By Walter Last
Reflexology is excellent for self-treatment and even for diagnosis. Envisage the body divided into 10 vertical segments or zones, five on each side. Each finger and toe belongs to one of these zones. A diseased body part will show up as a sore spot in the same segment of the foot or hand. From this the alternative name 'zone therapy' is derived. Usually the feet are more sensitive and, therefore, more suitable for reflex diagnosis and treatment than the hands. In addition the ears, like the irises, contain a reflex map of the body. (We may even assume that every organ and every single cell contains a holistic reflex map of the whole organism.)
In addition, there is a reflex connection between related parts of the legs and arms. A sore knee, for example, may be relieved by pressure on the corresponding location on the elbow on the same side of the body. In a similar way, corresponding locations on the wrist and ankle, and on the hip and shoulder, influence each other. This is especially useful to know when dealing with broken or otherwise injured limbs that do not permit direct treatment.
Press the soles, the toes and the sides of the feet with a knuckle, a thumb or - if the feet are not very sensitive - with a blunt probe. Overweight people and those with poor circulation usually need quite strong pressure, which must be exactly on the correct spot. However, if the lack of sensitivity is due to nerve damage, then it would be better to try and improve this condition first, as with strong sustained pressure under the back of the skull on both sides of the spine and providing any missing nerve vitamins (e.g. B1, B6, B12, folic acid).
Press the selected area in a slow circular motion until you find the exact location. Generally, the pressure should be straight down, but for the thyroid area it should be applied from the side, trying to press underneath the ball of the big toe.
Adjust the pressure to the general sensitivity of the foot. If the body is very sensitive, all foot reflexes will be extremely tender; therefore try with light pressure to locate only the most painful areas. You may mark the encountered tender spots on an examination chart, using different markings according to the extent of tenderness encountered. Concentrate later treatment on the most painful areas. The results will be better if you have someone other than yourself check your feet.
Methods of Treatment
The easiest and most common form of treatment is to apply pressure on sore points with the pad of a finger, the thumb, with a knuckle or with a blunt instrument (for example, the blunt end of a pencil or a pen). If it is quite sore, press straight down, with only light pressure at first. Gradually increase the pressure as the pain lessens. Finally, when even strong pressure can be tolerated, you may apply the pressure in a slow circular motion in order to relax the deeper muscles and ligaments. For self-treatment underneath the feet, it will usually be more convenient to press or roll the sore points on a golf ball, a stone or another suitable object. To press reflex areas in the palms of the hands, it is usually more convenient to use a knuckle or a suitable blunt instrument than the pad of the thumb.
Usually, the pain begins to subside after a few minutes of pressing. If this happens, increase the pressure for a while, but if the pain instead increases, stop the treatment. The effect on related body parts can be surprisingly quick: pain in the ears, shoulders or back often disappears within minutes.
If there is a serious or acute problem, use reflexology several times a day. However, this treatment may stimulate a chronically weak organ to increased activity and it may become tender for a while together with its reflex areas. Generally, deep, strong and slow pressure is sedating and pain relieving, while light, quick tapping or circling is stimulating. Select whichever is appropriate. For some points a so-called C-clamp is effective: press with the thumb from underneath the foot and with the index finger from the top. This may be used for the liver, spleen and thymus.
Another method of applying pressure to fingers and toes is to put tight rubber bands around them or to use clothes pegs to clamp the digits. Rubber bands should never be left on for more than a few minutes at a time. In addition, you may firmly grasp a metal comb, pressing its teeth into the palm or the fingers. A metal comb or a brush may also be used to sweep the backs of the hands and lower arms up to the elbows in quick upward strokes. Five minutes of this will stimulate the circulation and invigorate the body.
Further effective areas for treatment are the tongue, the -inside wall of the mouth, especially the palate (top), under the tongue and the back of the mouth (pharynx). You may press with the pad of a finger or thumb or use a suitable instrument. Pressure on the tongue may be applied by biting or pressing with the handle of a spoon. This is effective for treating problems in other areas of the body belonging to the same zone.
In addition, the tongue may be pulled out for several minutes by grasping it with a cloth and moving it around. Alternatively, you may poke it out as far as possible and hold it in place with your teeth. You may also work around the angles of the jaw and chin. Because of the sensitivity of the mouth, this treatment is often more effective than hand and foot reflexology, especially for all problems related to the head and throat.
Important Areas to Treat
The foot and hand charts will give you a good indication of where to find suitable points for treating specific complaints. For best results work on all the major reflex areas: hands, feet, ears and mouth. Always treat in the same zone in which the problem arises. Your left inner ear, for example is in zone 4. Therefore, to treat it you will manipulate the left ring finger the third toe including its root on the left side, the ear points of the left ear and the outer left side of the tongue and palate.
Work frequently around the joints of fingers and toes, especially digging underneath the lowest joints of the thumbs and big toes. Rubber bands or clothes pegs may be placed for five to 10 minutes on the tips of the digits, or on or between the joints, depending on where there is more sensitivity. Lymph drainage can be improved by press-massaging the area of the upper chest on top of the feet just below the toes.
Generally, treat a sensitive area for five to 10 minutes at a time. For an acute problem, you may treat it several times daily, while chronic problems may be treated once a day. For general health improvement you may select a different area each day until you return to the same area after one or two weeks. This process may continue for years, as formerly weak areas become activated and cause increased sensitivity in their corresponding reflex areas. Walking barefoot on rough ground provides a natural foot massage - make good use of it.
For general health improvement and regeneration work frequently on the brain, especially the pituitary gland, the pineal gland, the hypothalamus and the medulla (oblongata). The pituitary reflex often feels like a sharp bone protrusion; press it in the direction of the tip of the toe. The hypothalamus and medulla are pressed from the insides of the big toes. For general health improvement it is best to start with activating these parts of the brain and then continue with the other glands and organs.
In the system of Body Electronics as developed by Dr John Whitman Ray it is recommended to work in a certain sequence for regenerating the body. Start with the so-called STO-point: press into the valley between the muscles from both sides of the spine and then up under the skull (occiput). This is to improve the nerve transmission to all parts of the body.
Then start working on points in the following order: pineal gland, hypothalamus, pituitary, medulla, thyroid, thymus, heart, solar plexus, pancreas, adrenals, spleen, gonads (uterus, ovaries, prostate, testicles), liver, kidneys, gall bladder, bladder, small intestine, large intestine.