July 23, 2008

Reflexology Means Healing Feet First

By Nick Sortal, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Jul. 23--Reflexology has been around for about 5,000 years, but it hasn't filtered into the public's consciousness as much as, say, yoga or meditation.

But, like these practices, it's about helping people tap their own curative powers, rather than relying on medicine. The practice centers on accessing the nervous system via the feet.

Reflexologists must be certified by an accredited reflexology school, such as the Laura Norman School of Reflexology in Delray Beach, or the International Institute of Reflexology in St. Petersburg.

For those considering dipping their toes into it, reflexologist Rick Aselton of talks basics:

Q. What is reflexology?

A. The foot is a microcosm of the whole body. There are specific points on the feet representing every organ, gland and bone in the body. These points are connected by the 73,000-plus nerve endings in the feet. So, reflexology works with the nervous system to help the body to heal itself.

Q. How does it help?

A. Reflexology deeply relaxes and "re-sets" the nervous system. This balancing of the system eliminates tension, allowing the body to heal itself. Blood is oxygenated, circulation increases, and toxins are flushed from the cells. Additionally, energy flows more naturally. As a result, a lingering revitalized effect is felt well after a session. It is important to remember that reflexology is a therapy and the effects increase with frequent use.

Q. Who does reflexology help?

A. Men and women respond very well to reflexology. However, men tend to go even deeper. My conclusion is that men aren't allowed, or don't allow themselves to relax in the world. There's always a state of keeping up a strong front or never letting them see you sweat. Women, on the other hand, are allowed to let it out. As a result, men usually end up snoring on the table. That's a good thing!

Q. Why is it centered on feet?

A. Reflexology can be done on other parts of the body. However, the feet have a high concentration of nerve endings and are large enough to work on well. Also, the feet are a reflective microcosm of the entire body.

Q. Why don't people hear more about it?

A. Reflexology is very widely used in many parts of the world. In England, it's common to see a reflexologist for "what ails you." I think, in the past, many who wanted to become a reflexologist were deterred because they also had to be licensed massage therapists, although the fields are not closely related.

Q. Why do you like being a reflexologist?

A. I love the effect it has on my clients. Oftentimes, they come in filled with tension and an ailment, and leave with a sense of deep peace and an improved condition. Many clients express that they don't just have a session, but that they had an experience. I love that.

Nick Sortal can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4725.


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