What is reflexology useful for?
Reflexology is useful for any number of conditions and I regularly use it alongside remedial massage as I find it enhances the effectiveness of the treatment and I also use it with acupuncture as a session can be carried out while the needles are in. Reflexology is used to help many conditions, but has gained particular notoriety in assisting with fertility issues.
Reflexology seems particularly of benefit in infertility cases where blocked fallopian tubes are suspected. As a naturopath, I would always recommend a nutritional approach for fertility issues and also acupuncture, but there is a reflex point for the fallopian tubes and there is no other way I know of to actually address blocked fallopian tubes directly. Reflexology seems to give us this ability to almost 'massage' internally. I often use reflexology in this way - combined with other modalities and I find it of immense use, clinically.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is the practice of rubbing the sole of the patient's feet to assist a separate part of the body. I know, sounds bonkers, but I find it effective and there is increasing research to support its use for a variety of conditions. When we massage the feet we can feel tiny 'crunchy' deposits under the skin - like grains. The patient can feel this as these areas are more tender than other areas. We know that these are deposits of unmetabolised waste-products that get laid down in the feet. By rubbing with our thumbs or fingers we can break up these deposits, which can then be excreted via the organs of elimination - colon, kidney, sweat, etc - so much is easily provable. What we cannot explain, however, is why there appears to be a 'map' on the foot on which all the systems and organs of the whole body are mirrored or reflected.
Is it effective?
By breaking up the deposits we seem able to resolve problems in these, seemingly unconnected, areas. I know it sounds far-fetched, but I have massaged enough backs and the feet that go with them to know there is an absolute pattern! What is more, when a patient attends with, say, tension and pain in specific areas and I rub their feet they are often dumbfounded at the strong correlation with their issues and the respective reflexes on their feet! There is growing evidence to demonstrate clinical effectiveness for all manner of conditions: http://reflexologyresearch.net/
And remember, whilst it is frustrating to our curious minds, not being able to explain a mechanism of action doesn't mean there isn't one.