Evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Indians all worked on the feet as a tool to encourage good health. Originally known as ‘reflex zone therapy’, Reflexology is a holistic healing method that involves pressure and massage of the reflex points found on the feet and/or the hands. Reflexology is founded on the premise that vital life-force energy is present and moving throughout, and around, the entire body. If the energy becomes blocked or congested the part of the body relating to the blockage is affected. These reflexes found on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands reflect the health of the whole organism. Through stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, and by encouraging the release of toxins, Reflexology supports the entire body in healing itself.A method for ‘activating the healing powers of the body’, modern Reflexology is both a science and an art. As a science, it requires careful study, practice, technical knowledge, and skill. As a healing art, Reflexology works best when the therapist works with patience, dedication, intention, and (most importantly) loving care. Frequently, therapeutic grade essential oils are used on the reflex points — however Reflexology is not a ‘foot massage’. Reflexology does not diagnose or treat specific diseases. Though when combined with sound healing practices, reflexology can facilitate the body’s strong natural impulse towards health and well-being.There are numerous ‘reflex’ sites found on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands that relate to the different energy pathways in the body and consequently reflect the overall well-being of the whole organism. Reflexology works with these energy pathways to assist and revitalize the bodies natural healing mechanisms. Through the proficient stimulation of the various reflex points, particularly with the application of balancing, energizing, or calming essential oils, Reflexology can assist in revitalizing the energy pathways of the body. As the subtle energy pathways are brought into balance, the body is able to returns to its natural rhythms. As energy flows, the entire organism is brought back into alignment. Essential oils can impart their powerful healing action here: Oils have the potential to be relaxing, aligning, stimulating, balancing and more. The best therapists will have a wide selection in their ‘toolkit’, and listen to their intuition to chose the most effective oil for each reflex point.There are many benefits of receiving regular Reflexology sessions including the reduction of stress by inducing deep relaxation. During the session, the body and nervous system are allowed to deeply rest and consequently functions in a more balanced state. As a result, the body moves toward homeostasis and healing can take effect. A fantastic study conducted on soldiers in Israel found that reflexology benefited these ‘soldiers (who were) suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, providing temporary relief from symptoms including anger, depression, and muscle tension. The soldiers who received weekly reflexology treatments also experienced improved sleep patterns, levels of concentration, and an overall lift in mood.’ (Reflexology on the Front Lines of Health Care’, Massage Magazine, November/December 1998). Using a few drops of therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil is an excellent choice for decreasing stress and facilitating relaxation. In addition, Frankincense, Roman Chamomile, and Rose essential oil, are all lovely choices for encouraging relaxation. Choosing the best oil and application location is as easy as listening to your ‘inner guide’. Move slowly, while holding the greatest healing intention, allowing yourself to use the most effective oils on the reflex points which are naturally calling for them.Reflexology can also assist in the cleansing and purification of toxic energy, the revitalization of vigor, and the balance and integration of the natural rhythms of the body. Gravity pulls toxins downward to the feet therefore reflexology is a natural tool for helping to clear this old energy. A skilled reflexologist can pull these impurities from the feet using both proper massage techniques and cleansing, detoxifying essential oils.Soaking the feet in epsom salts with a few drops of essential oils can help to facilitate the release of old energy – this can be done at the completion of a session, or in between sessions. This is a very healing therapy that is safe for elderly, pregnant, and children. Use one-quarter to one-half cup of epsom salts in warm water. Add in three to four drops of essential oils and relax for half an hour. Foot baths are wonderful for those who have been ill or are exhausted. Aromatherapy baths are generally considered safe as long as the essential oils are properly dispersed throughout the water – the essential oils can be diluted in a carrier oil before pouring into the foot bath. Grapefruit, Geranium, and Juniper are all wonderful essential oils for detoxification, and can be used at the same time as oils for relaxation, such as Lavender, Sandalwood or Ylang Ylang.Reflexology stimulates and encourages blood flow to the feet thus helping to nourish all the extremities of the body. Studies have shown that Spruce essential oil is an excellent choice for those with poor circulation. Spruce is non-toxic and non-irritating.Ylang Ylang Sweet Marjoram, and Lavender essential oil have been found to reduce blood pressure. Further, Reflexology is an excellent way to revitalize energy. Low energy levels are often due to accumulations of toxins and energy blockages. Once those are released, uplifting essential oils can be used to restore natural vital energy balance. Bergamot oil is excellent for this, and is the foremost ‘natural anti-depressant’ essential oil. Rosemary is also very uplifting and energizing; other oils can be uplifting and calming at the same time; Black Spruce and Pine (Pinus kessia) are particularly suited for this.Reflexology balances and integrates the body. As energy pathways are opened, strengthened, and brought into balance, the body returns to its natural rhythms. Energy flows. The body, mind, and spirit are brought back into balance. Rose essential oil is a wonderful oil for balancing and integrating the energy pathways of the body. Facilitate this healing by gently anointing your clients/friends feet with Rose and allowing them to bask in the high vibration healing of this beautiful flower. Ylang Ylang essential oil is also lovely for balancing one’s masculine and feminine energies. Note that with all the essential oils, just the smallest amount is necessary to impart their profound healing action; the strength of the aromas should be gentle and pleasant at all times.The practice of reflexology nourishes both the practitioner and the client. When healing occurs, both experience a sense of well-being. This well-being can carry into other areas of the clients and practitioners life and the benefit extends out into the world. Reflexology is profoundly helpful tool in assisting oneself as a practitioner, and one’s client, in becoming vibrantly healthy.