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Defining Reflexology Part 1: The Nervous System

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

On the one hand, an organism is similar to a crystalline structure of ordered biomolecules. On the other hand, the essence of life is more similar to a flame, burning matter into energy and dancing not only with organized vitality, but also with an element of unpredictability or chaos.

Lyn Freeman

Most people in the West will first encounter the concept of ‘reflexes’ during a routine doctor’s check-up... we all know the drill and we all know how much children like to adopt the hammer to knee test! But for most people, there’s little else they can tell you about the involuntary reactions which take place throughout their bodies every moment of every day.

Like all the systems in the body, the nervous system is a complex web of connections. However, more than any other, it symbolises the interconnection of the whole body as a largely non-physical flow of information signals. And that's why it has proven such a mystery to Newtonian science and Western medicine.

We know by now that the nervous system extends far beyond the grey matter in our skull and we interpret its function as akin to that of electricity. We also understand that it facilitates all of our conscious movement as well as unconscious ‘autonomic’ reactions.

More recently neuroscience has emphasised the ‘sympathetic’ and ‘parasympathetic’ states or divisions of our involuntary faculties and there's been widespread advice about the importance of relaxation to ease the burden modern life places on the former, our ‘fight of flight’ mode. There are many ways to do this, from a regular meditation practice, to walking in nature, taking an afternoon siesta or using alternative therapies.

These kinds of exercises slow the nervous system, bring more ease to our being and grace to our interactions. Moreover, they grant the natural intelligence of our bodies space to engage in recovery, healing and re-programming in the case of ‘malfunction’ or ill-ness. They rely upon the natural healing power of the body which always seeks homeostasis or balance and is evidenced by cuts that close and bruises that fade.

Reflexology takes things a step further. It deliberately interacts with the interface which governs your body’s autonomic behaviour effectively hacking reflexes and directing the immune system to where it is needed most. It strengthens immunity and supports re-balance. This engagement does not require nor benefit from the use of clinical terminology. Treatment is adapted according to the current symptom(s) and a conversation is initiated between mind and body.

The list of ailments Reflexology helps to heal is endless, overdose is impossible and the often incredible results reflect nothing less than your innate intelligence. So why isn't everyone using it? As such an elusive technology, this genre has been widely misrepresented worldwide meaning even long-practicing Reflexologists struggle to explain the work that they do. And no wonder, many who have received treatment understand how difficult it is to articulate the experience of your nervous system in motion... In this four part mini-series I'll offer my perspective to simplify and inform.

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