Reflexology, your questions answered

What is reflexology? How does it work? What happens in a reflexology session? What conditions can reflexology help with? Here are my answers to the most commonly asked questions about reflexology.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone leave after a reflexology session looking like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Reflexology is a wonderful stressbuster and is well known to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and even ease pain. From boosting the immune system to relieving constipation, reflexology can help.

For those of you less familiar with reflexology or who want to know more, here are my answers to the most frequently asked questions. If there’s anything you’d like to know about that I haven’t covered here, I’m just a call away on 07974 472137 or you can email me at info@meadowthrapies.com.

What is reflexology?

Reflexology originates from Asia with its roots dating back thousands of years. During a treatment, the therapist uses her fingers and thumbs to massage and apply gentle pressure to different areas of the feet or hands.

Reflexology is a complementary therapy, that is to say, it is a therapy that can be used alongside conventional medicine.

It is not used to diagnose illnesses or conditions and I would never recommend you use reflexology instead of conventional medical treatments.

Reflexology is best known for promoting relaxation, improving sleep and blood circulation, and providing a general feeling of well-being but the benefits go way deeper than this.

How does reflexology work?

There are several theories as to how reflexology works and more research is needed. However, it is now widely accepted within the medical profession that it is of great benefit and is commonly offered as a complementary therapy to cancer patients, for example, to run alongside conventional medical treatments.

One theory is that reflexology works by stimulating your nervous system, a complex network that allows the different parts of your body including your brain, organs, and glands to communicate with each other. There are thousands of nerve endings in your feet and hands which communicate with every part of you. The gentle pressure applied during Reflexology to these nerve endings is very relaxing, which promotes well-being.

Another theory is that as in Tai Chi, QiGong and Reiki, reflexology is believed to work with the energy (Chi, Qi, or Ki) flowing through your body. Stress causes blockages in this energy flow and tension in the muscles. Treatments including reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture and Reiki all work to relieve blockages in the energy flow, bringing the body back into balance and thereby promoting the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Muscle tension may also be relieved, and endorphins released. This promotes a feeling of well-being and helps relieve pain.

What health conditions can reflexology help with?

Reflexology is best known for promoting relaxation, improving sleep and blood circulation, and providing a general feeling of well-being. While there are no guarantees, there are many more conditions that reflexology can help with.

The most common benefits my clients have told me about include improved sleep and relaxation and reduced anxiety, all of which promote physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Other feedback includes significant relief in sciatic pain and headaches, improved confidence, a more calm, balanced and creative approach to problem-solving at work, and the promotion of mindfulness and spiritual well-being.

Can a reflexologist diagnose my ailments?

No, reflexology isn’t used to diagnose conditions, but it can be of great benefit once a condition has been diagnosed. If you are feeling unwell or are concerned about any physical or mental condition you should always speak to a medically trained practitioner.

How often should I have Reflexology?

If your mean aim for having reflexology is for general relaxation and preventative purposes, then I would recommend fortnightly or monthly sessions.

However, if you are seeking help with a particular condition, a period of weekly sessions may be recommended, commonly three to eight sessions, followed by monthly maintenance sessions.

However, the frequency of treatments is entirely up to you. It might be once a week, once a month or simply whenever you feel the occasional session would do you good.

Keep in mind though that reflexology sessions should be at least six days apart. If you feel you need more support, you might benefit from a Reiki session between reflexology sessions.

What happens during a reflexology treatment?

If it is your first appointment, we will start with a discussion about your general health and lifestyle, and I will ask you to complete a short questionnaire. This helps me better understand your needs and tailor the session to you personally.

You will remove your shoes (and socks if you are wearing any). It is advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothing so that you can lie on your back comfortably on my treatment couch or reclining chair. You should not wear close-fitting trousers as I will usually need access to your ankles and the lower part of your calves, as well as your feet.

If you wish, you can lie under a blanket or two and in colder months I also use a heated under blanket on my treatment couch which my clients find very nurturing and relaxing.

I can provide a bolster cushion to go under your knees (I have a variety of sizes) which you may find more comfortable especially if like me you have an arched back. If you do not think you will be comfortable lying on your back for up to an hour, please do let me know in advance so that I can set up my reclining chair instead of the couch.

To help you relax, the lighting will be dim with gentle music playing. I will also offer you a weighted eye pillow which promotes deeper relaxation.

