The Complete Idiots Guide to Acupuncture & Acupressure (Idiots Guides)

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The main thing I have noticed is that I sometimes fall into a euphoric sleep when I am receiving a reflexology session. On the other hand, during my zone therapy sessions I have literally lost what felt like pounds of sweat! The difference is in the administration. You could say that the zone therapy sessions are more "active.

Don't be afraid to jearch for your ideal practitioner! I have always sat in a chair for the zone therapy sessions, but we're not talking a plush, lay back and relax chair. Actually, I have had my zone therapy sessions while sitting on an old, hard, cold, orange vinyl chair. Most of the time though, shortly after the therapist began working on me, I never even noticed what I was sitting on. The zone therapist worked deeply on my foot and lower leg using his knuckles as tools to dig into my reflex points. The therapy was applied very quickly and vigorously.

The session was so vigorous that I broke a sweat in response to the healing and increased circulation that it brought to my body. The hurt-so-good feeling was so intense that I literally had to brace myself so that I didn't kick my therapist! This is not to say that I wasn't enjoying myself.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Acupuncture and Acupressure

Everyone has their own level of pain tolerance, as we will discuss in more depth later. I happen to be a person who likes particularly deep work. Deep work is not for everyone though, and generally I have to search to find a reflexologist willing to go as deep as I need. If you are receiving a treatment that is too deep for you, don't be afraid to tell your therapist to back off and be more gentle.

Page 9 In contrast to my zone therapy sessions, my reflexology sessions usually take place while I am lying down under warm blankets on a cushy massage table with soft music playing in the background. This situation feels much more gentle and pampering. I enjoyed — and still enjoy — both therapies immensely.

And besides, after receiving either session, I feel good, refreshed, and invigorated. So although the two therapists called their practices by different names, had different approaches, and supplied different environments for the actual session, they both still worked the same parts and the overall effects were similar for my body.

The Toe Bone's Connected to What? Take another look at the zone therapy model. You can see how the outside of your feet represent the outer rims of your body, such as the thighs, hips, shoulders, and each side of your head. Conversely, the insides of the feet represent the middle zones of your body, such as the bladder, spine, and digestive organs on up to the nose. Another way to see the body mapped out on the feet is to superimpose the entire body over the sole of the foot.

In the following figure you can see how the feet are associated with the parts of the body, from the head area on down to the lower bowel. The spinal column reflex area actually runs along the instep, so for some mental gymnastics try to imagine our figure superimposed sideways, too. An easy way to visualize the general reflex areas on the foot. Page 10 Now that you've learned about zones and reflex points, you can get a general idea of how affecting energy in one place can influence another.

Just think of those zones as the overall map of electricity running up and down the body on a consistent basis. We will get into the actual foot and hand maps that correspond to specific organs and how you can use them, in future chapters. Many people think that letting someone touch their feet will tickle. Understandable, since many of us had playful dads who held our ankles and tickled our feet unmercifully while giggling "koochey, koochey, koo!

To be effective, reflexology should be a fairly firm, deep pressure applied to the feet and hands. The pressure is administered slowly to avoid discomfort. The deeper you go the slower you must apply pressure. Steady, flowing techniques are used. If anything, people feel tenderness rather than ticklishness in the feet with reflexology. The tenderness is a kind of hurts-so-good feeling, like when you press gently on a bruised area.

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Foot Note I can't teil you how many wiw. The husbands were embarrassed because they thought thfy would be tickled and have to jump about and embarrass themielveiJ Well, I have not had one client who has felt ti'ekfed by my sessions. Reflexology works by applying pressure to certain parts of the feet and hands, which stimulates the corresponding organs. Wherever you find "tender" areas, these are the clues that the corresponding organs are sluggish.

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The tender spots on the feet and hands are the areas that actually need the most work. Reflexology points may be tender because at any given time we have a certain amount of toxins flowing throughout our bodies. These toxins are things like cellular waste products, uric acid, pesticide residues, and other chemicals that the body cannot or has not eliminated. Avoid Fntake of these excess nasties by purchasing a water filter for your drinking water. Reverse osmosis water, rn my opinion, is the cleanest, tastiest, and healthiest water for drinking, but a carbon filter h still a helpful and simple way to filter water.

