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Reflexology is a holistic, ancient healing art and 21st Century science – as such, it aims to treat the whole person (mind, body and spirit) with the gentle spark of the body’s natural healing processes.  Your feet and hands are maps of the physical body and subtle energies (Chi and meridian system) connected to nerve and meridian pathways (energy channels or circuits).  Small reflex points correspond to different body areas, organs and glands.  By applying deep pressure and healing techniques directly to specific points, energy pathways are unblocked, creating a more uninterrupted flow of Chi and natural balance.

Reflexology treatments are like body tune-ups.  Among the many benefits are inducing deep relaxation, releasing toxins and wastes, boosting the immune system, restoring energy vitality and helping with the recovery from injury, illness or surgery.  Some common concerns include inflammation, allergies, low energy, depression, chronic or acute pain, high stress and body system imbalances (such as endocrine, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, immune and urinary).  It is a complimentary therapy that can be used in unison with other holistic and alternative services, integrative and conventional medicine.

Where West Meets East

In Zone Therapy (traditional Western approach to Reflexology developed in late 19th and early 2Oth centuries), the body is divided into 10 vertical (longitudinal), neurological and energy zones.  Each zone extends from the head, ending in the toes and fingers.  All muscles, glands, organs and body systems lie within these zones.  The reflex points located on the feet and hands reflect a mapping of the body and its systems.  Using direct pressure techniques, massaging the reflex points on the feet and hands can spur mental, emotional, physical health and well-being throughout the entire body.  It helps to unblock nerve pathways (bio-physical energy channels), bringing a more uninterrupted flow of energy and natural balance. 

Neurological, bio-chemical and electro-magnetic responses (electrochemical impulses) are brought on by the therapeutic effects of Reflexology treatments. Reflex responses can stimulate the lymph and circulatory systems.  This promotes a clearing of energy blocks, removing toxins and breaking down crystallized deposits through the body’s elimination systems.  In essence, the physical body is closely connected to (separate and overlapping), highly energized by and dependent upon the subtle energies for balancing body functions, cellular activity and sparking the body’s natural healing processes.  While the nervous system is the central focus of Zone Therapy, the endocrine system provides a vital link between the physical and etheric bodies.  The endocrine system, the body’s chemical system, guides most body functions in concert with the nervous system.  In addition, each of 7 endocrine glands (among them adrenal, thyroid, pituitary and pineal) interconnects with a related Chakra and major nerve center.

Chinese Reflexology has evolved over thousands of years.  It is considered a preventive health option and cure in Chinese energy medicine.  In the meridian system (subtle energies) all body areas, glands and organs are linked by meridian channels that run through the entire body, unifying all of its parts into one human organism.  Each of seven Chakras (energy vortexes) receives and distributes Chi to the body.  Chi (major life force and underlying source of energy vitality) flows through the meridian channels integrating with acupoints, energetic streams (Nadis), Governing and Conception Vessels (main rivers of energy), the 12 major organ meridians (bilateral) and the physical body.  According to the 4,500 year old Nei Ching (Chinese medical journal), “Chi circulates along meridian channels similar to the pathways of the blood, lymph and nerve circuits in the body….”  Six of the twelve major organ meridians (along with their respective reflex points) pass through the feet.  These points and the Chakras have specific locations on the feet, allowing the Reflexologist to work the body’s major nerve centers, systems, meridians and Chakras.  In the East and West, modern science has measured and observed meridian channels and Chi through thermal, electromagnetic and radioactivity, among others).  Acupuncture and reflex points have been monitored to identify the location of imbalances in organs and body systems.  This process has been done successfully by electrographic scans and other modern technologies, as well as foot readings by highly-skilled Reflexologists.  Recent Chinese studies have revealed the discovery of a high concentration of adrenal hormones in meridian fluids, proving a strong, direct bio-physical link between the endocrine and meridian systems.

Reflexology is a universal option for better health and natural balance in that it touches the mind-body connection, subtle energies and psyche of the client; it can be blended with any wellness strategy.  Recent American, Chinese and European studies have shown that clients with chronic or acute health problems (pain, inflammatory conditions and the like) benefit the most from regular treatments.

Some Benefits of Foot & Hand Reflexology

  • Opens Nerve & Meridian Pathways
  • Reduces Chronic & Acute Pain
  • Deep Relaxation & Rest
  • Helps Release Toxins & Wastes
  • Lymph Flush & Immune Booster
  • Relieves Sinuses & Allergies
  • Promotes Energy Vitality & Balance
  • Eases Headaches & Migraines
  • Lowers Inflammation
  • Lessens Computer Strain
  • Joint Mobility & Movement
  • Helps Blood Circulation
  • Plantar Faciitis & Other Foot Conditions
  • Speeds Recovery-Illness, Injury, Surgery

By:  Ken Orr, LMT & Reflexologist

copyright  2006-2011, Massaging Dallas.  All rights reserved.

