Reflexology For Orthopedic Conditions


Broken Bones and Joints

Several years ago I received a free trial treatment of reflexology during the aftermath of a compound fracture with a severe additional sprain to one ankle. After four and a half months, I left a wheelchair behind, but still had some swelling that would not allow the joint to move freely.

The reflexology treatment worked so well that I needed no further treatments of any kind.

It is logical to see that reflexology, a type of massage and trigger point therapy that works in the same manner as acupressure, might work very well in cases of joint damage and muscle stiffness.

The question of efficacy enters when considering its effects in cases other physical and mental heath conditions. Numerous studies have shown various and opposing results, but the Mayo Clinic has written that reflexology may have some benefit.

Reflexology massage shoes that many of my friends and I have used with good results.
Reflexology massage shoes that many of my friends and I have used with good results. | Source
adidas Women's adissage Slide,Black/Black/Running White,9 M US
adidas Women's adissage Slide,Black/Black/Running White,9 M US

These shoes massage many of the same points that my reflexology sessions targeted. Thus, tightness and stiffness disappear.


Anyone that wants to try it should not be discouraged by others. It the application of this complimentary treatment alternative can lower healthcare costs the the over-use of pain medications, then reflexology proves itself even more effective.

Some individuals suspect alternative therapies to be a part of a system that is in direct opposition to their faith and religious beliefs. Any with related concerns is best advised to interview alternative health practitioners and decide for themselves before submitting to any treatment - allopathic or alternative, for that matter.

Patients should not be discouraged from pursuing alternative and complimentary medicine, but neither should they be forced to accept any treatment against their informed wishes.

Reflexology and Massage

At the same time, nursing instructors have informed me that nursing students were once taught massage therapy as part of their LPN and RN training programs, but no more. Massage provides such a number of benefits, that perhaps massage should be reinstalled as part of the nursing curriculum nationwide.

An enlightening conference presentation from a massage patient in 2005 showed how daily foot and leg massage helped her after suffering two broken ankles in a fall. She was in her late 40s and was expected to require several weeks or months to recover fully.

Several women from her church visited her daily to provide company and to massage both of her feet, ankles and legs. Within 4 to 5 weeks, this patient was fully recovered and back to work without mobility aides. This is but one example, but it presents a good testimony for extremity massage in a case of bilateral ankle break.

The massage that is known as Medical Massage, Swedish Massage, or Deep Tissue Massage is accepted as useful and effective for a number of conditions throughout the USA. Reflexology, at least in its mechanics, is a similar type of deep tissue massage that includes trigger-point therapy, which I have used successfully. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity of receiving additional training through workshops in Swedish massage by a long-time area professional.

Reflexology is Recommended to Medicaid and Medicare Patients

Some Benefits of Reflexology

Reflexology Job Openings Peaked in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and began to rise again in 2015.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jobs are still open in reflexology in 2015.Podiatry (medical foot treatments) surged in 2009 and 2015, increasing again during Summer 2015. A rise in Reflexology jobs should follow.
Jobs are still open in reflexology in 2015.
Jobs are still open in reflexology in 2015. | Source
Podiatry (medical foot treatments) surged in 2009 and 2015, increasing again during Summer 2015. A rise in Reflexology jobs should follow.
Podiatry (medical foot treatments) surged in 2009 and 2015, increasing again during Summer 2015. A rise in Reflexology jobs should follow. | Source

Job Market In Reflexology: Salaries Increase

Although reflexology is not controlled by the federal government, some healthcare practitioners often welcome individuals with reflexology training and proven skills into their practices.

In addition, job listings gathered from all sources on the Internet by Indeed and SimplyHired include openings coast to coast, although not in the same numbers as "Physical Therapist."

The fact that job openings are available that include reflexology training is a reinforcement for the possibility that it is useful, at least for some health conditions. Even the US Army posted LPN positions that involved some reflexology skills.

During March 2010, approximately 600 job listings mentioned reflexology skills and During October 2015, the number of such job listings was over 500 in the United States and about 50 in Canada.


  • During 2010, most of these salaries fell into the range of $20,000 - $59,000 per year.
  • During 2015, these salaries increased to within the range of $31,000 - $69,000 annually.


Leading cities in which to find jobs involving reflexology include:

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. Dallas, Texas
  6. Houston, Texas
  7. Chicago, Illinois
  8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  9. Miami, Florida
  10. Laguna Hills, California

Top Job Advertisers In Reflexology

The leading employers who advertize positions including reflexology skills throughout the year are:

  1. Equinox Fitness
  2. Life Time Fitness
  3. Massage Envy
  4. Florida Hospital
  5. Anthem Education Group - An insurance related company.
  6. Exempla Lutheran Medical Center
  7. US Army
  8. Lodge At Woodloch
  9. HCA Healthcare
  10. Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Comparison: Jobs in Massage

Over 14,000 job openings for massage therapy-related work appeared during most of October 2015.

Top metro locations were largely targeted for advertising by Life Time Fitness, Massage Envy, Brookdale Senior Living, and a few others in:

  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Austin, Dallas, and Houston, Texas
  • Miami, Florida
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Seattle, Washington

Simple Explation of Foot-Body Correlations

Who Invented Reflexology?

