What is Reflexology?

Posted by on May 16 2012
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Reflexology of the foot

It is believed that reflexology was originated from ancient Egypt as supported by messages found in the physician’s tomb at Saqqara in Egypt.  However, others claimed that reflexology was originated from China around 2700 BCE. Whatever be the case, Dr. Fitzgerald, considered as the Founding Father of Zone Therapy, discovered an interesting fact during his practice of reflexology on his patients.  He discovered that the application of pressure on specific zones of the feet and hands not only relieved pain but in the majority of cases also relieved the root cause as well.

Reflexology, similar to acupuncture, is a unique method of applying pressure on the reflex points of the feet and hands. The difference is that acupuncture uses needles and aromatherapy oils, which are massaged into the acupuncture points, whereas reflexology uses only the acupressure points of the foot soles, and hands.

Basically, all natural relief therapies converge to the idea that sickness is caused by an imbalance, disturbance or a blockage of energy in these channels. Reflexology considers that there are energy currents or meridians running down the length of the body. As a result of stress, badly fitted shoes, wrong posture, lack of exercise etc, the blood circulation to the energy points in the feet slows down; this may cause development of crystals that block the energy terminals in the feet.

During application of reflexology techniques, pressure is applied to reflex zones in the feet and hands corresponding to each and every part and organ of the body. The main purpose of reflexology is to apply pressure on these points so as to correct three specific sources that give rise to the development process of a disease: congestion, inflammation and tension.

Reflex Points of the Hands
Reflexology - Hand Reflex Points

Reflexology Reflex Points

On the feet (top and sole) there are thousands of reflex points that represent the various organs and parts of our body.  On the palm and wrist there are some 45 reflex points, and on the back of the hand 28 reflex points, that represent a particular organ, region, or function of the body.

A combination of reflex points are used during reflexology therapies.

Is Reflexology Safe?

Reflexology is a safe form of natural therapy that uses pressure only – a pressure comfortable to the person receiving the reflexology treatment.  The right amount of pressure applied is important – the pressure must be gentle, regular and firm so that the person is comfortable.  Reflexology has the added advantage of being a very relaxing and pleasant experience.

The consequence of the three specific sources that impact on us during the development process of a disease namely: congestion, inflammation and tension is as follows:

a.     Congested conditions are responsible for bringing about growths.
b.    Inflammatory conditions bring about conditions such as asthma, colitis, bronchitis or sinusitis
c.    Tension is responsible for lowering the efficiency of the immune system

How does Reflexology work?

The feet can be read by someone who has practiced reflexology for some time just as the blind can read braille. The reflexologist can feel the various reflex points, the presence of ‘crystals’ and interpret what is the possible disorders within the person receiving the treatment.  The feet reflect or reveal the condition of the body, they represent the position of the organs on a smaller scale.

In order to establish the location of the affected area, the fingers are used to apply pressure to the foot. The spot where the problem is located is usually sensitive.  The sensitive spot will reflect which part of the body is in poor health. When pressure is applied to a specific reflex zone the person may feel a response on the particular organ.

Working on these reflex zones systematically with pressure and manipulation has three main effects:

a.    Reestablishes the normal functioning of organs and gland in the body
b.    Improves nerve function, lymphatic and venous circulation and blood supply
c.    Brings about a state of relaxation

According to reflexologists there are thousands of nerve endings in each foot, they are all connected to organs or some part of the body. This channel between the foot and a specific part of the body is called a reflex. Due to blockages in the terminal endings of the energy channels, sickness results.

The reflexes are arranged to form a map of the body on the feet and hands.

After diagnosis is made through the feet, therapy is started by massaging specific points on the foot. Only fingers, thumbs and hands are used at the reflex point at an acceptable pressure (not harmful or painful to the feet) to stimulate the organ or gland.  Pressure is applied on the trouble spot and in so doing the blockage is relieved. When the energy channels start opening after 10 - 20 minutes of massage, the body's own healing power is activated. Wherever the pain or sensitivity is felt, indicates where the blockage is located.  Reflexology is known to :

a.    detoxify and stimulate the removal of toxin from the body
b.    helps correct imbalances and malfunctions
c.    revitalizes, rejuvenates and improves circulation

Foot Reflexology Points
Reflexology Points (Foot)

Foot Reflexology Techniques

Start the reflexology massage on the left foot.

Place your hands under the left heel and start massaging the heel to start spinal, lymph fluid and blood circulation. Adjust the pressure applied by asking the person if he/she is comfortable or wishes to have more pressure.

Relaxation Phase

Loosen the foot by massaging it all over slowly.

Use both hands to hold on the ‘spine area’ with the palm of the hands with the fingers on the top of the foot and the thumbs at the bottom.

As a relaxation exercise, little by little twist and squeeze the hands gently so as to twist the ‘spine area’ of the foot for about 10 to seconds each way.

Working on the ‘Spine Area’

Apply pressure up the ‘spine area’ with your thumb from the bottom of the heel to the tip of the big toe.

Apply pressure down the ‘spine area’ with your thumb from the tip of the big toe to the bottom of the heel.

Apply pressure down the ‘spine area’ cross ways from right to left for the entire length of the inside of the foot.

Preparation of the Toes

Hold the base of the toe and move it gently in circular movement.

Hold the toe above the 2nd joint, move the joint in circular movement.

Move the very top joint in circular movement.

Stimulation of the meridian points on the toes.

Support the toe and apply pressure in circular movement (clockwise and anti-clockwise) for 10 to 20 seconds, start with the big toe and complete with the little toe.

Use the thumb to apply gentle but firm pressure – starting with the big toe and ending with the little toe.

Working on the ‘Chest Area’

Use the thumb to gently apply pressure on the ‘chest area’ (the ball of the foot) in an upwards direction. The chest area is the ball of the foot.

Preparation of the Back of the Foot

Use the thumb on the top of the foot to put pressure from the toes to the ankle, one side of the foot to the other side.

Use the thumb to put pressure on the top of the foot from side to side (right to left) of the foot.

Working on the ‘Liver and Stomach Area'

Use the thumb to put pressure on an angle across the area between the ‘chest area’ and above the ‘waistline’, then on the opposite angle across the area.

Working on the ‘Intestinal Area’

Use the thumb to put pressure on an angle across the area between the ‘waistline’ and the ‘pelvic’ area and repeat back across the same area.

Additional reflex points can be found on the reflexology foot chart; note the direction that food circulates through the intestines, use your thumb to apply pressure in the same direction - the direction is different for the left and the right feet!

Working on the ‘Pelvic Area’

Use the thumb to put pressure from left to right of the ‘pelvic’ area

Use the thumb to put pressure on the back of the heel

Complete the reflexology by gently massaging the foot for 1 to 2 minute

Repeat the above steps on the right foot


It is recommended that the person receiving foot reflexology drinks a glass of water after reflexology and to drink plenty of water during the next 24 hours to remove the waste from the blood.

For more information how to go about giving a reflexology massage, watch the video

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3 Responses to “What is Reflexology?”

  1. Its really a nice explanation.I do practice acupressure therapy and find it very useful to get rid of ailments
    cyril recently posted..Techniques to cure sinus problems with acupressure treatment.My Profile

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