Exploring Energy Medicine: Reflexology
By Kirsten Antony, R.N. ~
The universe is governed by balance. Everything living seeks balance and homeostasis to sustain life. The human body seeks this harmony through the regulation of our energy, what some refer to as Qi, or life force energy. Our bodies are truly a miracle- we are light and energy dancing to frequencies which are always flowing and forming into new cells. Sometimes our energy gets “stuck” manifesting as illness. By moving energy blockages and balancing the flow of energy, the body can be restored into homeostasis. This is the goal of energy medicine. Along with Reflexology, Acupressure, Acupuncture, Acutonics, Jin Shin Jysutsu, Emotional Freedom Technique and Qigong are a few practices of energy medicine that strive for balance through manipulating specific points and channels of energy which exist all over the body.
Many accredit Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as the origin of many energy medicine techniques. However, evidence of these healing traditions originate from all over the world and seems to be much older than once thought. In 1991, mummified remains of a man, who is now known as “Otzi”, was discovered in Europe. His body had unusual markings tattooed to certain areas of his body. It was found that these markings correlated with accurate and therapeutic acupoints which are used today in energy medicine. These areas also correlated with evidence of the points being used to treat corresponding illnesses. “Otzi the Iceman” is carbon dated to 3200 BC., thousands of years before the earliest known TCM texts. The practice of energy medicine seems to be far older than any known text and we again are currently rediscovering its true power.
Western medicine has historically attributed the effectiveness of these practices through the body’s release of endorphins. Recent evidence supports that the physical medium that holds these lines and points of energy is the fascia network. Fascia is the fibrous tissue that covers muscles, nerves, and blood vessels, binding some structures together and separating others. The fascia has been found to be piezoelectric. The physical field of the fascia is electric, generating information and is moving at various frequencies. Our bodies are comprised of vibrations that appear to be solid, but in fact, all that we are is in constant motion and change. The body’s intelligent force known as Qi flows through our energy anatomy through the fascia and is identified with 12 meridians and hundreds of acupoints located all over the body. By tapping into this energy anatomy, we can help to regulate our energy and aim towards wellness.
In Reflexology, the feet, hands and ears are seen as the microcosm of the macrocosm which represents the entire body, inside and out. A reflexologist applies pressure to certain areas to dislodge blockages by using certain therapeutic techniques using their hands and fingers. The areas of congestion are bits of waste material such as uric acid or calcium crystals that can accumulate at the bottom of the feet. Using a reflexology “map” of the body, a reflexologist can ascertain where there may be an imbalance in the body and use techniques to remove the blockage. If there are areas of congestion on the feet, applying pressure may be uncomfortable at first, but a reflexology session in its totality should be a deeply relaxing experience.
The practice of reflexology seems to be older than the hills. However, the practice was modernized in the early 1900’s. Dr. William Fitzgerald founded the study of zone therapy and Eunice Ingham developed the theories of mapping the feet into certain therapeutic areas that mirror organs and other areas of the body. By applying the concepts of zone therapy and hand/foot mapping, a reflexologist can work reflex points to relax the entire body and help bring about a healing response.
In understanding the “mapping” of the feet, the top of the feet generally represent the top of the body and mirrors many areas anatomically down to the bottom of the foot. A reflex point I like to work with is known as the Solar Plexus, Bubbling Spring, or Kidney 1. This point is midline of the foot (on both feet) directly under the metatarsals. When pressure is applied, it connects us with the Earth, calms us and keeps us grounded. It is also known as Kidney 1 which as a water element point, helping to nourish the body.
The practice of reflexology is for everyone! It is wonderful to practice on yourself as self-care or on loved ones as it encourages a wonderful, caring bond. Of course, it is more relaxing to seek the attention of reflexologist as you would obtain a deeper relaxation response in the hands of a professional therapist. If you would like to practice on yourself or others, you just need a pair of strong hands, know-how of the reflex points, a relaxing environment and your own intuitive abilities. Reflexology has numerous health benefits. Benefits of reflexology may include: relaxation, pain reduction, amelioration of symptoms of health concerns, rejuvenation of tired feet, improvement of blood flow, benefits of post-operative recovery and pain reduction, and adjunct to mental health care.
There are contraindications to be aware of in the practice of reflexology. Those with foot injuries, open wounds, blood clots, pregnancy and certain painful conditions to the feet may need to make modifications due to your health condition.
As a foot care nurse and practicing as a reflexologist for over the past two decades, I can attest to the importance of caring for the feet. The condition of the feet can give signal to many different ailments in the body that can express through the skin, nails and nervous and circulatory system. Please take time to examine your feet as often as you can, take time for self-care and put your best foot forward!
This content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Holistic Health Care Practitioner. She offers in-home services of foot care, reflexology, sound healing and other modalities to those in the Denver Metro Area. For more information please visit: www.kirstenantony.net or www.facebook.com/soultosoleholistichealthcare or call 303-668-8992.