By Donah MBABAZI (Photo: The New Times Rwanda) It is merely a touch or sensual rub on someone’s feet and hands that works miracles at healing ailments; it is essentially termed as reflexology.
One may wonder how a mere rubbing or massage of the feet heals dangerous conditions, for instance, paralysis or an injured spine, but the truth is a firm touch of an experienced reflexologist can bring back life to an ill body, according to health experts.
In reflexology, the nerve endings provide a map of the rest of the body. Reflexologists, therefore, use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to specific areas of the feet that correspond to each organ, muscle and other parts that lie within a specific zone because they can be accessed via a point or area on the feet or hands.
Twenty-eight-year-old Bélise Nyirabwiza testifies to having recovered from a potentially crippling illness after receiving treatment from a reflexologist.
Her legs had become paralysed for over a year and she tried out different hospitals for treatment in vain. It was until late last year when she decided to try her luck with reflexology.
“I had started coming to terms with the fact that I would never walk or sit again. I was carried around wherever I went and lay in bed all day; my back and legs were numb and my life was meaningless,” Nyirabwiza narrates.
A few months into her treatment, she began to regain hope; life was once again worth living and her nervous system was beginning to function normally.
“It took me more than six months to heal but it was worth it. The pain went away and I can now walk or do any other thing without support,” she says.
What the professionals say
Emmanuel Kanobana, a professional reflexologist, says reflexology is gaining popularity because more people are opting for natural forms of medication.
He says most of the patients they treat are referred by the patients they have previously treated.
“We mostly deal with conditions such as stress, backaches, muscle pains, blockage of veins, diabetes, paralysis and persistent headaches, among others; all of these can be treated through reflexology,” Kanobana says.
Reflexology is also said to have several health benefits, such as the relaxation, improvement of blood circulation and support of normalised function in the related area in the body.
He explains that reflexology works with the central nervous system and that every organ or muscle can be accessed through a point on the feet or hands.
The applied pressure enhances overall relaxation and brings internal structural system into a state of prime functioning hence facilitating the process of healing.
Robert Mugabe, who has worked as a reflexology and massage therapist for eight years, says he has witnessed astounding results with this therapy.
He explains that reflexology hits into the body’s reflex network providing an exercise of pressure sensors and hence connecting to the internal organs to which they are intricately knotted.
“We rub the feet and hands using hands. We also massage the feet in between the rubs to provide relaxation as this is a natural way of healing the body. We later massage that specific part with the problem and eventually the whole body,” Mugabe explains.
Patients are given a different length of time for treatment based on the kind of illness.
“There are illnesses that heal faster and those that take longer. For instance, paralysis and diabetes can take up to three months to heal, while conditions such as stress or headaches can be healed in a few weeks,” he says.
Mugabe says that the massage offered in spas is different from medical reflexology because the former is more for relaxation than healing.
According Dr Andrew Weil, a US-trained physician, hand and foot reflexology is of great value in relieving generalised foot pain caused by cramped or chronically tight muscles.
He also says that, like other forms of massage, it may release endorphins, leading to a pleasurable and relaxed state.
Facts About Reflexology
Is reflexology new?
The idea behind reflexology is not new – in fact, it was practiced as early as 2330 B.C. by the Egyptian culture.
Reflexology as we know it today was first researched and developed by Eunice Ingham, the pioneer of this field.
Her first book on the subject was published in 1938. And since 1942, reflexology workshops have been conducted year round.
What is the ingham method?
The combined work of the late Eunice Ingham and her nephew Dwight C. Byers, the world’s leading authority on foot reflexology. Mr. Byers, director of the International Institute of Reflexology, and/or his hand picked instructors conduct on-going workshops on a worldwide scale to both laymen and professionals. The ingham method of reflexology is used primarily for relaxing tension. Doctors agree that over 75% of our health problems can be linked to nervous stress and tension. Reflexology improves nerve and blood supply, and helps nature to normalise.
What special equipment is needed?
Only the hands are used, making it a safe, simple, yet effective method without the use of gadgets. Let your fingers do the walking.
Can reflexology make a condition worse?
No, it will not make any condition more acute. Reflexology helps to normalize body functions. A Reflexology session relaxes the stress that can affect your health. It is a safe effective way to Better Health.
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