I occasionally burn an incense stick in my studio. Please do let me know in advance if you have any allergies to fragrances or simply would prefer it if I did not.

I will then wash your feet before starting a warm-up massage. The massage helps relax the muscles of the foot before I start the reflexology treatment. During the treatment, I will apply gentle pressure to different areas of first one foot and then the other. Please do let me know if you would like firmer or softer pressure. During the treatment, it is important that you tell me if any area is tender.

To finish off, I will massage your foot again before starting to work with your other foot.

While reflexology is not the same as a massage, a reflexology session always starts and ends with a foot (or hand) massage which improves circulation and warms up the muscles before the reflexology treatment begins.

How long does a reflexology treatment last?

The treatment lasts 45 minutes, however, your appointment will be for 1 hour and 15 minutes to allow for the initial consultation before the treatment and a relaxation period afterwards.

How much does a reflexology treatment cost?

The usual price for reflexology is between £30 and £70, depending on, among other things, how long the treatment lasts, where the therapist is based and how experienced the therapist is.

What should I do before a reflexology treatment?

Before a reflexology treatment, you should drink plenty of water, and avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine.

What should I do after a reflexology treatment?

Afterwards, you should also avoid heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol and drink plenty of water. This helps flush out any toxins that have been released. You may find you need to go to the toilet more frequently afterwards too.

It is also recommended that you take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid heavy exercise.

So, try to plan a relaxing rest of your day following your treatment.

This has yet to happen to one of my clients but I’m told that very occasionally, someone may have a healing reaction where they feel worse for a while before feeling better. They may have a headache, for example, but drinking plenty of water does help avoid this. They may feel tired and/or more emotional. This is all part of the healing process but please do let me know if this happens to you.

Why do you ask me to bring my own towels?

For most complimentary therapists laundry is a big expense as they have to change towels etc for every client. I ask my clients to provide their own, clean towels (one to go under their head and one for their feet) to help keep my charges down making my treatments more affordable.

Can anyone have reflexology?

Sadly, no. Certain conditions exclude some people from reflexology. Most notably, I am not qualified to treat pregnant women. If you think you may be pregnant you should only visit a reflexologist specifically trained in this specialist area.

People with foot fractures, unhealed wounds, or active gout in the foot should avoid reflexology. People with osteoarthritis that impacts the foot or ankle, or those with vascular disease of the legs or feet, should consult with their primary provider prior to beginning reflexology on the feet. You can, however, still get reflexology treatment on your hands if these are unaffected.

You should also consult your doctor if you have any of the following conditions before booking an appointment. If your doctor is happy for you to proceed, please let me know before attending your appointment by emailing info@meadowtherapies.com.

  • Thrombosis
  • Heart disease or disorders
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Skin disorders
  • Stroke
  • Allergies
  • Undiagnosed lumps
  • Cancer (if currently receiving radiotherapy or chemo)
  • Fractures or sprains
  • Skeletal disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Muscular conditions
  • Nervous conditions
  • Respiratory conditions e.g severe asthma
  • HIV
  • Disorders of your hands, feet, nails,
  • Recent operations or any other condition you would like me to be aware of.

What qualifications and insurance do you have?

Before booking reflexology you should always check that your therapist is both qualified and insured. I have a VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Reflexology (QCF) and I am insured to give reflexology treatments via Balens.

Where in Bognor Regis is Meadow Therapies located?

My therapy room is in my home in the village of Nyetimber in Pagham on the outskirts of Bognor Regis.

Is there free parking?

Yes. My house and home studio are set back from the road by a small green. There is a small parking bay by the green and further street parking just a minute’s walk away.

Can I get to Meadow Therapies by public transport?

The 600 bus runs between Chichester and Bognor Regis/Elmer via Nyetimber. The Nyetimber Lane bus stop is about a five-minute walk.

Is Meadow Therapies wheelchair friendly?

Sadly, no. And I apologise for this.

Can you do Reiki home visits?

Yes, I have a portable and very comfortable reclining chair that I can bring to you for Reiki home visits in Pagham, Lagness, Bognor Regis, Bersted, and Felpham or further afield on request.

How do I book an appointment?

The easiest way is to book online via my website where you can see what availability I have but if you prefer you can just give me a call on 07974 472137.

Free Consultation (also known as a friendly chat)

If you are not sure if reflexology is right for you or if you have any questions or concerns, please do call me on 07974 472137 for a chat.

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