It’s an art dating back to ancient Egypt, India and China –– and it’s credited with helping the body restore its balance naturally by relieving tension.
It’s called reflexology, and local practitioner Steve Barnett says its all about using reflex points on the feet to improve blood circulation, relax the body and bring balance to organs and glands.
“Reflexology is an ancient art of allowing the body to activate its energy zones to cause relaxation in the body and to promote healing from just about any disease or ailment,” Barnett, who has been practising the art for over 15 years
The feet, he explains, has several reflex areas that form a map of the body.
“There are ten lateral lines. If you are talking lines of latitude and longitude, or meridian energy lines, there are ten lines: five on each foot, which represent the shoulder griddle, the diaphragm and the pelvic region. And so you can actually touch any organ or part of your body through this network on your feet.
“All the toes pertain to the head. So if you have a headache and if you suffering from insomnia, you target that area. If you are counting away from the big toe, second and third would be the eye; fourth and fifth, the ears; and the sinuses would be in the areas coming out beneath the toes. Just below the toes targets the neck and shoulder girdle,” Barnett told
He however makes it clear he is not a doctor. But as a reflexologist, he is able to bring relief to his clients from issues such as stress and pain through his practice.
“[Reflexology] allows the body to relax, and through relaxation it promotes healing because those blocked pathways, they are like mutual pathways in the body. Massages through stimulation, through the nervous tendons, sends messages through the spinal cord and from the spinal cord through the brain, and then messages flow back from the brain to the organs.
“When a reflexologist does a treatment or session, it touches over 7,000 nerve endings in your feet; so there is a lot of room for relaxation and for healing. I am not a doctor, I can’t diagnose a problem. All I try to do is use this therapy to create relaxation and relieve any stress.”
The art, Barnett explains, can be beneficial to anyone –– “from tiny babes who are maybe suffering from constipation, insomnia or restlessness to the elderly”.
“Reflexology is like a catalyst; it speeds up the healing process; and I wouldn’t say it is an alternative to traditional medicine. But it complements traditional medicine.”
However, he makes it clear that the practice of reflexology is more than just a foot or hand massage, and its benefits
Whereas a massage is held traditionally to focus on relaxing tight muscles, reflexologists believe there are reflex points on the hands and feet located on the tissues of the skin that link to different organs or parts of the body.
“Yes it is a massage; the technique is massaging the feet; but it is stimulating the nerve endings that makes the difference between a massage and reflexology. A massage, you massage muscles on the outside and it works itself in. With reflexology you are stimulating the nervous system, and so it works from inside out. So that’s where the effects sare sometimes quicker and more beneficial,” he said.
The practice is said to also stimulate the elimination process, to cleanse the body of toxins, and increase circulation and delivery of oxygen to all cells of the body, thereby affording persons a more balanced and relaxed state of healing by calming the nerves, and hormone upliftment that eventually lead to the restoration of physical, emotional and mental well-being.
“I have [treated] menstrual cramps, predominantly back issues, sleeplessness, constipation, headaches. [Reflexology] alleviates pain.
“I won’t say for chronic diseases it will take them away; but it relives the stress associated with the pain –– and it depends on the individual and the symptoms they may be experiencing,” Barnett explained.