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Balance your well-being with foot reflexology

Updated on April 6, 2015

What might seem absurd to many people is in fact the principle of reflexology. What is reflexology exactly and how is it supposed to work?

Reflexology is based on a theory that all body systems, organs, bones,joints are also mapped on the bottom, the top and side of our feet. This means that our feet form a mirror of our health. If an organ suffers a blockage, the body triggers a pressure pain in the corresponding reflex zone of the foot. Massaging or pressing in on a specific reflex point can stimulate that specific organ, for instance, improving its circulation by unblocking stagnated energy and therefore supporting the healing process.

By looking at the foot reflexology chart below you will notice that most body parts, organs, joints, etc are located on both sides, the right and the left side, mainly on the bottom of the feet. For instance, the left kidney is located on the left sole of the foot, the right kidney on the right sole of the foot. There are a few exceptions, such as the heart, the liver, the stomach, as those organs don’t come in pairs and therefore won't be located on both feet either.

This theory or massage modality isn't an invention of modern times. While it was officially developed and fine-tuned in the last century, it is inofficially an ancient technique. According to Egyptian wall paintings ancient cultures already practiced the art of foot massage. But whether it was practiced thousands of years ago or not or is a modern times technique what essentially matters is whether it has a positive effect on our health or not.

Where foot reflexology can benefit your health and well-being

If conventional medicine can't provide answers and solutions, many patients seek alternative healthcare practitioners to help them get rid of a pain or a condition. As a matter of fact, more and more people seek ways to treat a condition the natural way. This includes reflexology massage because it doesn't just provide relaxation after a long day of work but unblocks tension and dissolves pain further increasing our over-all wellness and strengthening the immune system.

Foot Reflexology has been proven to be beneficial with common conditions such as:

Migraines and headaches




Difficulty sleeping

Digestive issues



If there is pain in a certain area of the body, such as lower back pain, for instance, the massage therapist trained in Foot Reflexology treats the corresponding areas on the foot. Autonomic disorders, such as sleep disorders, respond well by use of foot reflexology. The therapy alleviates stress and tension and improves mental and emotional health.

What to expect from a reflexology treatment

Reflexology is a very pleasant therapy. It consists of gentle finger pressure and should never cause pain or discomfort. As a massage therapist myself I always hear people tell me about reflexology sessions in the past and how they hurt. It really shouldn’t hurt. If you do experience pain during a reflexology session ask the Massage Therapist to ease off the pressure a bit.

A Reflexology session doesn't require you to get undressed. You just need to take off your socks and shoes. During a treatment you lay face-up on the treatment table. The therapist assesses the feet first. After that, he or she begins to warm up the feet followed by a special pressure technique. Foot reflexology isn't a long-stroke gliding massage but a quick pressure technique to stimulate different areas. Special attention is given to the reflex zones which are associated with certain body parts that show blocked energy.

As with many natural remedies, the symptoms may worsen after the first few sessions. This is a side effect showing us that the body reacts. This increased pain will subside. A decrease in the discomfort is usually experienced by the third treatment.

Scepticism versus Research

There are patients and doctors who tend to be more skeptical about the possibilities of foot reflexology. Meanwhile, there are also scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of it. The University Hospital for Internal Medicine in Innsbruck has conducted a study of observing the kidneys behavior when influenced by a reflexology massage. For this purpose, 32 test participants were given a foot massage; half of them in the area of the kidneys. The other group was massaged in a different location of the foot. At the same time, the researchers examined all participants arterial blood flow of the right kidney. The blood flow to the kidneys improved significantly in the group that was massaged in the right place. In the control group, however, nothing changed.

A word of caution

If you experience a pain in your foot doesn't necessarily mean you are sick. It is merely a sign that this area in your body experiences blocked energy. Blocked energy can be due to many reasons, for instance, stomach flu, headache, back pain, sciatica, rotated hip or blocked hip, diarrhea or constipation. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Find yourself a good Massage Therapist who is trained in Reflexology. Many massage schools introduce learning Massage Therapists to Reflexology. They learn the basic skills to perform foot reflexology. It isn't enough experience though to help with certain pains or conditions. Make sure you do find a reflexologist who is specialized in this field of alternative healing.


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