• Reflexology is massage of reflex points on the feet (or hands). It is believed to have originated in China around 5000 years ago. A revival of interest in the 1930’s led to it’s refinement and development in the UK. Modern reflexologists use foot reflex maps worked out by pioneers of the treatment over many years.

• Reflexologists use gentle or firm thumb and finger pressure over reflex points on the feet that are believed to correspond to the body systems and organs. Theoretical explanations of how reflexology may work suggest the pressure on specific points on the feet affect subtle functional changes in the body parts through some form of nervous reflex. There has, however, been limited research in this field to date.

• Reflexology also plays a valuable role in promoting “the relaxation response” a term coined by Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson M.D. over 40 years ago to describe the body’s hardwired antidote to the fight or flight response.. Self-regulation by nervous and hormonal messages is often disrupted by the prolonged unremitting stress of modern life. A reflexology treatment can provide the trigger that allows a chronically stressed body and mind an opportunity to “remember” how to access the relaxation response.

• Chronic stress causes a prolonged state of physiological arousal which reflects in increased heart rate and blood pressure, slowed digestive function, decreased blood flow to the extremities and increased production of hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. Adrenalin has a short-lived impact on blood sugar control and mood swings while cortisol can promote longer term metabolic imbalances resulting in abdominal fat storage, depression, insomnia and increased difficulty in losing weight. Chronic stress also affects the balance of other hormones including thyroxine, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and is thought to contribute to inflammatory disorders.

• By promoting the “the relaxation response” a reflexology treatment contributes to promoting a physiological state where blood pressure, heart rate, digestive function and hormone levels return to normal. In chronic stress states the relaxation response needs to be practiced regularly. Judy offers instructions for techniques to practice at home where appropriate.

• For many clients this relaxation state is a sublimely pleasant experience. For others it is a neutral experience, but it is likely that the physiological effects of deep relaxation are the same for both groups.

• Personal experience suggests that, following reflexology treatment, many of my clients report a reduction of muscle tension and pain, while others note an improvement in a wide range of functional disturbances.

• Most clients choosing to incorporate reflexology into their Natural Medicine treatment programme find it supports and enhances the holistic effect while providing a comforting and pleasurable reintroduction of deep relaxation back into their lives.

• Judy also offers reflexology as a treatment in its own right, or as a monthly “tune-up” following successful completion of a course of Natural Medicine treatment.