I have heard lectureres point to the introduction of reflexology techniques in the early 20th Century and later in a New Age movement. However, the British Reflexology Association founded in 1985 (link above, right), states that reflexology was first known by ancient Chinese and the Egyptians.

This is unsurprising and thoroughly believable, since Traditional Chinese and Korean Medicines and ancient Egyptian medical systems incorporated some small techniques much like homeopathy. The BRA goes on to state that what we may call Modern Reflexology began as the work of was of Ms. Eunice Ingham, an American that called it Zone Therapy, but which had actually begun earlier in the Roaring Twenties by her countryman, William Fitzgerald, MD, who is often credited for the whole system. In the UK, the work was further developed in the 1960s by Ms. Doreen Bayly.

Other personalities in other countries no doubt have added their expertise to refining the system to its best effects. In fact, it is also known as Thai Foot Massage. It has also been traced to Japan, Africa, and a small number of Native American Nations. Personally, I am thankful to all of the cultures and individuals that developed the system of reflexology, because all of their combined millennial of efforts worked to eliminate my final problem of the obstinate ankle as I described above.

How Does it Work?

Reflex areas on the soles of the feet are felt to be connected to other body parts and systems. Stimulating those reflex areas with pressure (acupressure) and massage creates a positive results. Various charts for the hands and feet, their reflex areas, and what body systems they may affect are available online. My experience is that reflexology worked for me in the case of the skeletal and muscular systems.

Additional Uses of Reflexology

Reflexology, which applies to the hands as well as to the feet, is said to affect a number of health conditions in a positive way, although conflicting evidence has arisen. It may be a matter of individual differences, certain treatments working for certain individuals.

A partial list of conditions for which reflexology has been used includes:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Cancer pain; also pain of childbirth.
  3. Circulatory system: angina, high blood pressure, stroke
  4. Immune response
  5. Migraines
  6. Multiple sclerosis
  7. Sciatica and other back and joint pain
  8. Stress and anxiety
  9. Regular use enhances circulation of blood and lymph systems, which can aide in any healing process. (One treatment did it for my ankle, and then I kept exercizing.)

Consult your healthcare professional before undertaking a regime of reflexology or other alternate health treatments -- some health practitioners feel that reflexology should not be used in cases of pregnancy and diabetes, for instance.

Another thought that since relaxation increases the body's efficient use of medications (requiring smaller amounts) then reflexology that reduces stress and tension will likely ot produce similar results.


© 2010 Patty Inglish

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Comments and Experiences 13 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

My feet are always killing me. I could use this.

sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

This sounds like something I could use. Thank you.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I enjoyed reading this, especially with all these historical facts. I am a great believer in these methods. Thank you for sharing.

The Foot Lady 6 years ago

Hi, great article! I have been a reflexologist for 31 years and while a huge amount of the information is correct I have to make one correction. As a long time Reflexologist I have worked on countless pregnant women and most of my clientel consists of Diabetics. It is wonderful for morning sickness, back aches, sore feet and delivery...all aspects of pregnancy. Diabetics love it because of poor circulation, balancing of the pancreas and it helps in some aspects of peripheral neuropathy.

I was trained by Dwight C. Byers who is the nephew of Eunice D. Ingham and no matter what is said about the "history"..if it weren't for her no one today would have a clue about reflexology - she was the pioneer who traveled the US lecturing and teaching others who eventually took it to Europe back in the 30's, 40's and 50's. I feel she is the one who ultimately should get the credit. Again...thanks for writing this...the more information we have about Reflexology, the better.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Great, amazing information, Foot Lady!

Ms. Ingram was like the Australian nurse Sister Elizabeth Kenny that traveled everywhere helping people avoid paralysis when they contracted polio. I learned about Ms. Ingram accidentally; much more needs to be said about her.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Reflexology sounds wonder. This was an interesting hub. Thanks for the information.

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

Patty, thankyou for writing this article...I became a certified reflexologist last is awesome to have someone writing about it in here. At present I am in the process of starting up my own is a little difficult because most people don't know what a reflexologist is. I also like to include guided imagery in my thankyou for writing about it. Every bit of info sent out to the Universe helps.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Enlydia - Aak your local newspaper - sometimes a weekly one will do it more readily than the daily - to do a interview with you about reflexology, or write an article and ask if you could publish it in the paper under a Guest Columnist" designation. Try the local public radio station as well.

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

Thanks Patty for the suggestions...sorry for not responding sooner...I just found your article again today...Would you use reflexology for other conditions if it seemed affordable to you?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Yes, I think I would - it's good for circulation and balance as well. han reflexology would be wonderful for arthritic fingers and lessen the condition. And, if someone is squeamish about a full-body massage, they could begin with reflexology to the feet.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I know people who swear by this therapy.

cha 5 years ago

Reflexology brings relief to a huge range of conditions. Most people can benefit from a reflexology treatment and there is no minimum or maximum age limit.

Orthopedics Las Vegas

DebraHargrove profile image

DebraHargrove 9 months ago from North Carolina

Reflexology does wonders for aches and pain. I truly believe this practice can be much more beneficial than medication. Your information is very good and I can always use more tips to add to what I am using now.

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    Patty Inglish (Patty Inglish, MS)6,760 Followers
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