Most of the time when using The Shakti® Mat, we are triggering acupressure points and are thus experiencing a generalized acupressure treatment. When standing on the mats, however, we are now activating reflexology points. So what is reflexology?
Like most complementary therapies, reflexology is believed to have its roots in the ancient civilizations: Egypt, China, Africa and the native Indian tribes of America. Although acupuncture appeared to take over Asia, evidence that several parts of central Europe in the 16th century were practicing pressure methods on hands and feet.
In 1913 Dr William Fitzgerald introduced this therapy to the West as ‘zone therapy’. In the 1930s Eunice Ingham developed zone therapy into what is now known as reflexology.
Reflexology is a way of helping the body to maintain its balance, with all components working in harmony. Keeping this balance is a constantly changing, shifting, dynamic process which takes place every second of your existence without you even being aware of it.
A high percentage of today’s diseases are related to stress and tension, and the body systems are all affected in various ways. Every person reacts to stress in different ways and it is unavoidable fact of life. What matters is how we manage it, which is key to whether or not we are controlled by it or welcome it as a means to grow and evolve.
Research** has shown that reflexology DOES have a therapeutic effect on health. Exactly HOW it works and produces this effect, however, is not clear. There have been many advances toward understanding how reflexology works, but no substantiated theory has emerged.
Here are a few current theories underpinning our present understanding of how reflexology influences healing:
1. Meridian Theory : This is based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine understanding of energy channels throughout the body called Xi (pronounce "chi"). Dis-ease, stress and pain can cause imbalances in the Xi, including excessive or inadequate Xi or stagnation.
Reflexology helps to re-balance the Xi by unblocking, stimulating or sedating the energy flow.
2. The Nervous System Theory : There are approximately 7,200 nerve endings in the feet. All nerve endings originate from the spinal cord, thus connecting all areas of the body to each other through this neural pathway. It is thought that pressure applied to these nerve endings directly affects the nervous system along with different areas of the body via this connection through the spinal cord.
3. The Relaxation Effect of Treatment : Reflexology induces a relaxation response, which calms the mind, emotions and the body, creating an enhanced healing environment for reducing and relieving stress. This in turn helps prevent or alleviate illness triggered by stress. Studies have proven that eliciting the relaxation response can help relieve many chronic medical conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety and migraines, to name a few.
4. The Placebo Effect : The nature of the interactions between people and their healthcare practitioners as well as their belief in the success of their efforts and/or treatment can influence each person's personal outcomes positively.
Whatever the mechanism, the effects from an acupressure or reflexology treatment, whether by a practitioner or via acupressure mats, can be experienced and will speak for themselves!
Try it out and experience the relief these amazing treatments bring!
** Reflexology researchRevisiting reflexology: Concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training