by Dee McMath
Reflexology (or zone therapy) is the application of pressure on points of the feet, which reflect parts of the body. Pressure and massage on specific areas of the feet can stimulate energy encourages the body to heal itself.
The Chinese have been using this type of treatment for about 5,000 years. However, reflexology as we know it in the West today was introduced in the early 20th Century. There are many excellent reflexologists practicing in Andalucia today, from many different countries. In and around the Costa del Sol area, many of these therapists are Scandinavian, German, Spanish or British. The Spanish practitioners, who work along the coast, usually speak some English too. The influx of foreign residents who have settled along the coast and now also inland, have lead to a demand for this type of therapy and for English and other languages to be spoken. Holidaymakers can also take advantage of a relaxing reflexology session, since it is often available through hotel beauty salons and spas, as well as local clinics. Individual practitioners often also offer home visits for an extra charge.
It is important to have confidence in your therapist and know that they are properly qualified reflexologists. Since there are so many nationalities with different levels of qualifications, it is best to ask around the town you are in, at the local Health Shop (Herboristería) or a nearby medical clinic, for a recommendation. Don't be shy to ask to certificates and ask about years of experience.
At your first consultation, the therapist will ask questions on your medical history, your lifestyle and eating habits. They should always ask if you have a medical condition or are taking any medication. You will then either sit in a reclining chair or lie on a treatment couch. Some therapists soak your feet in warm water before this and then apply cream or oil, once your feet are dried off. Techniques vary slightly, but the whole foot will be massaged and then specific points will be worked on, using pressure. You may feel some points of pressure uncomfortable or tender. This is a sign of some blocked energy in the corresponding part of your body. You should indicate to the therapist when you feel discomfort and they will work on that specific area to ease the related problem in the body. The first session may take over an hour and further sessions could be 30 - 45 minutes.
Reflexology stimulates your system to work more efficiently and you may find easier digestion after a session and you will probably sleep very well that night. It is advisable to drink plenty of fresh water after the session, to help the body flush out toxins, which may have been released in the process of the therapy. If, like me, you have very tickly feet, you should advise the practitioner beforehand and ask them to use a firm hold and if that doesn't work, then maybe this treatment is not for you.