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"Spice It Up" Reflexology Treatment

By: Darlene Fiske
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, is introducing a new treatment this winter designed to recharge guests after a long day of cold-weather activities that include ice-skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Barbara Stirewalt, spa director, created the “Spice It Up!” Reflexology treatment to complement the holiday ambiance that guests experience at the facility. It combines the traditional techniques of reflexology with a light application of holiday-scented oils, including ginger, frankincense, orange and juniper berry.


According to the foundational principle of reflexology, called zone theory, energy streams through the body in 10 vertical zones. Pressing into a reflexology zone on the hands or feet balances the flow of energy throughout the related body zone.

Reflexology encourages muscles to relax and blood vessels to dilate, reducing circulatory restrictions. The uninhibited blood flow delivers abundant oxygen and nutrients to all cells, and transports toxins to organs that are responsible for elimination. Reflexology also works through the nervous system. Applying deep pressure alleviates congestion in nerve endings, enhancing circulation in the hands and feet, and soothing areas throughout the body that are connected to the cleared nerves.

Reflexology improves energy flow, blood circulation and nerve function, strengthening the body’s natural healing processes and restoring total balance. Most sessions are relaxing and inspire mental clarity, as well as physical relief. Particular attention should be given to large intestine four, often referred to as “the wellness point.” It is located on the hand and is considered one of the most powerful points in the body. Focusing on this area is useful for balance, elimination, motion sickness, sinus relief and encouragement. On the foot, spleen six, with a high concentration of female meridian intersections, also should be given special attention. It helps to balance circulation, as well as relieve menstrual and lower-back pain.

Holiday-scented oils

The oils used in combination with the hand and foot treatment provide additional benefits.

  • Ginger—Warming, toning, pain relief, strengthens the immune system
  • Frankincense—Anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant, enhances concentration
  • Orange (sweet)—Natural antiseptic, uplifting, soothing
  • Juniper berry—Circulatory stimulant, detoxifying, refreshing