When I first began my reflexology career, I gave no consideration at all to the notion of different types of reflexology. In fact, I had a single focus – I was very passionate about giving and receiving reflexology. I experienced a heightened sense of well-being after receiving reflexology, which I have come to know as homeostasis or balance. And more importantly, my friends and family enjoyed receiving reflexology, as well. It was – and still is – a real win-win situation! Little did I know at that time how different types of reflexology would affect my reflexology practice.
Over time, as my career began to take shape and my clientele’ began to grow, I began providing reflexology treatments for clients who’d experienced reflexology prior to seeing me for reflexology. On business trips and vacations they’d taken to places such as Australia, China, Thailand, South Africa, Philippines and virtually every country in Europe, clients would report reflexology treatments they’d received that were “different” – some for better and some for worse – than the one they were receiving from me. There didn’t seem to be anything specific that made it different and they couldn’t necessarily describe the difference, but in their opinion, it most definitely “felt” different.
This intrigued me. So, following my natural curiosity and my desire to learn as much as I could about my chosen profession, I made it my mission to discover what these different types of reflexology were and how they differed from one another. I felt this would not only further my reflexology education, but would also allow me to craft treatments geared toward a particular style in order to accommodate my clients individual needs. While I knew about foot reflexology, hand reflexology and outer ear reflexology, I would find much more as I pursued the reflexology information trail.
Searching For The Roots Of Reflexology
Initially, information gathering proved to be somewhat fruitless. Not only was there little information regarding different types of reflexology, but the information that was available didn’t effectively explain or delineate any appreciable contrast between styles. There were numerous opinions regarding whether or not lotions or tools should be used with reflexology. I also found varying opinions on the amount of finger and thumb pressure to be used and the subsequent benefits of reflexology. And, most frustrating of all, the most effective duration for a reflexology treatment was in dispute! Should a treatment last for an hour or two hours? Should an elderly client receive a shorter treatment than someone younger? Is a half-hour enough time to receive the full benefits of reflexology?
My educational endeavors and altruistic ideology of being a reflexologist who served the masses on their journeys toward health and wellness, had been diluted with practitioner opinion and controversy. And although I felt a twinge of discouragement, I was committed to exploring and researching as many types of reflexology as I could possibly find.
The Controversy Surrounding Different Types Of Reflexology
I had to know more, so I delved deeper.
My research led me to discover many pioneers in the field of reflexology, who’d had types of reflexology named after them.
There were references to:
- The Eunice Ingham Method
- The Rwo Shur Method by Father Josef
- The William Fitzgerald Method or Zone Therapy – the beginning of modern-day reflexology
- The Ann Gillanders Method
- The Beryl Crane Method
- The Inge Dougans Method
- The Kevin Kunz Method - emphasizing reflexology research
- The Dwight Byers Method
- The Bill Flocco Method or Auricular Reflexology
Virtually all of these “pioneers” have books written on the subject of reflexology. Many of which go into great detail, articulating the benefits of their particular types of reflexology. And, all of these reflexology professionals have a deep-seated belief in what they do and how they do it. I began to understand the nuances and stylistic differences in types of reflexology, but I wanted to know more. What led these reflexologists to practice these particular types of reflexology? I continued my research.
I then found references to so-called alternative methods, which would ultimately lead me to rethink reflexology as a whole. These types of reflexology inspired me greatly, and I had to know more. These are referred to as esoteric or energetic types of reflexology:
- Chakra Reflexology
- Meridian Reflexology
- Energy Reflexology
- Soul-Based Reflexology
- Intuitive Reflexology
- Phantom Limb Reflexology
- Past Life Regression Reflexology
- Full-Spectrum Reflexology
- Vibrational Reflexology
This discovery and these so-called “alternative” approaches took me down the path of Body, Mind and Soul.
But there was still more…
As I continued to research, I discovered a few non-traditional types of reflexology:
- Vertical Reflexology – performed while the client is standing
- Facial Reflexology – based on reflexology maps on the face
- Body Reflexology – the entire body is mapped for reflexology
- Medical Reflexology – where reflexology is practiced in hospitals as a stand-alone healing regimen
These types of reflexology fell outside the traditional arena of practicing reflexology, but held an allure for me because of the uniqueness of the approach.
Next, there were the geographic referenced styles (to name only a few):
- Australian Reflexology
- Chinese Reflexology
- Thai Reflexology
- Philippine Reflexology
- Japanese Reflexology
- Indian Reflexology
- South African Reflexology
- UK Reflexology
- Netherlands Reflexology
Lastly, there were the schools that taught their own, respective reflexology methods. And while the schools themselves were not necessarily named to reflect the types of reflexology taught, in their curriculum descriptions could be found with an emphasis on the style and method taught.
Types Of Reflexology And The Determined Reflexologist
I came to the conclusion that although many different types of reflexology exist, they are all based on similar techniques and theories of the “connected” body, which were then modified to suit the individual reflexologist and their clients.
It became clear, that as a reflexologist I had a bit of creative license when it came to practicing my craft. There were most definitely rules and laws by which I needed to abide, however I began to work with the research I’d performed by applying a synergistic approach to my reflexology practice. The “Body” component of a reflexology treatment is technique driven and I soon had that mastered.
Working with the feet, hands and ears is similar to playing a musical instrument. You get the feel for it and it soon becomes second nature. And theoretically, the more you do it, the better you become. This is quite true in reflexology. But once the techniques were dedicated to memory and subsequently applied, there was a need to bring in a dynamic element, or basically, to bring more than just the techniques to my sessions.
I then began to incorporate the “Mind & Soul” components. This became the foundation for my style of reflexology, which I call Dynamic Reflexology. Combining the multiple aspects of our total being into my reflexology practice proved very humbling and empowering. My clients opened up to it immediately and I began making personal discoveries as I implemented these methodologies into my clients reflexology treatments. This would be the approach to providing a reflexology treatment that embraced the needs of my clients and proved to be the missing link for my practice to really take off – and I’ve never looked back.
I now realize I had synergized the types of reflexology I had discovered and, in which, I had found the most value for my own chosen style. In essence, I had developed my own style and could now include it along with the other types of reflexology I had so diligently researched.
Types Of Reflexology: Final Thoughts
Every client is different and every reflexology practitioner is different. So, it makes sense there will be many different types of reflexology. Every reflexology treatment should be tailor-made to the client’s needs and the reflexologist’s training, ability and desired approach. Ideally, these variables can be matched, merged and resolved into a reflexology session that will result in one of the most wonderful and healthy experiences someone can have in their life.
I encourage anyone who is considering reflexology to interview a few reflexologists in order to determine which one they feel will serve them best; who understands the aforementioned criteria for creating a customized reflexology treatment; and who can be flexible in their application of different types of reflexology.