Reflexology: Can it Help You Cope with Labor?

The most concrete evidence of the practice of reflexology in ancient culture dates back to 2330 BC, through the discovery of a wall painting in a Egyptian physician’s tomb depicting manipulation of the hands and feet. Prior to this discovery, many believed reflexology originated in the ancient Orient along with shiatsu and acupuncture. North American Indian medicine men are also believed to have stimulated the feet as part of their healing traditions.

The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as "a natural healing art, based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet and hands which correspond to every part of the body." Kevin Kunz, one of the pioneers of reflexology, says: "Imagine stepping on a tack. Your whole body reacts because of something perceived by the foot. Reflexology with a full range of pressure sensors, utilizes the same body system of fight or flight to relax the body."

The 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report found foot reflexology to be 93 percent effective in treating 63 disorders. After an analysis of 8,096 clinical cases, Dr. Wang Liang reported that reflexology was significantly effective in curing 48.68 percent of all the cases, and rendered an effective/improved treatment in 44.95 percent of the cases. In another study, in Britain, fifteen women received half-hour reflexology sessions for eight weeks. The findings included noticeable physical and emotional improvements, increased self-esteem and confidence, an ability to stay motivated and be heard and taken seriously, and an improvement in concentration.

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