go beyond illusion Paula Linkiewicz


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What is Reflexology?

reflexology, Paula Linkiewicz

Reflexology is an ancient Chinese technique that uses pressure-point massage- using the thumb and fingers- to restore the flow of energy throughout the entire body.

Reflexology is based on the belief that each part of the body is interconnected through the nervous system and that there are reflexes in our hands, feet and ears that relate to every organ and part of our body. By stimulating these reflexes with pressure and manipulation, nerve function and blood supply may be improved, bringing needed nutrients to poorly functioning areas of the body. This can help to alleviate stress and other health problems and help restore inner balance.

Reflexology encourages both relaxation and stimulation: the first helps the body rebuild its energy resources while the second helps to activate the circulatory and nervous systems, making both more efficient, benefiting the body as a whole.

Where does it come from?

foot massage, healing

The science of Reflexology has been around for 5,000 years. Many civilizations have practiced it. Evidence of this has been documented on four continents: Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

Inscriptions found in the physician’s tomb at Saqqara in Egypt are the oldest documented evidence proving that it was a common healing practice back then.

The pictograph shows two men working on the feet and hands of two other men. The hieroglyphics above the scene read ‘Do not let it be painful’ says one of the patients. ‘I do as you please’ the practitioner says.

Reflexology in its modern form was introduced to the West in the early 20th century when European and American physicians, Dr Henry Head and Dr Charles Sherrington, began to develop it further. In the later half of the century non-medical therapists, such as Eunice Ingham and Inge Dougans, continued to establish the therapy, and Doreen Bayley brought reflexology to the UK in the 1960s. It continues its development until this day.

How does Reflexology work?

pain relief, beyond illusion

It is still not proven how Reflexology works, but there are few theories trying to explain the fenomenon of Reflexology.

One theory is that Reflexology works with the central nervous system. This theory builds on research done in the 1890s by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington, who began to show through their research that a neurological relationship exists between the skin and the internal organs, and that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus.

Another theory explaining how reflexology can produce pain relief is the neuromatrix theory of pain. This theory suggests that pain is a subjective experience created by your brain. The brain does this in response to the sensory experience of pain, but it can also work independently of sensory input and create pain in response to emotional or cognitive factors. Thus things that influence the brain, such as your mood or external factors like stress can also affect your experience of pain. According to this theory, reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.

Another theory states that there is a "vital energy" in the human body. If stress is not addressed, it leads to congestion of energy, which in turn causes bodily inefficiencies, which can lead to illness. According to this theory, reflexology helps keep the energy flowing.

Benefits and effects of Reflexology

depression, relaxation

        A survey of 168 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows that reflexology is 93% effective on a variety of physical and  psychological concerns

          Physical benefits:

  • Reduces muscular tension
  • Lifts headaches
  • Clears toxins
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Balances energies
  • Increases energy or reduces tension
  • Promotes refreshing sleep
  • Strengthens natural self-healing mechanisms 
  • Emotional and Mental benefits:
  • Promotes calm and well-being
  • Relaxes the body and mind
  • Relieves stress
  • Soothes emotional distress

Summarises some of the effects of reflexology

The list below summarises some of the effects of reflexology on the body systems:

  • Skeletal
  • Supplies nutrients for repair, new cells and growth
  • Muscular
  • Supplies oxygen and nutrients
  • Takes away waste
  • Relaxes muscle tension
  • Nervous
  • Increases oxygen and nutrient supply
  • Stimulates nerve cells
  • Helps repair and create new cells
  • Pain control – when pressing on sensitive points – gateway theory
  • Respiratory
  • Stimulates movement of mucus in lungs and airways
  • Stimulates remove of waste and toxins
  • Increases supply of oxygen to the rest of the body
  • Reproductive
  • Stimulates gonads to help with pre-menstrual problems
  • Clears blockages of the pelvic area – female
  • Urinary
  • Stimulates the kidneys to function more effectively – filtering and retaining substances
  • Regulates salt/water content of blood – under control of endocrine system
  • Circulatory
  • Regulates blood pressure – up or down
  • Stimulates repair and creating of new cells throughout the body
  • Lymph
  • Stimulates movement of lymph
  • Helps with removal of waste products
  • Helps fight infection
  • Digestive
  • Stimulates muscle action and peristalsis – helps with IBS and constipation
  • Stimulates formation and release of digestive mucus, bile and pancreatic juice – aids smooth passage of food as it is digested and helps digestion
  • Encourages liver to process all the chemicals and pass unwanted substances to kidneys for excretion
  • Endocrine
  • Stimulates all glands, and especially brings relaxation, which enables healing in all other systems
  • Skin
  • Stimulates healing of wounds, breakdown of spots, removal of other non malignant lumps and bumps
  • Supplies nutrients and oxygen for repair and creating new cells

In fact reflexology may help relieve symptoms of most acute or chronic conditions.The effects may be felt at the first treatment, or it may need several treatments for changes to be noticed.

How many sessions are needed and how frequently?

cancer, pregnancy

It depends on your condition and how long you have been suffering. It is perfectly safe to have a daily treatment, but only few people would have the time or finances to afford this.

For acute conditions, some benefit may be experienced immediately, with a significant improvement usually being seen after receiving 6 – 8 weekly treatments.

Chronic, long standing conditions may take longer. If you are unable to make weekly visits, then have treatments as often as time and finances allow.

Reflexology can also be enjoyed simply to relax and de-stress you, and help maintain a healthy state. Many clients come simply for relaxation, and time out from their hectic lives. In this case I suggest to come when you feel the need.

When is Reflexology not suitable?

foot reflexology, massage

There are some medical conditions where it may not be possible to carry out treatment, which is why a full consultation is carried out before having a Reflexology session.

If you have any serious medical conditions or take medication, it is advisable to check with your doctor before making an appointment. Conditions when Relexology is not advised:

Possibility of having thrombosis, such as, deep vein thrombosis (e.g. after a long haul flight)


Contagious disease, such as measles (because of cross infection to other people)

Conditions that may influence when or how a treatment is given. If any of these apply to you then you should check with your reflexologist before booking an appointment for treatment:

  • Acute undiagnosed pain
  • Aneurism
  • Arthritis, if swollen or painful joints
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
  • Imminent medical test or procedures
  • Injury to the feet (or hands)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cellulitis
  • Phlebitis
  • Pregnancy (in the first 3 months)
  • Varicose veins, if severe

What does a Reflexology session involve?

foot reflexology, massage

A Reflexology session lasts 1 hour with a treatment taking about 45 minutes. The first appointment includes an assessment based on your medical history including questions about your lifestyle – diet, exercise, smoking, current medication, operations, accidents, and so on. Forms can be obtained via email and should be sent back to me before the first appointment.

This part takes about 15/20 minutes.

After that you take off your shoes and socks, and sit in a recline chair or lay down on a couch. Hand reflexology is also an option, especially if there are any medical conditions when working on feet is not advised.

At the begining and the end of a treatment I give a relaxing foot massage. Then, I work on all parts of both feet and ankles (or hands and lower arms) using my thumb and finger- initiating the actual reflexology.

After a treatment there is time to talk about how you feel and what are possible effects of the treatment.

Does Reflexology Hurt?

GoBeyondIllusion Paula Linkiewicz

Generally, Reflexology is a very pleasant experience. However, sometimes when you feel discomfort, pain or tension in your body, it can be also manifested in your feet during Reflexology treatment; in which case you may feel tenderness or sensitivity in a particular area.

Above sensations simply indicate that more work is needed in this part of your foot/feet. As the session progresses feeling of tenderness or sensitivity diminishes and the related part of your body should also feel better.

Cancellation policy:
24 hours notice is required otherwise the full fee will be charged.

For more informations, please contact me via my email ».

GoBeyondIllusion Paula Linkiewicz
My name is Paula Linkiewicz.
I’ve been a practitioner of complementary therapies since 1999.