Toxic residues can linger inside us, sometimes indefinitely. Frequently, these toxins can settle along certain zones and cause interference with the energy flow to the rest of the organs along the zone pathways. Walking on Pins and Needles Have you heard the phrase "gravity sucks"? Well, figuratively speaking, it's true. Since most of us are either on our feet or have our feet lower than our heads most of the time, these toxic waste materials can settle at the end of our nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet. These nice little deposits are what I call "crunchies.

Once these crystals are broken up they can be carried off by the blood stream and eliminated through our natural elimination channels. You may experience a burning or even a poking sensation when these crunchies are breaking up. The good news is that the discomfort should subside almost as fast as it came. Breaking up these toxic settlements and allowing the body to eliminate them will help to restore proper energy flow to the zones and will remove excess waste from the body, leaving you feeling refreshed and more vibrant. Up to Your Ankles in Natural Health.

Many countries have never gotten away from the use of natural health care. For some reason, though, America went for a ride, swinging from natural health care to medical science, and now we are coming back to natural health again, but with a more balanced view. Why are we going back to these ancient, healing, natural therapies? My personal belief, which is shared by many natural health practitioners, is that health is truly a natural way of being, and it is only unnatural things that alter it.

The body and its cells have an innate intelligence. Every day our heart continues to beat, we breathe, digest foods, eliminate waste, all without conscious effort! The body is an absolute miracle, and it knows what to do to be healthy and stay balanced. How does the body get out of balance? The brick fs finding out where you are out of balance and using natural therapies to even the sea Fes. Natural bafance cannot be forced because it has fts own unique and temperamental formula.

The opportunity for true healing must not be forced, ft must be offered. These are all unnatural things that add to the imbalance of our body. Our poor bodies work so hard to keep us going in spite of all these "speed bumps" we challenge it with. If we give our body the opportunity to heal itself, then it will do a tremendous job for us to do just that. The resurgence of natural health practices and their acceptance as normal, sensible therapies reflect our overall understanding and awareness that nature has laws and she also has cures. We should not continue to violate these simple laws, by doing things like eating processed, denatured foods, for example, and expect to have strong bodies.

Think of all the thrngs that would" foil to exist wfthout ft See that everything on earth makes a difference, no matter how small or large. Nature is a teacher. We need to stop, feel, and observe how nature works in order to understand the purpose in our lives and gain holistic insights into the world and beyond.

Reflexology is becoming a popular therapy again at least in part because we are tired of trying to drug ourselves back to health. Somehow we have finally figured out that the Page 13 key to whole health cannot be found through a magic pill. We are realizing that stress-reduction skills, good relationships, exercise, organic whole foods and clean water, fresh air, sunshine, herbs, and bodywork are all part of a fine recipe for robust health and preventative maintenance.

The Sole Meaning Holistic is a terni used to describe a way of riving, practicing, or thfiikfrig that! Jn hoJistie health, a practitioner wil! We are changing as a people and our thoughts about old age are changing. I remember when I was little I thought that everyone lost their teeth, their hair, hearing, and eyesight when they got "old. Now I know better, and so do most of you. With a little bit of awareness we are all changing the face of old age.

We are becoming holistic. My hope is that someday we will not have such a demand for nursing homes because the elderly will live stronger longer. If we can keep ourselves out of situations where we need to be cared for by someone else just by using safe, effective, natural health therapies, then why not? As a society, I see us really getting back into "wholism," hence the catchy phrase holistic health, although you'll have to supply the missing "w" for yourself.

The Whole Philosophy on Herbs Anyway, as I was saying before, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This goes for everything I can think of, including natural therapies. For instance, herbs can serve as foods and medicines. Herbs and nutrition are a part of getting well and are essential to helping reflexology maintain long-lasting effects.

For instance, many herbalists believe that rose hips, used as an herb rich in vitamin C, have a faster and better effect on a cold than a plain extracted vitamin C pill. I am an advocate of vitamin C, don't get me wrong, but my fundamental beliefs rest in wholism. Herbalists believe that the other natural components phy to- chemicals in the whole rose hip enhance the effectiveness of the vitamin C in our body.

