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Many mesothelioma patients use alternative therapies to reduce stress and alleviate pain. Clinical studies of reflexology indicate that this alternative therapy may be useful in accomplishing these objectives.

How Does Reflexology Work?

This treatment is based on applying pressure, primarily on specific areas of the feet, to stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body, which promotes self-healing. In some instances, a reflexologist will also apply pressure on the hands or the ears.

A typical first consultation with a reflexologist begins with the practitioner taking a medical history. The next step is an examination of the feet by applying gentle pressure to identify sensitive areas. The patient is either seated in an examination chair during this procedure or lying on a massage table. The patient may experience a tingling sensation in other parts of the body while the feet are being examined.

What Type of Training do Reflexologists Receive?

In general, becoming a reflexologist has no formal training or governmental licensing requirements. Practitioners of this therapy receive their training as part of their massage therapy training, by attending a reflexology school, through distance learning courses, or as the result of apprenticing with another reflexologist.

However, the American Reflexology Certification Board is a non-profit testing agency that was created to certify the proficiency of professional reflexologists who voluntarily want to meet its national standards.

How Did Reflexology Originate?

The development of reflexology as an alternative therapy is attributed to an American physician, Dr. William Fitzgerald, who began developing it in the beginning of the last century. Dr. Fitzgerald believed that foot offered a kind of road map to the various parts of the body, and so he divided the body into ten distinct regions and then determined which area of the foot managed each body zone. Dr. Fitzgerald also believed that applying gentle pressure on a section of the foot would relieve problems in the corresponding body zone. That’s why reflexology was originally called Zone Therapy.

Dr. Joe Shelby Riley built on the work started by Dr. Fitzgerald, and he wrote a book that illustrated the zones of the feet. He also included drawings of zones on the hands and the outer ear that could be used. He popularized the name Zone Reflex Therapy.

In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a nurse and physiotherapist, embellished the zone maps created by Dr. Fitzgerald to include reflex points that were more targeted than the general zones identified by Dr. Fitzgerald. She also coined the term “reflexology”.

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