Contact Information:              972-238-5145/469-358-8451          

The material contained herein is provided for information and educational purposes.  It is not intended as medical advice.  Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) do not: (1) diagnose illness, disease, or any other physical/mental disorder; (2) prescribe medical treatment or pharmaceuticals; (3) perform spinal manipulations. LMTs and Massage Therapy are not a substitute for medical examinations or diagnosis.  Consult with a physician or certified alternative health care provider when you may have an injury, illness, disease or other health concerns.  All client information is held in strict confidence.

Massage Therapy: What’s Real & What’s Myth

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By: Ken Orr, LMT & Reflexologist


The Real & Mythical

What’s real about massage?  Over 45 million adult Americans use massage services annually.  Less than half of all adult Americans have experienced a massage in their lifetimes.  The U.S. lags behind many other countries where massage is considered a trusted and useful medical option.  An estimated 25 million more adult Americans receive massages every year than ten years ago. Several studies conducted during 2009-2010 revealed that consumer demand for massage has declined since 2008.  This is due, in large part, to the economic slump.  According to an American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) annual study, only 10% of male adult Americans received at least one massage last year, compared to 18% in 2009.  In contrast, 25% of women had massages, a 1% decline since 2009.  During 2010, 18% of adult Americans scheduled at least one massage, down from 22% the prior year and the lowest participation since 2004.


A 2009 study by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) indicated that 1 in 6 adult Americans received a massage.  From 2004-2007 there was a sharp rise in adult males choosing massage.  A big decline in doctors’ visits and affordability issues were major causes of the recent decrease in male participation.  Most people are motivated to get massages through medical recommendations and cashing in on gifts.  Both consumer surveys consistently found that the vast majority of Americans view massage favorably and know something about its benefits.  Some 85% of adult Americans expressed positive feelings about Massage Therapists and their most recent massage.   Of all adult Americans, 8 in 10 agree that massage benefits health and wellness.


Why do they get massages?


  • (1)    4 in 10 for stress relief
  • (2)    Over one-third, relaxation and restoration
  • (3)    One-third, relief from pain and sore muscles
  • (4)    About one-third use gifts
  • (5)    8 in 10 had favorable massage experiences


Recent surveys suggest that during a 12 month period only a small percentage of clients schedule massages on a regular basis.  Considerable research shows that frequent sessions can greatly enhance therapeutic benefits and result in more lasting therapeutic effects.


  • (1)    Over half had 1-2 sessions over 12 months
  • (2)    Less than 10% scheduled 1-2 times monthly
  • (3)    4 in 10 clients booked 3-11 sessions annually


In August 2005, Consumer Reports (CR) declared “Alternative medicine has come of age”.  The CR study was drawn from a survey of 34,000 readers (largely higher income, older and well educated).  Massage was particularly effective treating stress, chronic pain, anxiety, muscle tightness and soreness, depression, inflammation, high blood pressure and recovery from illness, injury and surgery.  During the last decade many studies have concluded that massage has emerged as the top alternative remedy for a variety of health concerns, surpassing chiropractic care and physical therapy.  Findings from a 10 week study (2011) conducted by Oregon Health & Science University strongly suggests that regular massages (structural or relaxation) are more effective for helping chronic back pain sufferers than the usual conventional approaches.  Two-thirds of the massage group showed substantial improvement compared to only one-third who had the usual treatment plans.  With only a 10 week massage plan, some of the positive effects were gone after six months; all of the benefits after a year.


What’s myth about massage?  Although massage is rooted in human history dating back thousands of years, today many people share misconceptions and myths about massage therapy.  This lack of understanding stems from preconceived notions and cultural myths.  Not long ago, the common public perceptions of massage were described as pampering and pleasure-oriented.  In recent years, massage has slowly entered into the mainstream with volumes of research on health benefits; the proliferation of massage schools, spas and storefront massage businesses; the slow acceptance of alternative health practices by the corporate medical community and insurance companies; mass exposure in the media; and the continued growth of the holistic and natural health movements.


