There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one's qi. Reflexologists divide the body into ten equal vertical zones, five on the right and five on the left. Concerns have been raised by medical professionals that treating potentially serious illnesses with reflexology, which has no proven efficacy, could delay the seeking of appropriate medical treatment.
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Since ancient times, hot stones have been used for both physical and spiritual healing. Hot Stone Massage not only dispels tensions and soothes the soul but also enhances lymph flow, removes toxins, and fortifies the immune system. The treatment causes blood vessels to dilate, leading to improved circulation and consequently improved oxygen, nutrient, antibody, and protective cell supply to the area of the body under the stones. It is extremely effective for joint problems, back pain, and sore muscles.
After purchasing Art Riggs book 'Deep Tissue Massage' (German edition: Tiefen-Gewebsmassage), I decided to order the DVD set as well, because there is nothing better than techniques actually seeing being performed after reading the book. For all massage therapists who cannot physically attend a seminar or workshop on deep tissue massage, this DVD set is definitely one of the best investments they can make. Fantastic material, outstanding teacher! It's a pity we don't have such great video material in German. And here is a further insider's tip for massage therapists who would like or already offer chair massage: the comprehensive DVD set 'Seated Therapeutic Massage' and the book 'Therapeutic Chair Massage' both by Ralph R. Stephens.
Practices resembling reflexology may have existed in previous historical periods. Similar practices have been documented in the histories of China and Egypt. Reflexology was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872–1942), an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and Edwin F. Bowers. Fitzgerald claimed that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body. It was modified in the 1930s and 1940s by Eunice D. Ingham (1889–1974), a nurse and physiotherapist. Ingham claimed that the feet and hands were especially sensitive, and mapped the entire body into "reflexes" on the feet, renaming "zone therapy" reflexology. "Modern reflexologists use Ingham's methods, or similar techniques developed by the reflexologist Laura Norman."
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Pre-event massage is given shortly before an athlete competes. It consists mainly of brisk effleurage to stimulate and warm the muscles and petrissage to help muscles move fluidly and to reduce muscle tension. Effleurage is generally a relaxing stroke , but when done briskly it is stimulating. As the massage progresses, the pressure increases as the massage therapist uses percussive strokes and cupping to stimulate the muscles to contract and flex. The part of the body being massaged varies from sport to sport, although leg and back muscles are common targets for this type of massage.
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The researchers also note there are psychological benefits for athletes receiving massages, which other research shows can include improved focus and confidence. Although more research is still needed on a long-term scale, both tissue healing and the psychological effects of massages are areas that seem promising for both professional and recreational athletes.