Reflexology (fin. vyöhyketerapia)

Alternative health care: Beginners guide to reflexology

When I first came to Malta, I had done research on Beauty Rituals and the treatments offered. One of them was reflexology. I did not know what it was. Some kind of massage maybe? Boy was I wrong.

”Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion”

It is believed that the whole body is reflected on ones feet through spesific zones. At first it might seem a bit complicated. But you basically just look at the feet, as if they were ones whole body. Head being in the big toes, spine in the middle, and hands on the outer edges etc.

Reflexology is a treatment where through a system of zones and pressure areas, you treat a clients whole body – physical and mental – by their feet. (Can also be performed through hand and ears, but feet are most commonly used). It is concidered pseudo-medicine, as in it has no scientific proof that it helps any medical condition. However here in Malta it is very popular, and even practiced by licensed doctors in the hospital.

With just one treatment the effects are mostly relaxation. But with several treatments, and a spesific area to be treated, you can focus on a spesific problem for example digestion issues or neck pain.

Reflexology may (according to the University of Minnesota)

  • decrease anxiety
  • improve headaches
  • enhance over all being
  • complement cancer treatment

My experience

Graziella did a basic reflexology session for me on Friday 29th of March. It lasted for one hour and included cleaning the feet with warm towels, gentle opening massage with joint movements and feeling the pressure points, and the treatment itself.

For me it was ofcourse a learning experience as well, so we talked during the treatment, and Graziella explained what areas she was working on at the time. It was crazy by how just the reflective points on the feet she could feel the problem going on in my body (which by the way she did not know about beforehand).

For example I’ve had respiratory issues for awhile and even got tested for asthma. I’ve had lower back pains for the most part of my life, and recently also very bad neck pain caused by stress, moving and a lot of other things. My knees are still quite weak, affected by a job I had years ago.

All these things she could feel in the reflective points through my feet. Usually the area feels more sensitive to touch, and a bit stiff. In the worst places (my knees and neck), there was even a crackling sound during the reflexology movements. (From my feet, the zones reflecting my knees and neck).

So pseudo or not, I felt it and I believed it. And I also believe it can have long term health benefits, when treated regularly by an educated reflexologist. When I go back to Finland I might have to find a practicioner and try it again.



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