As more people are making their own choices about personal health and wellness (embracing wellness plans and making more health-conscious decisions), it is vitally important to educate oneself about natural and alternative health options.  Massage is one of those choices that can help a person reach for better health, vitality and well-being; provide stress relief and pain management; address specific health issues; speed recovery from illness, injury and surgery; in-grain self-improvement and self-help in one’s thinking; promote positive changes in mind, body and subtle energies.  Abundant research indicates that massage is a natural way for relaxing and restoring yourself, energizing one’s spirit and resting the mind and body.  Although U.S. clinical research on the therapeutic benefits of massage was seriously lacking until the 1990s, there are 130 years of Western research (mostly in Europe) and hundreds of years in the East (mostly Chinese).  Some argue that evidence dates back thousands of years in ancient cultures.


Myth:  Massage therapy is a luxury.  Many people still describe massage as pampering, a feel-good experience, or a luxury.  In fact, less than 10% of those receiving massages perceive it as a necessity in life (regular sessions).  Some other findings: Massage helps to release toxins and wastes; relieve allergies and headaches; boost the immune system; release lymph drainage; enhance emotional well-being; increase energy vitality; promote restful sleep; lessen computer strain; improve joint mobility and posture; enhance job performance.


Myth:  It costs too much.  In this economy, look for discount deals from experienced Massage Therapists who have extensive knowledge and expertise.  When you make it a personal and budget priority, ask for payment plan options.  Depending on your insurance policy or requirements for health expense accounts, you may be reimbursed for the massages.


Myth: “I felt bad (or got sick) after a massage.  I won’t get one again.”  Common responses to massage are brief soreness, detox process with nausea, dizziness or other minor symptoms.  The initial reaction to a massage is often deep relaxation, followed by an energized feeling or the need to sleep or rest.  The latter usually indicates that you are in overload.  When you experience an ill feeling after a session, it is likely that you are processing toxins and wastes or bringing an existing problem to the surface.  Clients who are given conventional cancer treatments may have intense detox symptoms and sick feelings after a session.  In this case, it’s best to have a doctor’s approval for massages and decide when the massage is most appropriate for the healing process.


Some Journal Entries On The Benefits Of Massage       


Spinal Cord Injuries: Improved functional abilities; range of motion and muscle strength.

International Journal of Neuroscience, 2002


Pregnant Women: Reduced pain; alleviated prenatal depression; improved spousal relations; lowered early delivery dates.   Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 2008


Company Employees: Over 100 employees received regular massage sessions (on-site Chair Massage, Foot or Hand Reflexology) for 6-12 month periods.  Each person scheduled 30-45 minute sessions once every 1-2 weeks.  Reduced job stress; better attitude and performance; improved posture and joint mobility; decreased pain and discomfort from computer strain; enhanced mental alertness; improved finger dexterity and hand movements.   Independent Study by Kenneth Orr, LMT, 2002-2009


Breast Cancer: Reduced anxiety and depression; improved immune function including lymph system.

Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2003


Fibromyalgia: Improved sleep patterns; decreased pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression; lower cortisol levels.  Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 1996, Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 2003


Wellness, Stress & Well-Being


Massage therapy can be used with any wellness or fitness plan.  It works effectively as a complimentary therapy in unison with conventional, alternative or holistic approaches to health issues.   It can help motivate people to improve diet, exercise programs and make other positive lifestyle changes.  To put it simply, stress is a factor in everyone’s life.  The cumulative negative effects of stress have been well documented.  Over 80% of all diseases and illnesses are linked to stress as a primary or secondary factor.  Among others, poor concentration, chronic pain, body system imbalances, lowered immune system, emotional and physical discomfort, burnout and unhappiness are manifestations of stress.  Consistent use of massage services (whether it is Table Massage, Reflexology, Chair Massage or other healing arts) can reinforce its benefits.  Your quality of life, overall health and well-being can be enhanced by using regular massage services.  Massage Therapy typically gives you short term relief of symptoms and the benefits are cumulative over time.  Your quality of life, overall health and wellness can be greatly improved with regular massage sessions.


Ken Orr is a local LMT & Reflexologist who has a practice in the Dallas area.

Business phone: 972-238-5145




2011 ©   Kenneth Orr, LMT      All Rights Reserved


The material contained in this article is provided for information and educational purposes.  It is not intended as medical advice.  Licensed Massage Therapists (LMTs) do not: (1) diagnose illness, disease, or any other physical/mental disorder; (2) prescribe medical treatment or pharmaceuticals; (3) perform spinal manipulations.  LMTs and Massage Therapy are not a substitute for medical examinations or diagnosis.  Consult with a physician or alternative health practitioner when you may have a disease, illness, injury or related health issues.  All client information is held in strict confidence.