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Since you can't patent a plant, the pharmaceutical industry has to try to synthetically reproduce or extract some of the healing components in many plants. This extraction, coupled with specialists Page 14 who work with diseased organs rather than the whole body, illustrates how our perceptions of health and our bodies have been distorted. We think that the parts are more valuable than the whole. If this were truly the case, Macmillan might have tried to sign a contract only with my fingers to write this book! But the body works as a whole, and it should be treated as a whole.

When dealing with reflexology we are not just working on the feet, we are influencing the entire body, mind, and spirit. Foot Note If man didn't take part in creating the universe, then I realty don't believe that man can make better m-edicine than nature. How do we know that when we take a vftamin piil there if not iome missing component that hat to be synthesized by our own body in order for our body to effectively utilize the vitamin? Wouldn't you rather 1 get the whole part to strengthen you instead of making your body work even harder became of what you feed it?

Reflexology goes hand in hand, or foot in foot, as the case may be, with other natural therapies, which makes it that much more valuable. The therapies reflexology complements include: Although reflexologists are hoJiiti- caliy oriented, don't expect them to be your holistic therapist. No one can be a specialist in everything. Page 15 Reflexology is a therapeutic practice. Observing and working the reflex points can also give us some clues to our state of health. Reflexology used in this manner lets you analyze what your health issues may be and can reinforce other holistic health assessments.

Remember that medical doctors are a valuable part of our society, but they can only diagnose diseases after the symptoms manifest themselves. Reflexology may be able to lend you clues to imbalanced areas of the body and help you avoid having to be diagnosed with a full-blown disease! What a wonderful, natural, safe, noninvasive therapy tool reflexology is. It can help us prevent diseases and may even be used to detect health problems before they become serious!

Does America Have a Foot Fetish? What is it about the feet that's so neat? For starters, most of us have a pair of them. Many of us remember childhood rhymes such as "This Little Piggy Went to Market," which was traditionally recited by some older person speaking baby talk to us while wiggling our tootsies. But let's take a more observant look at the holistic view of the feet. The Sole Meaning Grounded it a term uted commonly to refer to hefng fotuied and connected to the earth or physical reality. It it uied interchangeably with the phrase "having both feet on the- ground.

Our feet are what carry us through life. They walk us down life's path. The use of our feet is what brings us our independence. Are you walking the right path? The shape and condition of our feet can reflect if we are on the right path or not or even if we are afraid of walking this life path. Our feet give us the foundation upon which our whole body and, philosophically, our whole life rests. In astrology, the sun sign Pisces rules the feet, and I find that many of my clients who use reflexology as their favorite form of healing are Pisces.

I also know a few very good reflexologists who happen to be Pisces. So if your sun sign is the fish, take your socks off now, you're going to love this! Keep Your Feet on the Ground Our feet are the first thing that bring us back to earth and into our waking world when we get out of bed each morning. In our dreams many times we fly or float.

The dream world is not where the feet are important, but in waking life they keep us in our bodies, so to speak. Did you ever hear the saying, "I was so happy I was two feet off the ground"? Page 16 Tread Lightfy Starting out on the right foot fs taken ienouiiy by some reflex- ologist! Some supersti- tious people make it a habit to place their right toot on the ground first when getting out of bed each morning!

But it is important to come back down and take care of earthly matters in order to keep balance in our lives. Our feet give us independence. They help us to walk out of bad situations, run away from threatening circumstances, help us to march to the beat of a different drummer, or even tiptoe through the tulips! Reflexology is a very grounding therapy. So many of us now live our lives almost entirely in our heads! We are constantly thinking, planning, talking, and dreaming.

We need time to reconnect to our roots, and one of the best ways to get grounded and become centered is concentrating on the feet. Take a barefooted walk in the sand, and stop along the way and pick up seashells with your toes. This will exercise the muscles in the feet. Notice how it makes you feel to walk in sand.

Or walk barefoot through some cold, wet grass early in the morning. These are both forms of natural reflexology and are also good therapies for the soul! Walking barefoot in the early morning onto a nice chilly, grassy Iswn filled with the morning desv k a form of reflexology. Take a niccj dtjcp [jr-udth and experience the aroma and note how you feel. More than likely you will feel invigo rated afterward.

