Reflexology, sometimes called zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion.
In practice, the term more narrowly refers to massage, a service that is still under-demanded in Rwanda, according to Gerald Ruzindana, a reflexologist at Mastmate Natural Health Care in Kicukiro district, Kigali.
“This is a new industry and people have not yet known much about how it works. But, people who have for instance tried it out, especially those who have been abroad, or been recommended to use it, know how it works,” Ruzindana says.
Reflexology is built on the fact that there is a special effect in touching, which is evidenced by the special bond between a baby and a mother and our common life experiences.
Ivan Kageruka, a local businessman who goes for massage at Sky Hotel in Kigali says; “It makes you relax the stress. Sometimes I pass by my favorite massage spot when I am stressed but leave the place refreshed.”
“It is even interesting how you feel good when you are being massaged. It sometimes gets emotional, and all in all works like magic,” Kageruka says.
Apart from feeling good and relieving stress, Ruzindana notes that reflexology is a primary cure to some of the diseases like nerve infections and others in the body. Reflexologists note that there are specific reflex areas of correspondence in the body.
“Someone can be having pressure of the nerves and the effect is felt in legs, where they can maybe swell, but the massage is done a different part of the body which has been seen to have correspondence with the affected part,” he says.
Though reflexology is a simple natural and invasive touch therapy, sometimes, herbal medicine is applied to treat some of the infections involved.
Ruzindana however reveals that the herbal medicine application has no side effects since it is natural, compared to some medical procedures that are biased, like x-rays, syringes, et cetera.
With the development of reflexology in Rwanda, Ruzindana hopes that people will ultimately spend less, get natural and effective treatment that would replace the medical doctor’s prescribed syrup or tablets at certain points.