IS REFLEXOLOGY RELAXING?
AND OTHER QUESTIONS...

Reflexology has been used for healing and stress management for thousands of years, but if you’ve never tried it yourself, you might be wondering what it’s all about? Common questions we hear include: is it relaxing? Does it tickle? Is it painful?

To find out the answer to these questions, and get an insider perspective on what it’s all about, we sent out treatment tester, Eleanor Bruce, on a mission to find out.

Here’s what she had to say…

Eleanor Bruce

As this was my first reflexology appointment, I have to admit I was a bit uncertain about what to expect. People I know who’d had sessions told me how relaxing they found it, but I wasn’t completely convinced, mostly because I have extremely ticklish feet and thought having someone playing with them would simply be too distracting to also be relaxing. But I am happy to report I was completely wrong, I found the session incredibly soothing, so much so in fact that I had to force myself to stay awake so I could make notes for this blog. It also wasn’t at all ticklish, and definitely not painful.

I should say, it wasn’t just the actual reflexology that was so calming, it was the whole experience. I met with Jane who did my session, and before we got started, she explained a bit of the history behind reflexology, and also the mind-body ‘integration’ as she called it (i.e. that everything we think/feel impacts our body, and that the physical condition of our body actively affects our mental wellbeing). Knowing a bit of the background and scientific basis for the practice was really reassuring in itself, and Jane’s friendly, relaxed manner also helped. 

On top of that, the set-up was really soothing too, there was gentle music in the background (though it’s not compulsory) and Jane used homemade aromatherapy spray, which smelt divine, and helped to create a relaxing atmosphere. And all that was before she even got to my feet!

Getting Started

The first stage was having my feet cleaned in preparation for the session. This was relaxing in itself as the cooling sensation of the cloth and towel was a really nice balm of my feet, especially as we were experiencing a heatwave at the time! 

Next up, Jane performed a foot massage using a very soothing foot balm, which I loved. I could immediately feel a huge amount of tension and pressure release from my feet, and all up my legs. It felt wonderful, like a physical weight had been lifted from my achy legs and feet. 

This was quickly followed by a more intense stretch of foot manipulation, one foot at a time. I obviously don’t know the technical terms for what Jane was doing, but to me it felt like she was helping to move all the bones and joints in my foot, one by one, giving them the workout they so desperately needed. She gently stretched each toe, rotated and flexed the whole foot little by little, and each time I could feel more movement in the foot. It kind of felt like yoga, but just for my feet. 

All of this was just the warm-up, though, as Jane then began administering even more intensive techniques to massage and manipulate the foot. It wasn’t at all painful, though, it just felt really energising, yet relaxing at the same time. To be honest it was a completely unfamiliar sensation, that’s hard to describe, but it was definitely what my poor feet needed. 

The whole session finished off with yet another relaxing massage, and by the end of it my feet and legs felt fantastic. I’m sure I could actually feel the blood moving more freely through my body, and my lower limbs also felt a bit tingly, but in a good way. 

I actually found it a bit odd how relaxed my feet felt after the session, because I don’t walk much at the moment or put much pressure on my feet at all. If I was someone who was on my feet all day, I’d completely understand the relief I felt, but it didn’t really make sense for my lifestyle. That was, until Jane shared her feedback on what she’d discovered by working with my feet…

Using The Insights From Reflexology

While I absolutely adored the physical part of the session with Jane, I have to admit that the part that was most beneficial for me was actually the insights she was able to offer into my physical and emotional wellbeing. I hadn’t realised this was such a significant part of the practice, but it was very powerful. It also explained why the session had felt so good, because Jane wasn’t just working on my feet, she was treating my whole body, and my mind. 

Reflexologists use their skills to read the ‘reflexes’ (feet/hands/face) and use them as a gauge to help identify ‘problem zones’ for the individuals they treat. These may be physical ailments, or emotional/mental blockers. In my case Jane accurately identified a number of, mostly emotional, challenges I’m up against, and gave me some really valuable insights into what I can focus on to resolve some of the issues currently weighing on me. 

I have to confess I was completely surprised by the accuracy of Jane’s feedback, and that fact she could so easily pinpoint some of the things I’d been struggling with recently was exactly the wake-up call I needed to re-focus on my overall wellbeing. 

It was quite similar to the insights I got when I attended my osteopathy appointment. On both occasions, it made me realise that my body is desperately trying to send me messages about what it needs and how I can improve my health – physically and mentally – so I need to start listening.

Would I Recommend It?

In a word: yes. Personally I found the reflexology session incredibly relaxing, and most importantly, really gave me the motivation I needed to think more holistically about my body, mind, health, and wellbeing. I can definitely see the benefits of attending regularly. It’s not only a really great way to schedule in some ‘me time’, but having someone regularly checking in on my wellbeing, via my feet, would also help keep me on track and hopefully encourage me to find, and stick to, a better self-care routine. Something I certainly struggle to do at the moment. 

I also found that, for me, it was far more relaxing than an upper body massage, as it’s slightly less intimate, which I prefer. That said, I know some people don’t like having their feet touched. It’s quite a sensitive area for some, but as Jane pointed out you can get the same benefits of reflexology by having it done to your face or hands, so even if you’re not keen on the feet part, you can still get involved.

I’ve certainly benefited from the session, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing, full-body self-care routine. But it’s not a magic bullet, I know that now it’s up to me to apply all the valuable insight Jane has shared, and take the next steps to look after myself the way my body needs me to.

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