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Reflexology or Reproflexology - What's the difference?

If you have ever been to a reflexology appointment with me, you will know that one of the first questions I ask is, “have you ever had reflexology before and what is your understanding of it?” I get many different responses to this question, but by far the most frequent replies are: “It’s a foot massage.” “You can tell me everything that’s wrong with my by touching my feet, right? Not exactly. Reflexologists never diagnose or claim to cure conditions, although we might sometimes suggest that you seek a medical opinion. What reflexologists are able to do, is support your mind and body to deeply relax, encouraging healing to occur naturally. Yes, we apply massage techniques to the feet or hands, but reflexology in all its forms is much more than that. As I currently offer two types of reflexology I thought I would write this blog post to explain the difference between them. Reflexology:

Reflexology has been around for thousands of years and there is evidence of it in the ancient civilisations of China, Japan, India and Africa. The oldest example of this is a drawing which was discovered on the walls of an Ancient Egyptian tomb showing an example of their version of reflexology. It is believed that the hieroglyphics around this picture read “Do not let it be painful,” to which the practitioner replies “I do it so you will praise it, King.”

Image of reflexology from the Physician's Tomb

Modern reflexology, in western society, was developed by Eunice Ingham who built upon ideas of zone therapy to create a map of the body on the feet, finding key pressure points for each organ. We still use her foot map for reflexology today. I trained in reflexology over 18 months in total completing more than 100 hours of practice treatments and studying in great detail the anatomy and physiology of all 12 systems of the human body. It was beyond fascinating! During a reflexology treatment I will work through every system of your body, by manipulating corresponding reflex points to clear any blockages, allowing energy to flow through these systems and enabling the body to begin to heal itself. Reflexologists see your feet as a reflection of you and your health and well-being. We look at colour, tone, temperature and any areas of dry skin amongst other things. We use this information to form a holistic picture of our clients. Reflexology can be useful to people with all sorts of conditions including stress, sleep issues, anxiety, headaches and migraines, digestive problems and recent research has shown it can even be helpful to cancer patients whilst having chemotherapy. Reflexology lowers cortisol levels, thus supporting the drug to work more effectively.

Reproflexology: When I trained to become a reflexologist, I knew from the start that I wanted to specialise in the support of couples trying to conceive, after my own positive experiences of reflexology and unexplained infertility. I was very fortunate to be able to access training with the wonderful Barbara Scott, who developed Reproflexology and my mind was blown! Her knowledge of the reproductive system and assisted conception in all its forms are second to none. I am now a proud member of the Association of Reproductive Reflexologists, also founded by Barbara, to ensure that I stay up to date with both research and medical advances in this field.

In Reproflexology we go right back to basics, looking at lifestyle choices and simple changes to be made, that can often be overlooked by a busy doctor. We look in depth at male and female fertility factors and initially create a bespoke plan, which includes regular reflexology treatments (ideally for both partners) to support couples to be at their peak physical fertile fitness for trying to conceive. We also use basal body temperature charting for women and semen analysis results for men to build a clear picture of a couples’ fertility.

The Reproflexology itself is tailored to meet the requirements of each individual, but has a set protocol for each stage of the process which works alongside the body’s own rhythms. It is a form of reflexology that is usually applied to the feet, but instead of working all 12 systems of the body it focuses more on the reproductive and endocrine systems.

For couples or individuals who are on the IVF and assisted conception path, I am also able to offer you support through very well timed and specific protocols, which work alongside the various drugs and procedures. Barbara spends a lot of her time working with the top medical professionals in assisted conception and so the knowledge she shares with her therapists is always up to date. Although Reproflexology is relatively new, the statistics that are emerging from research into its use so far are looking promising. The results below are from a study of 180 clients with an age range of 24-46 years. The clients had an average of 11.32 treatments.

After establishing a 68% success rate, the data was broken down to look at the effectiveness of Reproflexology and pregnancy rates in specific conditions. The conditions on these graphs are: Undiagnosed Infertility, Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Amenorrhoea, Sperm Motility Issues, Sperm Morphology, Ovarian Cysts, Progesterone Deficiency.

Reproflexology can also support women with other hormonal or reproductive issues, including perimenopause. So there you have it, a very brief overview of the support I can offer with reflexology. If you have any questions about any of the work I do please don’t hesitate to contact me.

This blog was first published on 13th January 2019. Since this time, I have trained in maternity reflexology, aroma therapy reflexology and eco therapy!

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