head, for instance, correlates to the top of the toes, with the corresponding body parts traveling downward in the feet, such as the lungs, heart and stomach.
McCarty said some of her clients actually prefer reflexology to any other part of the massage session.
“Though many massage therapists take training in and practice reflexology, it is a completely different modality from traditional massage,” said McCarty.
She explained that reflexology has been around for thousands of years, with evidence that it has origins in both Egypt and China. Some benefits of the practice, according to McCarty, include improved circulation and lymphatic drainage, restoration of the body’s balance and healing, and headache reduction.
“Simply put, reflexology is the application of pressure to specific reflexive zones in the feet, hands or ears, which correspond to other parts of the body,” said McCarty. “The practitioner applies pressure to the consequent zones in the feet. It is generally relaxing, but can feel slightly painful if an area is congested or in need of attention. When receiving reflexology, it’s important for the client to communicate any discomfort.”
One theory, she suggested, regarding the success of the practice, is that applied pressure affects the nerves, which in turn carry signals to another part of the body, although the exact process remains unknown.
“People who have experienced the benefits of reflexology claim everything from pain reduction to improved metabolism and even better sleep,” said McCarty. “Reflexology is a less invasive and typically enjoyable therapy for anyone looking for relief from common ailments.”
There are certain contraindications for reflexology, such as gout and vascular disease of the legs or feet, so be sure to ask your practitioner about any health concerns you have.
To contact McCarty, LMT# 87583, please call 859-486-3235.