Reflexology is based on the principle that reflex points on the soles, tops, and sides of the feet correspond to different areas of the body. In this way, the feet can be seen as a ‘map’ of the body. By applying specialised massage techniques to specific reflex points - using the thumbs, fingers and knuckles – the aim of a reflexology treatment is to help restore balance to the body naturally, and improve the client’s general well-being.
Some therapists may also work reflex points on the hands, ears and face, however it is the feet that are most commonly treated in reflexology.
What to expect
Your therapist will start with a full consultation, asking various questions about your health and lifestyle, to ensure reflexology is right for you.
For the treatment itself you will remain fully clothed, simply removing your shoes and socks. You’ll be invited to relax on a reclining chair or treatment couch, or to put your feet up on a footstool. The therapist will gently cleanse your feet before applying a fine powder, cream of oil, to help provide a free-flowing treatment, and then start gently massaging and stretching your feet and ankles.
As the treatment progresses, a variety of different reflexology techniques will be used to ‘work’ the reflex points on each foot, including a caterpillar-like movement called ‘thumb walking’. The areas treated and pressure applied will be adapted to suit your individual needs.
Treatment generally lasts for 45 minutes to an hour, though shorter reflexology sessions may be more appropriate in some instances.
Benefits of reflexology
Reflexology can help to relieve anxiety and tension, encourage relaxation, improve mood and aid sleep, though some people use it to help them cope with more specific health challenges. Reflexology is often used alongside conventional care in hospices, hospitals and other healthcare settings, to help support patients with a variety of conditions.
Reflexology should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult a GP or other health professional for medical attention and advice.
Choosing a therapist
It is important to choose a qualified therapist who has undertaken the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of this particular therapy.
In order for a qualification to be accepted for FHT membership and to the FHT Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register, it must meet the following criteria:
Skills for Health National Occupational Standards:
- CNH1 Explore and establish the client’s needs for complementary and natural healthcare
- CNH2 Develop and agree plans for complementary and natural healthcare with clients
- CNH11 Provide Reflexology to clients
(N.B. We cannot publish a copy of this document due to copyright laws. The document is available for purchase through the link provided on the Reflexology Forum website.)
Practical led and observed training to Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 3 equivalent or above in Reflexology. This will ensure the course is mapped to the above standards.
By choosing a reflexologist who is an FHT member, you can be confident that they are professionally trained, qualified and insured. They will also be listed on our Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register, as reflexology is considered a form of complementary healthcare.