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When a new clinic specializing in reflexology opened up in our neighborhood recently, my curiosity was naturally piqued.  As a pharmacist, I've embraced the integration of traditional and alternative approaches to health as a sound way to gain optimal health so I'm open to what some people would call 'new age' practices like reflexology.

Reflexology is an alternative therapy that focuses on the feet.  The theory is that zones and reflex areas on the feet (and hands) relate to specific organs and areas of the body. For example, the tips of the toes correspond to the head, the ball of the foot is connected to the heart and chest, and the heel of the foot with the lower back and intestines.  Applying pressure to these areas is a way to promote health and circulation as well as send messages to the central nervous system (CNS), which tells the body to lower tension levels by releasing endorphins and thus reduce stress.

Reflexology has become a popular complement to traditional medicine especially in the areas of cancer treatment and post-operative care.  Although not meant to treat diseases, reflexology can be used to promote overall healing and to improve stress-related conditions such as tension headaches and digestive problems.  Reflexology can also help to reduce the stress that wears down our immune system, making us better able to fight off colds and flus that seem all too common nowadays.

A typical reflexology session lasts anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Other than removing shoes and socks, you remain fully clothed and either seated in a reclining chair or on a massage table. The practitioner applies firm but gentle pressure to different areas of the feet.  If any areas are sore or if you experience any discomfort, the reflexologist will adjust the treatment to a more comfortable level.  Individual experiences vary during reflexology but may include deep relaxation, a feeling of energy flowing through the body, a "looseness" of muscles and even an overwhelming need to sleep!

Have you tried reflexology? I'd love to hear about your experience.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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