I made this site to give you a good introduction to Reflexology, and to help you understand what it is, and how to find the right reflexology practitioner. Since then, though, I’ve become more and more involved in the preservation of the local environment and ecology of the Fort Lauderdale area, so I’m blogging a lot about that too.
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Your First Reflexology Appointment: What to Expect
Going to the doctor is almost second nature to us. We know how to check in, and we know what to expect when we get there. We’re familiar with the procedures and tests, we’re comfortable with the doctor-patient rapport. But, when we venture out of the primary care provider comfort zone, discomfort and uncertainty can set in. Seeing a new doctor, especially one specializing in an unfamiliar area can be a little daunting. For this reason, it is important that you get to know what to expect, what you can or should ask, and what your doctor or practitioner may ask you. It is no different with reflexology, and knowing what to expect on your first appointment can truly help you to make the most of your time there.
So, you’ve made your first reflexology appointment. You’ve braved traffic and arrived on time. You’ve checked in and waited to be brought back to your own private room, now what?
Before your reflexology practitioner begins working with you, they will conduct an interview regarding your current health, your health history, and your expectations regarding reflexology. What are you hoping to accomplish in your reflexology sessions? Are your expectations realistic? Are you on medications? Do you have any conditions that need to be closely monitored? Your reflexologist wants to make sure that you’re both a good candidate for reflexology, and that the condition(s) that you’re seeking help with are within the scope of reflexology.
Once the initial intake interview is complete, your reflexologist will delve into a discussion on what reflexology is, and what generally occurs during each session. Although you may have done your research, it is important to sit back and listen. This informational section is meant to help you to feel comfortable with your reflexology session, as well as inform you that reflexology cannot cure a specific illness, and that it is meant only as a supplement for medical treatment, not as a substitute. This is also a verbal disclaimer, and most reflexologists will have you sign a form saying that you got this disclaimer. It also gives you a chance to be sure that you’re OK with the process, and with seeking reflexology as a supplemental treatment.
Lastly, your reflexologist will want to discuss a little more in-depth about the health condition that brought you in. Knowing more about your current health will help them to determine the best spot to work on during your first session. If you have any factors that may prevent work on a specific area (hands, feet, or ears), now is your time to speak up. If you don’t have any objections, and no medical reason why one area is untouchable, your reflexologist will determine the best area to work on to meet your health needs.
Starting Your First Session
After the intake has completed, you can begin the reflexology process. If your hands or ears are going to be worked on, you won’t really have to prepare much. If your feet are going to be the focus, you may need to engage in a little preparation. This really depends on the reflexologist and their personal preference and method, however, plan on them washing your feet prior to beginning. Some reflexologists also like to soak the feet prior to beginning. This not only helps to clean your feet, but relax you as well. After your feet have been washed and soaked, you’ll be asked to either sit back, or lay down. From this position, your feet will be at, or around, chest level for the practitioner. This gives them the best vantage point for working on your feet. This also allows them to properly examine your feet prior to working in them. Feel free to inform your reflexologist of any foot issues you may have, including rashes, open wounds, sores, warts, bunions, current or past broken bones that may be painful, etc. If you don’t mention these things, your reflexologist will point out each thing they note so that both of you are aware of this issue, and that they will do their best with these conditions. They will also inform you that if you experience pain as a result of these conditions, you need to speak up. Be sure that you do. It is important that you feel comfortable and relaxed during your appointment. If you’re in pain, you’re going to tense up and most likely experience some level of stress. Your reflexologist is trained to work with all sorts of issues, and your bunion is not the only one they’ve seen. Don’t be shy or embarrassed, just speak up!
Next, your reflexologist will begin working on your feet, hands, or ears (as determined by the previous evaluation and intake interview). Because the feet are most common, we’ll use the feet as an example as we continue through this section. Procedure is to work on the entire area, regardless of the specific ailment you came in for. However, your reflexologist will focus on the trouble area as they get there. This is meant to encourage overall wellness, in addition to treating the specific problem at hand. It is also meant to encourage relaxation from the body, which will also treat any stress you have that could be compounding the problem. Feel free to ask questions as you’re being treated. While the goal is to relax the body, you should understand the procedure. The more you are worked on, the more comfortable you will feel with the practices of reflexology.
Common Experiences During Reflexology
One of the biggest questions a person has when entering reflexology, is how they will feel. Will it hurt? Is it like a massage? What sensations may be experienced?
The answer to this is varied, because people are unique, and each person may experience reflexology in a different way. Some feel a great many different sensations, while others only experience one or two. Some common sensations include relaxation, a lightness in the body, a feeling of bodily warmth, perspiration or chills, and a feeling of diminishing discomfort. Some patients also feel an emotional reaction, ranging from laughing to crying. These emotional reactions are highly individualized and can be attributed to the area being worked on, as well as the person’s personal experiences with reflexology, and the release of toxins and chemicals from the body.
In fact, after your reflexology session, it is not uncommon to experience continued emotional and physical symptoms. Some of these symptoms are desirable, and others aren’t. However, whether desirable or not, all symptoms signal positive change in the body. Some example of desirable symptoms include an increase in amount and quality of sleep, increase in natural body energy, sense of relaxation, relief from previous body pain, and increase in flexibility of joints. Some examples of undesirable symptoms include symptoms similar to the flu, rash on the skin, increase in skin blemishes like pimples, overactive bowels in the form of diarrhea, and tiredness.
While the undesirable symptoms sound rather harsh, they signs that your reflexology treatment is working. For example, diarrhea and pimples occur due to the release of toxins from the body. Tiredness and emotional symptoms may also be a result of your body working to regain its balance after cleansing. Are some of these effects unpleasant? Yes. However, symptoms generally only last for around 48 hours, and as an upside, not everyone experiences them.
At the close of your session, your reflexologist will allow you time to reorient yourself prior to your leaving. Be sure that you bring water with you to drink before you leave, and give yourself an additional twenty minutes or so to rest and slowly get up after your session. This is especially important if your appointment is early and you’re going on to work or other commitments after your session.
Additionally, be sure to care for your health, get your rest, and keep a close watch on any and all symptoms you experience. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, or if you have any questions or concerns, call your reflexologist right away. They will be able to recommend at-home practice or stretches, refer rest, or refer you to a medical physician if necessary. Remember that the goal of reflexology is treatment for a medical complaint, so you should experience some positive change in that area. If you feel that you aren’t seeing change, address this issue with your reflexologist so that they can refocus treatment to ensure that your needs are being met.