What is reflexology is a question that is commonly asked and the answer is simply a system that applies pressure to various designated areas of the body such as ear, hand, and foot without the using any other sources such as instruments, materials, lotions, oils and creams. Okay, you might say, I get it so far but what is reflexology, why are you applying pressure? To answer the question what is reflexology and how it is applied it is best to start with the philosophy and work our way through.
Reflexology, also known as touch therapy, has it roots in ancient china where it was considered that pressure or massage stimulation applied to the feet could treat or reduce diseases of certain organs. Certain pressure points were said to stimulate certain organs in ancient Taoist belief. The ancient Chinese derived acupressure and then acupuncture from this starting point and today it is very much a part of modern Chinese medicine.
When trying to answer the question what is reflexology? We must look at its progression from its origin in China to its inception in the west. This eastern view of pressure points, life force or chi, in Taoist belief could be likened to the Hindu charkas points located in the human body. Again, stimulating such places, or pressure points, such the heart charka is said to provide health benefits. More to the point, ancient pictures have been discovered in India with medical pictures demonstrating various pressure points marked off on the soles of the feet of the Buddha. Similar archeological findings in Egypt show evidence of touch therapy in hieroglyphics on the tomb of Ankhmahor dating back to 2000 BC.
The concept spread to the western around the 14th century and today it is used as an alternative medicine form for relieving stress. It was said that Cellini, the Florentine Italian sculptor (1500 1533) practiced pain relief therapy by using finger pressure techniques. By 1582, doctors in Europe were already beginning to write about zone therapy (pressure point therapy of today).
On this side of the Atlantic we know that South American Incas practiced a foot message which is still widely in use by the North American Cherokee. By the turn of the 20th century books on the subject were sprouting out all over the place as the medical community began to take notice of this eastern form of medicine.
Finally when addressing the question what is reflexology bear in mind the appeal of reflexology and eastern medicine is largely due to its holistic approach to medicine. The belief behind holistic medicine is centered upon the ability of the body to heal itself. With reflexology there is no need for drugs. The simple massaging of key reflex points in the hands and feet releases the energy block within the human body, stimulates the immune system, dislodges toxins so that the body can eliminate them naturally and is considered preventative care against illness.