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What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet and/or hands.


History of Reflexology

Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor,introduced this concept of "zone therapy" in 1915. Americanphysiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed this zone theory in the 1930's into what is now knows as reflexology.


Eunice Ingham believed that certain areas on the hands and feet were linked to other areas and organs of the body and incorporated it into the modern practice of reflexology.


How does reflexology work?

The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are "reflex" areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body.


For example:

  • the tips of the toes reflect the head
  • the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
  • the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot
  • low back and intestines are towards the heel.


A scientific explanation is that the pressure may send signals that balance the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce pain and stress.


What will I feel?

Most people find reflexology for the most part to be very relaxing.


Reflexology shouldn't be painful. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell the reflexologist. He or she should work within your comfort zone.


Some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points. The soreness should decrease with pressure.


If you're ticklish, not to worry. The reflexologist applies firm pressure to the feet.


Why do people get Reflexology?

  • Stress and stress-related conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive disorder
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive problems, such as constipation
  • Back pain



What are the benefits of Reflexology?

  • Promotes relaxation
  • improves circulation,
  • reduces pain,
  • soothes tired feet
  • encourages overall healing


Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care. A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.


What is a typical reflexology treatment like?

A typical treatment is 45 minutes to 60 minutes long and begins with a consultation about your health and lifestyle.


You are then asked to remove your shoes and socks and sit comfortably in a reclining chair or on a massage table. Otherwise you remain fully clothed.


The reflexologist will assess the feet and then stimulates various points to identify areas of tenderness or tension.


Lotion or oil may be used.


How will I feel after?

Most people feel calm and relaxed after a treatment. They may even feel sleepy. Occasionally, people feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is only temporary and is considered to be part of the healing process.



If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor first and let the reflexologist know.


Be sure to give the reflexologist a complete and accurate health history.


If you have foot ulcers, injury, or blood vessel disease such as blood clots, consult your doctor before having reflexology.