It is a great way to give your circulation a jump- start and help prepare you For a beautiful day. Need more motivation than that? Just dew ft! Think of our Native American peoples, or any native peoples from around the world, especially in the warmer climates, and how often they had bare feet. In the United States, many people consider the Native Americans to be the keepers of the earth. They have a deeper Page 17 understanding and connection to our planet than some of our top researchers at NASA or even astronauts who view our planet from space.

Some of this may have to do with their connection to the earth through their feet. Studying with a shaman another word for medicine man for several years, I learned the valuable philosophy behind the words "As above, so below. In other words, nature has laws that are universal. There is nothing that defies this law or order. Everything has a purpose and a connection and a reason for doing what it does and being what it is. Once you can see these underlying patterns, a lot of other things will make sense to you.

Since this order is inherent in anything and everything, you can discover these secrets through close observation of any subject. So, who knows, maybe if you get to know everything about your feet you will somehow get to know the rest of your body and the rest of the universe! For one thing, my husband tells me it's the most fun we have together with our clothes on but for the best benefit you will need to remove your shoes! Reflexology stimulates the body to produce those feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, and so far, I have found it to be the best way to get my family members to do big favors for me!

It also ranks right up there as one of the best romantic gifts you can give your partner, especially in a pinch. Pin this thought under your cap: "Of course I didn't forget our anniversary darling. Now lay back and kick off your shoes Page 20 It's a Healing Feat Reflexology is a natural way to stimulate healing in the body, and a healthy body is a body that feels good. Since the hands are usually accessible, you can work on yourself almost any time — in meetings, riding in a car not if you're driving, please , watching a movie, getting your teeth cleaned — or virtually anywhere you have both hands free.

Tread Lightly Jurt because you like reflexology doesn't mean -everyone wffl like ft. Even -sojtie of my closest friends wi'JI not let me or anyone else touch their feet! So ff your offer to work on fomeon-e is- declined, try not to take it personally. If you realJy would like to persuade them, buy them this book to sFiow tlieiri how great feflexoJogy can be! The point is that reflexology can be used almost anywhere and anytime to promote balance and give you an instant lift or quick pain relief.

A reflexologist friend of mine was on a plane recently and was fortunate enough to be sitting next to a charming young lady about seven years old. As the plane was descending, the girl began to experience excruciating pain in her ears because of sinus congestion. My friend, being the patient, healing woman that she is, instead of complaining about the little girl's cries, asked her mother for permission to work on her.

The mother agreed, and my friend began to work on the girl's palms. Within minutes, the girl was drying her tears and feeling no more pain. Now, if you are not lucky enough to be sitting next to a loving reflexologist on the plane next time your sinuses are giving you grief, have no fear! By the time you are through reading this book, you will be able to work on yourself for relief. In the meantime, check with your travel agent for specific seating arrangements or turn to Chapter 9, "Remember to Breathe! The Respiratory System," for more details about sinus reflex points on the hands and feet.

A Delicate Balance. Spontaneous healing is great; however, most true healing takes time. Illness doesn't necessarily come about instantaneously, but is harbored and grows, sometimes long before you experience any symptoms. My nutritional and holistic teachers over the years have all taught me the law of balance. It is only when we are imbalanced in some way, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually, that we experience ill health. We will primarily be addressing physical imbalances in this book, but keep the other two in mind for complete health.

It is great to be balanced nutritionally and maintain your health with physical therapies like reflexology, but your symptoms will continue to come back if you are in a Page 21 continuing unhealthy relationship or situation. Make those changes first and then work on the physical health! Homeostasis: Getting It Right Reflexology is great because it helps the body get and stay balanced. I'm not talking balanced as in walking on a balance beam. I am talking about balance as it relates to the glandular functioning of your body, or homeostasis.

Homeostasis is really just a bio-chemical balancing act played every day of our lives by our endocrine glands. When one of the glands is not up to par, the whole corporation suffers. This usually means extra work for the other glands as they try to make up the work leftover by the slacker! By using the reflex points on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, we can stimulate those glands that are not keeping up and help the body become balanced again. For instance, symptoms of a sluggish thyroid gland could include unexplainable weight gain, lethargy, dry skin, and erratic sleeping patterns.

These symptoms are signs that the body is out of balance. Tip Toe Kelp is a seaweed rf-ch in- organic iodine, Jt is Lied as an herbaJ supplement by many to nourish an underactrvie thyroid. More than likely, when your thyroid is out of balance and you rub your thyroid reflex point on the bottom of your foot, it will yell back at you — "ouch!

