Many day spas offer reflexology treatments. Reflexology is an ancient healing therapy that uses gentle pressure on the feet (and sometimes the hands) to relieve pain and tension in the body and to restore energy and balance.
Reflexology was introduced to the West in 1913 when Dr. William Fitzgerald, an American ear, nose and throat surgeon, brought this new type of therapy from the Far East. Having already noticed that pressure on certain points of the body resulted in calming effects on a related area, he developed a theory by which he divided the body into ten equal and vertical zones, ending in the fingers and toes. He determined that pressure on one point in a zone had an effect on everything else within that zone. In other words, reflex areas on the feet and hands are linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.
During the 1930s, therapist Eunice Ingham further refined the zone therapy into what we now refer to as foot reflexology. She noticed that tension in any part of the foot is mirrored by tension in a corresponding part of the body.
According to reflexology, injuries, stress and illnesses throw the body into a state of imbalance. Important energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning correctly. Reflexologists use their hands to massage and manipulate these pressure points to help unblock the body's energy pathways, encouraging the correct flow of energy. In this way, reflexology can restore the body's natural equilibrium and help it to heal.
Reflexology treatments usually last for one hour. After taking the time to discuss the trouble you're having, the practitioner will begin treatment by massaging your feet and possibly your hands. Any discomfort you experience during this time will be temporary, however - it is helpful for you to tell the practitioner about the discomfort so that he or she can note problem areas. You will most likely want to continue treatments to help prevent any further problems from arising.