Closeup of oily feet receiving massage

Reflexology is commonly known as the process by which pressure is applied on different parts of the body such as feet, hands, as well as ears.

Reflexology is regarded as an effective means of alleviating stress and certain illnesses.

Reflexology is not just for pleasure but rather, for gaining a healthy lifestyle in terms of mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Reflexology can help in preventing aches and muscle pain and tension, as well as in significantly reducing physical, emotional and mental fatigue.

Benefits of Reflexology Foot Massage

Reflexology foot therapy involves applying pressure to certain points in the feet, which corresponds to various parts of the body to decrease pain and promote good health. But reflexology is more than an enjoyable foot rub. Instead, it’s based on the theory that certain points in the feet and hands are related to different organs and systems in the body. By applying pressure to these points, reflexology can improve the functioning of the systems.

Although reflexology is used to treat a variety of conditions, studies have mostly been done on its effectiveness in treating stress and pain. For example, research conducted by the National Institutes of Health indicated that reflexology might decrease anxiety, stress and sleep problems in some people.

During a reflexology treatment, the practitioner will apply pressure to specific areas of your feet and possibly your hands based on the condition being treated. The pressure may be applied with the fingers, hands or tools, such as rubber balls. Reflexology is considered safe with very little risk of side effects. Some people may experience discomfort if the pressure applied is too hard.

Characteristics of Reflexology

Relaxation ****

Therapeutic **

Intensity: Mild to Strong

Lubrication: Yes

Undressing: No

Tip: Likely

How to interpret the rating scale

Reflex Points on the Foot

Foot Reflex Points

Reflexology is a healing technique based on the theory that reflex areas exist in the feet, hands, and ears that link or refer to particular organs, glands, and other parts of the body.

Hand Reflexology Treatment

Hand Reflexology

While, reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet, it may be administered on hands or ears.

Reflex Points on the Hand

Reflex Points on the Ear

Reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet.

It is a healing technique based on the theory that reflex areas exist in the feet, hands, and ears that link or refer to particular organs, glands, and other parts of the body—for example, the heel corresponds to the low back and intestines, while the ball of the foot corresponds to the heart and chest.  In reflexology, the practitioner applies pressure on reflex areas using his or her hands, without using lotions, creams, or tools.

Where did it come from?

Reflexology has been around for a long time.  There is archeological evidence suggesting the use of reflexology in ancient Egypt, China, and Japan.  Reflexology had a renaissance in Asia in the 1980s, and the practice remains extremely popular there today.

Reflexology came into being in the West in the nineteenth century as European researchers delved into the nervous system and the phenomenon of the reflex.  So-called “reflex therapies” initially were developed for medical use, but soon lost favor to the use of surgery and pharmaceuticals. In the early twentieth century, Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat physician, brought “zone therapy,” a form of reflex therapy, to the U.S.  Physiotherapist Eunice Ingham had developed a reflex area system by 1938.

What are the benefits of reflexology?  How does it work?

Reflexology is relaxing.  It improves circulation, eases pain, and promotes healing throughout the body.

More specifically, reflexology can increase the health of the corresponding organs through the application of pressure to the reflex areas.  It has been shown to benefit individuals suffering from back pain, insomnia, arthritis, sports injuries, hormonal imbalances, menstrual problems, stress, headaches, and digestive complaints.  It has also been demonstrated to reduce aggressive behavior in children, improve blood flow, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce phantom limb pain in amputation patients, ease neuropathy, mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, reduce depression and anxiety, and assist in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum processes.

Reflexology has been successfully used alongside medical treatment in post-operative and palliative (comfort-focused) care.

It is theorized that reflexology may work partly because it works on the nervous system to effectively interrupt stress and pain signals and restore the body to equilibrium.

What is reflexology like?

Reflexology should not hurt.  Tell your reflexologist if you are uncomfortable.  Some areas could be tender, so the reflexologist may want to spend extra time on these areas.  The tenderness should improve as he or she works.

Most reflexology treatments are between 40 and 60 minutes long.  You will start by talking about your health and habits.  Then you will remove your socks and shoes and get comfortable.  You will stay fully clothed other than your feet.  Brisk movements will be used to warm your feet up.  Afterwards, you may feel calm, even drowsy.


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