What is Reflexology?

Based on an ancient form of Chinese medicine, Reflexology is a type of massage that concentrates on specific areas of the feet, hands and ears that correspond with organs and zones of the body. These zones were first described by ear, nose and throat specialist Dr William Fitzgerald, who discovered that applying pressure to certain areas had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body. This ‘zone therapy’ was further developed and refined by nurse and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham, who mapped the
entire body into ‘reflexes’ on the feet, hence the name ‘Reflexology’.  Each part of the body or organ is linked through the nervous system to a specific area known as ‘reflexes’ on the feet or hands through the nerve endings. Specific manipulation of these reflexes produce a reflex action through the nerves that affect the corresponding body area or organ by unblocking energy paths and improving blood flow.
Reflexology is a non-invasive, holistic complementary therapy that is suitable for everyone from newborn to those receiving end of life care, and everyone in between. It seeks to treat the whole person, helping you to restore your natural balance by taking into account factors that affect both your mind and body. It aims to improve your well-being by reducing stress and tension, promoting relaxation and allowing the body to balance itself, encouraging the self-healing process.
All the systems in our body need to work together in harmonious balance for us to be in good health. Modern life can be stressful and when we are subject to prolonged periods of stress, our body’s defences weaken and we become more susceptible to disease and illness. Approximately 75% of health problems can be linked to stress: insomnia, migraines, difficulty conceiving, digestive problems and fatigue, which negatively impact our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Reflexology can help to inhibit the stress process, promoting deep tranquility of body and mind, improving sleep, stimulating circulation and nerve supply, cleansing the body of toxins and boosting immunity to restore harmonious balance and vitality.
Reflexology can also be used as a preventative health care method, helping you to become focused, energized and more able to cope with the constant demands and pressures of modern life. I can even offer Reflexology sessions in the workplace. It is also an ideal therapy to complement conventional medicine, particularly in cases of infertility, cancer and end of life care.

What is reflexology and an Introduction to reflexology video from the Association of Reflexologists.

The Association of Reflexologists is the foremost aspirational and independent Professional Association for reflexology in the UK since 1984, providing benefits, advice and guidance to reflexologists and working with other external bodies and advisory groups to promote the highest

Who can benefit from Reflexology?

Reflexology is suitable for everyone. Even if you have ticklish feet! It is a safe, non-invasive massage treatment that focuses on the feet and hands and occasionally the ears that has been developed to aid deep relaxation, unblock energy paths and increase blood flow to specific and problematic areas of the body. It can be highly beneficial in pregnancy, extremely helpful in assisting the terminally ill and ideal for combating work related stress, even in the workplace. However, there are some types of Reflexology I offer that may not be suitable for everyone; for example, Hot Stone Reflexology should not be used on diabetics. It can help alleviate a wide variety of conditions but you do not have to be unwell to benefit from Reflexology.

Examples of conditions that Reflexology may help include:
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Digestive disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine
  • ME
  • MS
  • Pregnancy related conditions and preparing for labour
  • Respiratory problems
  • Sinusitis
  • Sports injuries
  • Skin disorders
  • Stress related conditions
  • Wellbeing

In my experience, Reflexology can be particularly effective for PMS, infertility and pregnancy, headaches and migraines, insomnia and relief from the symptoms of cancer care.

Health benefits of reflexology
What can I expect at a treatment?

Firstly, I will answer any questions you have and listen to your reasons for coming to see me. I will ask you a number of questions, which will cover your medical history, your lifestyle and your general health and well-being that will help me better understand your specific needs. Then, you will lay fully clothed on the treatment couch (I will ask you to remove your shoes and socks and possibly any rings you are wearing). If you find it difficult to lie flat, you can lie on your side or sit in a chair. After some initial relaxation, I will then use my thumb and forefinger to apply pressure to specific areas of your feet or possibly your hands. At the end of your session, we can discuss your experience and I can make any recommendations for further treatment. A session generally lasts an hour, though this can vary.

Reflexology and Preventative Health Care

Reflexology is a way of relaxing the mind and body and counteracting stress.  Preventative health care can save time, money and frustration as well as maintain a good quality of life.  The negative effects of everyday life, stress, emotions, attitudes, and improper eating can throw the body out of balance.  If one part of the body does not work properly the whole body suffers, then minor aches, pains and general fatigue which are often the beginning of more serious complaints begin to surface.

The types of Reflexology I offer are tailored to your individual needs and include:

Traditional Reflexology - 30-60 mins
This is the most common type of reflexology treatment used and requested.  Traditional Reflexology is the technique of applying gentle pressure to the reflex areas on the feet to bring about a deep state of relaxation and to stimulate the body's own natural healing processes.  The theory underlying reflexology is that the parts of the body are connected to reflex areas on the sole and side of the feet.  Each treatment session is tailor made to your individual needs.  A typically session can last 30 to 60 minutes.

Hot Stone – 90 mins
Using warmed basalt stones known for their soothing heat retention properties that quickly open the energy pathways and enable deep stimulation of the reflex points of the feet, this treatment improves your ability to relax and increases your body’s self-healing ability through improved circulation. Fabulous for those suffering from cold extremities, or just the ravages of a harsh winter, this deeply relaxing treatment takes approximately 90 minutes.

Spinal Reflexology – 30-60 mins
This specialised form of Reflexology focuses on stimulating the feet’s spinal reflexes and works by gently releasing tension in the muscles around the spine, shoulders, neck and pelvis.  This allows the vertebrae to realign to their correct position and helps a variety of common conditions including neck and backache, migraine and arthritis. A session of Spinal Reflexology takes approximately an hour.  

Power Reflexology – 30 mins
Targeting key stress points on your hands and feet, Power Reflexology is a welcome antidote to modern life. Whether at work, in your lunch hour or on your way home, I work efficiently to help you feel focused, energised and de-stressed in half an hour.

Hand Reflexology – 30 or 60 mins
This luxurious and deeply relaxing treatment is ideal if you dislike having you feet touched, suffer from diabetes or have a foot infection. The hands share the same reflexes as the feet but are more flexible and require deeper and more prolonged effleurage to help melt away your stress. Using oil and heated mitts, each session is tailored to your individual needs and you can chose from either 30 or 60 minutes.

Chinese Foot Massage – 90 mins
Starting with an indulgent hot foot spa and a relaxing cup of herbal tea, the Chinese Foot Massage is a stimulating treatment that aims to invigorate and nourish, improving circulation, aiding relaxation and promoting your general well-being. Using my knuckles and a special baton to stretch and massage your feet and lower legs, a Chinese Foot Massage is a recharging experience that is still an important part of Chinese lifestyle. A billion people can’t be wrong!
To find out more about Reflexology or any of the other Complementary Therapies I offer and which is best for you, call me on 07957 666291 or 01843 580191.
Reflexology is intended to complement, not replace, the relationship you have with your medical practitioner. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, please see your doctor. Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or claim to cure. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of anything you have read on this website.


Contact Details

Theresa Lindsay BSc, MAR, RCST
Birch Therapy Centre
Elms Avenue
CT11 9BW
Telephone: 01843 580 191
Mobile: 07957 666291