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Foot, Hand, and Ear Reflexology: The Basics

Many people are drawn to reflexology because of the profound relaxation and wellness benefits they experience by having their feet reflexed. However, there are numerous benefits to reflexing the hands and ears during a session along with the feet. You can even learn basic foot, hand, and ear reflexology techniques to use on yourself at home in between sessions. Keep reading to learn more about reflexology, about upcoming self-care workshops.

What exactly is reflexology?

Reflexology is a nurturing touch technique that targets points on the feet, hands, and ears corresponding to specific body parts to promote wellness, relieve pain, and release tension. A unique touch technique called “thumb walking” is used to apply pressure within the client’s comfort zone. For example, if a client arrived at a session with neck pain and tension, the reflexologist would focus on points on the ears, hands, and feet that correspond to the neck. Several hypotheses exist as to how reflexology works to help the body achieve a more balanced state, but the leading theory is that reflexology works through the nervous system.

When I first began studying reflexology, most of the focus was on the feet, and to a lesser extent the hands, with only a slight focus on the ears. Continuing to study through the American Academy of Reflexology (the first school in the world to teach integrated foot/hand/ear reflexology), I began to learn an approach that changed how I viewed reflexology, and ultimately has lead to better results for clients. This integrated technique is unique in that it provides a system for which area (foot, hand, or ear) to prioritize and in what order to proceed to the next reflex areas.

The results can be fast, thorough, and lasting
A client was experiencing an intense back spasm that impacted her ability to take a full stride when walking. Using the integrated foot/hand/ear technique, the client would relax while areas corresponding to the back were reflexed, and then would walk around the room periodically to see if the pain reduced as her body adjusted throughout the session. Gradual improvement was noted after pressure was applied to each reflex area, and by the end of the session, the client said she was pain-free and walking comfortably. More than a year later, she is still pain-free. By working the feet, hands, and ears all in the same session, the results were fast, thorough, and lasting.

If one area cannot be reflexed, reflex somewhere else
Reflexology is a very gentle and safe technique, but there are a few instances when reflexology should not be used. For example, if someone has varicose veins or a skin condition such as athlete’s foot, their feet should not be reflexed. However, by using an integrated approach, a client can still experience the benefits of reflexology through hand and ear reflexology techniques.

The hands and ears may be easier than the feet to reflex on yourself
Sometimes, it may be difficult to reach your own feet to reflex them. This is one reason it is beneficial to schedule a reflexology session with a professional, but it is also another reason to learn self-care techniques that include the feet, hands, and ears so that if one area is difficult to reach another area can be reflexed instead. Mpath, LLC clients can choose for part of their reflexology session to include learning self-care techniques. Personalized handouts are developed to help you create your own wellness reflexology routine to use at home. Upcoming workshops will offer additional self-care tips.

Mountain Valley Lotus in Waterbury, VT will be hosting two reflexology self-care workshops in January, taught by Melanie Giangreco, NBCR:

Wednesday, January 9th, 5:00-7:00 p.m.:Reflexology for Relaxation and Stress Reduction.”
Cost: $20/person

Saturday, January 27th, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: World Reflexology Foundation Self-help Reflexology Workshop.” Cost: free. Donations are gratefully accepted with all proceeds directly supporting the World Reflexology Foundation’s mission of making it possible for everyone in the world to receive the healthful benefits of reflexology.

Pre-registration for both workshops are required as space is limited. Call (802) 560-4775 or email victoria@mtnvalleylotus.com to reserve your spot!

Note, both of these workshops are for self-care only, not for vocational purposes. To find professional reflexology training, visit the American Reflexology Certification Board or Reflexology Association of America.