We'll get to how you can tell which areas or glands are sluggish in later chapters. It is not just the glands that can cause imbalance in the functions of the body. The major organs can become overloaded, tired, or injured; the muscles, skin, bones, hair, Page 22 fingernails, joints, and all other parts of the body may show signs of imbalance.

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Bringing balance back to the body through stimulation is one goal of the reflexologist. Detoxing That'll Knock Your Socks Off Most imbalances occur because of malnourishment, overuse or abuse, or too many toxins in the body causing irritations and sluggishness in certain areas. Detoxifying the body means doing some internal house cleaning. Believe it or not, our internal bodies get dusty and dirty and need to be cleansed periodically, just as our homes need a good spring cleaning.

The body has four main eliminative channels that serve as exit routes for waste products. This is called detoxification. When a body system is stimulated and stronger, it has the energy and ability to kick out toxins settling in it. You will know when your body is detoxifying because of the symptoms you experience. Usually a full reflexology treatment will stimulate all the organs and therefore stir up a bunch of waste materials in the body. This is good, but you will need to know what to expect when this happens to you! The Process of Elimination Tread Lightly Althougfc cleansing of the bcwd a a good ifgn, you should not experi- ence diarrhea after a reflexology treatment.

A temporary crcsrtifng due to a loosening of the bowel d fff en from- d fa n hea. One of the most common symptoms of detoxifying the body will be a loosening of the bowels. Many necessary, quick trips to the bathroom will prove to you that you needed cleansing. This form of detoxifying after a reflexology treatment usually lasts no longer than a day.

It is also a positive sign. You should not try to stop this cleansing process by taking any medications that would constipate you — let the cleansing begin! The urinary system will carry out waste products in the form of urine. The urine may be stronger smelling, and you may have to visit the bathroom more often for a day. This should also be encouraged. Drink plenty of pure water to help flush out the toxins. Page 23 Sweating It Out Sometimes when I work on someone with lung congestion, they will experience a cleansing through the lungs.

This is usually in the form of a phlegmy cough. I believe the reflexology treatment loosens up old, hardened mucus, giving the lungs the opportunity to get rid of it! So, if you get copious amounts of mucus coming from your sinus passages or from your lungs in the form of a cough after reflexology, you can count on this being a cleansing process.

Do not thwart the process by taking cough medications to inhibit your lungs from expelling the mucus. This will only stop the cleansing process, which the reflexology treatment was designed to do in the first place! Instead, drink lots of water to speed up the process. Foul breath is another strange symptom that may be experienced after a deep reflexology treatment.

Again, this is due to toxins in the system, usually in the lungs, that have broken free and are leaving the body. Detoxifying through the pores of the skin can show up as any type of skin eruption, including pimples, boils, rashes, or cold sores. Sweating during a deep treatment is sometimes experienced. This is the natural way your body rids itself of waste through the skin. When a treatment is effective in detoxifying, you should not be surprised if your body odor changes for a day.

In fact, after my first treatment, I smelled like maple syrup! Just before I panicked about being nicknamed Aunt Jemima, the smell subsided. Stressed Out? The Sole Meaning Endorphins are substances released by the pituitary gland that affect the central nervous system by reducing pafn. Reflexology promotes the production of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones made by the pituitary gland in the brain.

The flow of endorphins in the body acts on the nervous system to help reduce pain. The effects they cause on the body are similar to the effects of morphine. I believe that many of the painful symptoms we experience in the body are increased by stress. Stress tends to make us uptight.

Literally, our muscles get tighter when we are under stress. Just think of yourself after having a confrontational meeting at work. Are your shoulders in Page 24 your ears? Are your fists clenched? How about your jaw? Are you grinding your teeth or clenching them tight? These are all reactions to stressful situations, whether the stress is good or bad. Good Stress, Bad Stress, Ugly Stress Some examples of "good" stress may be moving to a new, nicer home, starting a better job, getting married, or traveling to a new and exciting place. And of course we all experience the bad stressors, too, like accidents, conflicts with others, financial worries, and so on.

