Matt Howe, a teacher at the Central Florida School of Massage in Winter Park, has been practicing massage for more than 13 years. In addition to therapeutic massage, Howe also practices reflexology. This ancient practice dates back to 4000 B.C.
Similar to massage and acupuncture, reflexology is a technique used to relieve tension and treat illness. It is based on the theory that reflex points on the feet, hands and head are linked to every part of the body.
Dr. William Fitzgerald performed the first known case of modern reflexology in 1915, referring to it as zone therapy. Since then, reflexology has developed many schools of thought but all harken back to the original system used in ancient China.
“In mainstream medicine, doctors often treat symptomatically but not necessarily the source of a person’s illness,” Howe says. “In integrative or holistic medicine, which reflexology is solidly a part of, we are interested in the root of the problem so that we greater facilitate the body’s ability to heal itself.”
Howe points out that reflexology is not meant to diagnose medical conditions but it can be used as an adjunct treatment.
“There are many studies in which reflexology has been found to have a positive reflexive impact on organs and create a relaxation effect, which can lower blood pressure and stress,” he says. “Patients often report their pain was greatly reduced after receiving reflexology treatment.”