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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Hutson

Foot Reflexology

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Have you ever thought about how much weight and abuse your feet take each day? Do you reward your feet everyday or weekly? Your feet hold your entire body weight each day and all the activities you do throughout the day! Among the different components of the feet are tissues, 26 bones, 100 ligaments, 20 muscles and an intricate network of nerves and blood vessels.

  • Did you know your feet are actually more sensitive than anything in your body! They are sensitive because of the wealth of nerve endings and partly because we keep them protected and covered.

  • Did you know the toughest tissue on the body is on your heel

Reflexology is a massage for your feet, a reward for your feet! Yes! A massage dedicated just for your feet!! By putting your feet first, you'll realize how good you can feel!

Lets take a deeper dive into what really is reflexology!

What is Reflexology?

  • Reflexology a method for activating the healing powers of the body

  • It is a therapy based on the principle that there are small and specific areas of innervations on the feet that corresponds to specific muscle groups or organs of the body

  • Reflexology works with reflex areas in the feet corresponding to glands, organs and other parts of the body.

  • Reflexology is gentle manipulation or pressing on certain parts of the foot to produce an effect elsewhere in the body

  • More than 14,000 nerves are stimulated when touching both of the feet in a reflexology session

History of Reflexology


  • Among the world's oldest depictions of medical practices are the pictographs of hand and foot reflexology dating from the 6th Dynasty at the Tomb of the Physician in Saqqara!

  • They would often say "Do not let it be painful" and "I do as you say"

  • At the Temple of Amon at Karnak they used reflexology to heal the feet of the soldiers at the battle of Qadesh (1274 BCE). The thought of helping and saving our soldiers feet is absolutely amazing!

  • Roman military's leader Mark Anthony (83-30 BCE) rubbed feet of Queen Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE)


  • There is no real records of Chinese using reflexology but, they date Chinese reflexology practices to the rule of the legendary Emperor Huang Ti (2704-2596 BCE).

  • During the Han Dynasty they investigated a method called "Examining Foot Method".

  • Reflexology then flourished during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). At which then spread to Japan.


  • The earliest reflexology is Japan would be seen in Yakushiji a Medicine Teacher's Temple (680 CE) in Nara.

  • Footprint is teched out the upraised foot of the seated Buddha figure

  • Samurai warriors of the 12th century cut down sections of bamboo to walk on to strengthen perseverance and fighting

Other Cultures

  • Egyptians, Babylonians, and other ancient people considered it essential to step on sacred ground with bare feet to absorb the holy influences from Mother Nature

  • Among the Kogi tribal people in Columbia, in South America; they consider that footwear cuts off the contact with Mother Earth

  • In Russia, the idea of walking barefoot on natural surfaces to benefit the body prevails

  • Many societies in Asia, Africa, and India have customs that involve work on the feet for health purposes


Western Developments

  • Medial therapy began to emerge in the 19th century

  • Scientist were studying into the nervous system. They studied the concept of reflex and determined it to be "an involuntary response to a stimulus".

  • The concept of "zones of influence", in which an action performed to one part of the body it will influence another part of the body

British Developments

  • In 1893, Sir Henry Head made a breakthrough in the understanding of the nervous system!!

  • He discovered areas on the skin to be sensitive as a result of a diseased internal organ.

  • He found how the skin and various parts of the body are linked together known as "Head's Zones".

Russian Developments

  • Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) showed that the internal organs of dogs could be conditioned to respond to certain stimuli

  • Russian physicians formed the hypothesis that health can be affected in response to external stimuli. This concept is known as "reflex therapy".

  • In 1914 physician Vladimir Bekhterev (1857-1927) coined the term "reflexology"

  • Organ experienced illness because it received the wrong instructions from the brain. By interrupting such "bad" instructions, a reflex therapist could prompt the body to behave in a better manner and return to health.

Reactions During Treatment

  • Sharp, pricking sensation (reveals that all is not well in that part of the body, there is congestion, inflammation or tension in that area)

  • Tingling sensation (reflexes are stimulated)

  • Heat or tingling in the hands

  • Overcome with emotions and shed a few tears

  • Feel a deep sense of relaxation

  • Pain levels to be reduced

  • Release of sinus and mucus from the nose as the sinus reflexes are worked upon

  • Increase in bowel movements

  • Heightened skin activity from release of toxins

Who can Reflexology Help?

  • Not just for the sick; it is about maintaining health and keeping the body in the best possible condition

  • Pregnant women - assistance in helping to prevent fluids retained which causes feet and hands to swell, keep blood pressure normal and avoid or ease back pain

  • Post operation patients - countering the shock and distress associated with surgery

  • Elderly - help retain mobility

Who Shouldn't Get Reflexology

  • First 3 months of pregnancy

  • History of blood clotting/vascular lymphatic inflammation/cellulitis

  • Recent surgery

  • Unstable blood pressure

  • Recent fractures

  • Recent organ transplant

  • Bone spur

  • Varicose veins

  • Peripheral neuropathy

How Often Can You Get Reflexology?

  • Daily if preferred

  • Beneficial to treat asthmatic suffers every day in order to try to relax lungs and heart functions

  • The average person responds very well in 6 sessions conducted on a weekly basis

  • Chronic states usually take a little longer to improve acute problems

  • After pain or symptoms have improved, lengthen the appointment gap


Benefits of Reflexology

  • Relaxation of tense muscles in the feet

  • Complementary treatment for neuropathy

  • Stimulate the body's natural ability to self-heal

  • Improving body functions

  • Connection with your soul - Center yourself

Reproductive System Benefits

  • Bring relief from periods pains

  • Regulate menstrual cycle

  • Help balance hormonal overload

  • Help relieve morning sickness

Circulatory System Benefits

  • Improvement of circulation and blood flow

  • Allows the cardiovascular vessels to conduct the flow of blood naturally and easily

  • Reduce blood pressure and pain levels

Nervous System Benefits

  • Unblock nerve impulses

  • Restore sleep

  • Faithful source of strength and well-being

  • Restores mental alertness

  • Improves the attention span

  • Reduce generalized stress by generating deep, tranquil relaxation

  • Help the body achieve a state of deep relaxation and homeostasis

  • Alleviating the side-effects of drug treatments

Immune System Benefits

  • Aids in detoxifying the body

  • Supports the protection of the immune system

  • Helps preventing diseases

  • Aiding recovery from illness or surgery

Digestive System Benefits

  • Normalize digestive tract and colon


How Does Reflexology Work?

  • Thumb walk each zone of the body first; heal to toe

  • Work up side of the feet

  • Work the middle of the toes with thumb walking, with flexing each toe

  • Walk ridge just below the toes

  • Deeper pressure on bally toes, and lighter pressure on light skin areas and bony areas

  • Move in tiny movements

  • Each technique is done 2-3 times

  • When finished cross the feet and push pressure down on feet, relax and do again

View of the Feet

  • Plantar (the sole of the foot)

  • Dorsal (the front, or upper side of the foot)

  • Medial (the inner side of the foot, in line with the big toe)

  • Lateral (the outside edge of the foot, in line with the little toe)

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