When the body and mind are adjusting to anything new, the muscles tighten in response, preparing for unexpected or new challenges. But when we are stressed all the time, the effects can eventually tire us out! We can use reflexology to help stimulate endorphins so that the body can relax, rejuvenate, and be better able to tolerate the stresses of life. By utilizing reflexology as a stress-relieving technique, the body has a chance to relax the tight muscles that can cause pain. Fortunately, the stress, or tension, in the body can be released and this release can have a positive effect on symptoms of PMS.

In fact, PMS symptoms are one of the most studied uses of reflexology! Sometimes I am not sure who suffers more from PMS, women or the men who love them! But one sure thing is that reflexology has many effects on the body and can help balance the glands, reduce water retention, and promote relaxation — all of which are important factors in relieving PMS symptoms. Besides promoting endorphin production that relieves pain and promotes relaxation, another reason reflexology seems to work on PMS is because it stimulates the glands to Page 25 balance.

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The crankiness we feel when we are suffering from PMS is usually because our hormones are raging, our glands are going crazy, and therefore, our highs and lows are intensified. By stimulating the glands to balance through reflexology, we can help make the highs and lows less drastic. By utilizing the reflexology points on the feet, hands, and even ears, we can encourage the urinary system to cleanse and release excess water.

The effects are not only felt in the body as the swelling is reduced, but also in the brain. Excess water retention can affect certain nerves in the brain and make us ladies act very un-ladylike! Obviously reflexology has many uses for those of us suffering from any ailments or conditions caused by stress, tension, brain chemistry, or glandular imbalances. Relief of PMS is only one, but it is one a large percentage of the population can appreciate.

Reflexology is safe and effective and only helps the body do what it was designed to do anyway. So unless you are grossly negligent or using instruments improperly you really can't hurt anyone with reflexology. If you are working on yourself, you will know what hurts and what doesn't. When working on another person, you will have to utilize your people skills to stay in communication with them so that you can push deep enough to get the desired results, yet still be gentle enough that they do not become tense.

Later, I will cover the specific techniques and discuss how deep to go and so on, but for now we want to talk about who can, can't, should, or shouldn't get a reflexology treatment. Reflexology is one area in life where you should consider yourself first. Working on yourself is the best way to get started feeling the effects of reflexology. For instance, I began utilizing this therapy as a crisis management plan. When something would hurt in my body, I would go to the corresponding reflex point, and sure enough, the reflex point would be sore.

I would rub the spot every chance I got. As the pain went away in my body, the tenderness would go away in my reflex point! Using the techniques on yourself will help you get in touch with your body and its functions. Page 26 Foot Note Find a reflexologist and get a treatment for yourself io that you can feel firsthand what reflexology fi supposed to feel like. Then you can transfer that same feel Into working on yourself between treatments. Many mothers will instinctively rub their children's feet and hands when their child is cranky, crying, or uncomfortable.

Reflexology works very well for little ones since most babies enjoy being touched. Babies' feet have undeveloped arches, and their skin and bones are usually fairly soft. You don't want to dig too deeply into a baby's feet or hands! Gentle fingertip pressure is usually enough. Short, gentle sessions are most beneficial for infants: Ten minutes is usually sufficient. It is important to not overdo when working with little ones.

All the babies I have ever used reflexology on have fallen asleep after a few minutes of working on them! This can be used as a trick for tired moms who need a break. Also, babies will usually respond rather quickly to the detoxifying effects of reflexology. Therefore, this safe therapy can be used to help with gas pains due to constipation.

I have found that the smaller the body, the faster the therapy works! So be aware that a child's reaction to most natural treatments can be almost instantaneous. In other words, be prepared to change a diaper if need be! Who Shouldn't Use It? Men and women of any age like the feel of reflexology and can use it without problems. However, as I said earlier, Page 27 who is generally healthy may not be very sensitive.

If they already take good care of themselves and are used to other forms of bodywork such as massage, they may want or need deeper work to feel any real benefits. Every therapy has its own set of contraindications, and reflexology is no exception. Contraindication means that sometimes a therapy is not recommended for someone with specific problems. Although reflexology it a safe treatment for almost anyone, it has contra- indications. A complete table of the reflexology contraindication! Do not overwork these people.

Use a very gentle pressure and work no longer than 10 to 15 minutes for the entire treatment.