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Vitaflex is a type of body work which is supposed to clear the nerve pathways, eliminating blockages caused by toxins and damaged tissue. It is closely related to reflexology, a technique which relies on specific pressure points in the hands and feet, and is often offered as part of another massage technique, such as raindrop massage. Certification in vitaflex is offered by several massage schools, and some massage therapists also use educational tapes and books to learn the technique.
According to Stanley Burroughs, the developer of vitaflex, the body is covered in numerous pressure points which correspond with specific parts of the body. This is clearly borrowed from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which also relies on such pressure points. Burroughs believed that by stimulating these pressure points with a specific massage technique, a massage therapist could create an electrical impulse which would run along the patient's nerve to the desired point of the body.
Most therapists who offer vitaflex use essential oils in the process, focusing on vitaflex points in the feet and hands, which means that clients may remain seated and fully clothed for the session, although lying down can promote relaxation. The therapist applies essential oil to the desired point or to his or her hand, and then uses a gentle rolling motion with the fingers to stimulate the nerves. The pressure is light to medium, making vitaflex suitable for older people and people with sensitive bodies.
”Vitaflex” is a portmanteau of “vitality” and “reflexes,” suggesting that this massage technique is supposed to stimulate the reflexes through massage to promote greater vitality. A vitaflex session can certainly help a client relax, and in the hands of a skilled practitioner, tension in various parts of the body may released. Whether or not a noticeable electric charge is generated is another matter. With the use of essential oils, the practitioner may also be able to improve the client's emotional state, as some essential oils appear to act as mood agents.
This technique is sometimes incorporated into other massage styles by massage therapists who like to create their own techniques. It is also an important part of raindrop massage, in which a patient lies face-down on a massage table while essential oils are dripped onto the back and then rubbed in using the vitaflex technique. Raindrop massage is supposed to help realign the spine, benefiting the client's posture and hopefully resolving some back pains.
So, in other words, it's quackery.
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