Reflexology: What your feet say about your body

reflexology of the foot

Historically, people have relied on herbs and spiritual therapies to heal ailments. Practices such as Acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathic, and many more alternative medicines were fairly common back then. Surprisingly, the results of these alternative medicines are so effective that these ancient therapies are still quite popular today. Reflexology foot massage is one of the prominent ancient therapies as well that’s practiced commonly even today.

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is one of the alternative medicine practices that use pressure points on hands, feet and sometimes even ears to relieve stress and pain sensations in our body.

The Idea is to target a particular area or organ, through our hands and feet, to relieve discomfort.

Reflexology school of thought mainly focuses on the concept of ‘Life energy’, which originated from the traditional Chinese concept of ‘Qi or Chi’. It’s believed that when the life force flowing through a body is unsettled; energy flow is blocked causing pain and distress in our body.

Scientists, however, came up with different theories to rationalize the concept. Wherein one school of thought believed Reflexology to be based on Gate control theory of pain, which states that the pain can be blocked through nerves acting as doorways.

While others asserted that Reflexology targets the neurological connection on the surface of the skin to internal organs. However, among all the theories, ‘Zone Theory’ gained much reputation.

Zone theory states that our body is constituted of 10 zones, and every part of the body lies within zones that could be connected via feet and hands.

Through Reflexology foot massage, the practitioner focuses on those zones at our feet, and by applying pressure on a particular zone they relieve the pain in our body. Or in other words, they balance the Qi.

Theories aside, Pseudoscience concepts such as that of alternative medicines are still based on spiritual energies, therefore they can be a bit complicated to comprehend. But for Reflexology foot massage, there are charts and illustrations available online to help us better understand it.

Below is one of those illustrations depicting pressure points in a foot, used in reflexology therapy.

Reflexology Foot Chart

Reflexology foot chart
reflexology foot chart : santa barbara , licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Picture your feet as the blueprint of your body.

If you look at the illustration of the pressure points, this reflexology foot map is displaying different reflex zones all over the sole. Once those zones are perceived, the reflexologist uses thumbs to apply pressure on those points to relieve pain.

While I strongly suggest taking an appointment from the certified reflexologist, the basics points for trivial discomforts can still be applied at home if done correctly.

For instance, if you apply pressure between the balls of heels and ankle—the arc of the foot— it will lessen the stomach ache.

If you move your thumbs slowly on the pinky toe and apply pressure on it, the ear pain should ease up. And if you press the tip of the large toes, the headache should lessen.

Identifying the zones is the key to master the reflexology of the foot. Once you’ve mastered those zones, you’ll be able to reap the tremendous benefits of this therapy.

Benefits of Reflexology Foot Massage

reflexology foot massage

Now that we have a basic understanding of the concept of Reflexology, let’s have a look at some of the benefits.

People often opt for Reflexology foot massage for non-threatening conditions such as Headaches, Insomnia, knee pain, sinus, back pain, indigestion, etc. that are the constant cause of discomfort.

Although most of these medical conditions can be lessened with similar alternative therapies, Reflexology foot massage is still fairly convenient amongst them.

For instance, in acupressure, a similar alternative therapy, the practitioner uses different pressure points on the body using hands or elbows while Reflexology foot massage, on the other hands, is mainly limited to feet making it a preferable choice for a large number of people.

Reflexology has been used to treat chronic conditions as well.  

In 2011, a study was conducted on Reflexology effects on Patients with rheumatoid arthritis in which the treatment was administered to people with different age group and stages of arthritis.

After measuring their results, the researchers were astonished to learn that Reflexology had positive impacts on their quality of life regardless of age and illness period.


To sum up, the sensitive points on our feet are connected to all parts of the body and reflexology foot massage uses those channels to relieve the pain. 

As for the effects, although there are hardly any side effects of this therapy, nevertheless you should consult a certified Reflexologist especially if you are pregnant, have a severe injury, or are under an on-going a treatment already.

A bit of prior knowledge and Prudence is always advisable whenever you are taking on therapy for the first time.

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