Happy feet from reflexology at Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa

By Alan Markoff

30 November 2020

When it comes to recognising the benefits of reflexology, it's something gotten in the state of Denmark.

Although many countries do not accept reflexology as a scientifically proven medical treatment, in Denmark it is one of the most used complementary and alternative medicine therapies. Studies have shown that more than one in five Danes have received at least one reflexology treatment in their life. The therapy is practised in private clinics and even in hospitals in Denmark, often as a complement to other alternative or traditional medical therapies. It is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including pain, muscular issues, sleep problems, circulation and cardiovascular issues, respiratory and sinus conditions, digestive problems, anxiety and hormonal imbalances/infertility.

A number of Danish private insurance companies fund reflexology and companies and municipalities in Denmark have employed reflexologists for decades, which studies have shown reduced worker absenteeism and increased job satisfaction.

What is it?
At first glance, reflexology might seem like a hand or foot massage, which isn't entirely inaccurate. But with reflexology, the therapist is not just gently rubbing a person's hands or feet; he or she is applying pressure to specific points during the massage.

The theory behind reflexology, the roots of which date back more than 4,000 years to ancient Greece and also several thousand years ago to China and India, suggests that specific points on the hand and feet reflect to other specific points in the human body. It is believed that manipulating these points on the hands or feet with firm pressure can energise and/or rejuvenate the corresponding parts of the body.

Many medical doctors have accepted the benefits of reflexology over the years, starting with Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, who introduced reflexology in the United States in the early 20th century.

Another medical doctor in Spain, Jesus Manzanares, M.D., conducted extensive reflexology research during the 1990s and has developed his own method for practising reflexology. This is how he has described reflexology:

“Reflexology can be defined as a reflex technique that is based on the neurobiochemical action produced by stimulating a specific area of the foot that results in a general or partial repercussion in the body. This is possible because of the somatotopic representation (mapping) of the human body on the foot, where every organ and parts of the body are reflected."

reflexology map

What's it like?
I went to receive a reflexology treatment on my feet in October at Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa. Senior Beauty Therapist Serene Brown provided the treatment.

Because reflexology works on just the feet and ankles, I did not have to disrobe as I would for a body massage; I only had to remove my shoes and socks and roll up my trousers a bit. Serene then asked me to lie down, face up, on the massage table.

While washing my feet, Serene told me a bit about reflexology.

"There are more than 100 pressure points in the feet alone," she said, adding that in order to begin practising the treatments — which she's been giving for about 10 years — she had to learn all of the pressure points.

Serene spent about 15 minutes on my left foot before moving on to the right foot.

Although much of the treatment was enjoyable and relaxing, other parts were less so. It wasn't painful like a deep tissue massage can be; just a bit uncomfortable.

Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of the treatment was when she applied rubbing pressure along the plantar fascia, the band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. Having suffered from several bouts of plantar fasciitis in my life, and feeling afterwards how this part of reflexology loosened the plantar fascia, the first thing I'll do if I feel another bout coming on is book a reflexology appointment.

After the treatment, I had "happy feet" and a general feeling of relaxation.

More importantly, the reflexology treatment brightened my mood. I had a group meeting afterwards and colleagues noticed my mood. Given my reputation of being the "grumpy old man" of the office — especially around deadline time — my colleagues might make reflexology therapy a requirement for me every month. I wouldn't mind.

For those interested in trying reflexology, Eclipze is offering a special discount to Camana Bay Times readers who clip and present the coupon on this page.

This article first appeared in the November 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline "Happy feet from reflexology."

male headshot

About the author

Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for three years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 16 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. An avid baseball fan, Alan loves travelling but also schedules trips back home around catching a summer game or two with his home team, Cleveland Indians. He is a movie buff who spends many an evening catching a film at Camana Bay Cinema. It was at one of these movies that he met his wife, Lynn!

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