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How Does Foot Reflexology Work?

What is foot reflexology and how does it work? Reflexology works to restore equilibrium and promote well-being by clearing blockages that can inhibit the body’s own natural healing mechanisms.  


According to reflexology, there are different reflex zones throughout the body. In total there are 10 zones on the body; five on the front and five on the back. Points on the bottom of the feet represent each zone. For instance, foot reflexology points on your toes are representative of the brain.The foot reflexology chart, or map of reflex points, will help represent how certain body parts correspond to others. Each foot represents one half of the body. For example, the liver is on the right side of the body, and therefore the right foot is the corresponding reflex area.

Throughout the years, certain theories have helped explain reflexology:

  • Reflexology works on the central nervous system: This theory is based on research that explains the neurological relationship between internal organs and the skin, and that the entire nervous system adjusts when stimulated. When pressure is made to the ears, hands, and feet, a calming message is sent to the central nervous system. As a result, overall relaxation helps the organs function at their best.

  • The neuromatrix theory of pain: This theory suggests that pain is simply subjective. In other words, the brain responds to the sensory experience of pain, but it can also work in response to cognitive or emotional factors. As a result, reflexology may decrease pain by improving mood and reducing stress.

  • Theory of vital energy: When stress is not addressed, there is energy congestion, and inefficiencies in the body will lead to illnesses. Reflexology will allow energy to flow freely.




Reported health Benefits of Foot Reflexology Massage 


  • Hypertension: Reflexology has been found to reduce hypertension a common risk of heart disease. In a Korean study from 2004, researchers found that a foot reflexology massage could effectively reduce systolic blood pressure. For the study, 34 participants were either assigned to the reflexology group or the control group. Reflexology was performed twice weekly for a six-week period.

  • Type 2 diabetes: Diabetis is a serious health issue that produces high blood sugar levels. In a recent systematic review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers concluded that self-administered foot reflexology might have a positive effect in type 2 diabetics.

  • Migraine and tension headaches: Foot reflexology massage may also effectively reduce tension and migraine headaches. A blind, randomised trial from 2000 found that a foot reflexology massage was as effective as a drug called flunarizine, which is used to prevent migraine headaches. The study examined 32 headache patients after a foot reflexology massage session, and again after a three-month follow-up.

  • Anxiety and depression: Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems. The relaxation benefits of reflexology tend to extend beyond massages. For example, a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that a foot massage and reflexology could decrease depression and anxiety in postmenopausal women.

  • Multiple sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis is often a progressive and chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system. A small study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research in the spring of 2015 found that reflexology decreased fatigue in women with multiple sclerosis. Other evidence suggests that reflexology may reduce the tingling associated with multiple sclerosis.

  • Sinusitis: Sinusitis is a chronic or acute condition often caused by another respiratory infection like the flu, a cold, or bronchitis. In a randomised, controlled study presented at the 2002 American Academy of Otolaryngology, researchers found that reflexology and nasal irrigation procedures improved chronic sinusitis in 150 patients.

  • Circulation: Foot reflexology massage is also known to improve blood circulation in the feet and throughout the body. Gently stroking the feet, fingers, and hands will significantly improve blood flow to the vital organs. Blood will deliver nutrients and oxygen to your organs, thereby nourishing your body tissues. A foot reflexology massage before bed can improve circulation in the lower extremities.

  • Eliminates toxins: Toxins are everywhere these days from processed foods to cosmetics. That is why it is important to have a healthy urinary system. Reflexology has  been known to effectively reduce urinary tract issues and improved bladder function. Basically, reflexology can efficiently help to eliminate toxins from the body and may protect the body from various conditions that result from an impaired urinary system.

  • M.E (CFS): It is especially beneficial for clients with this condition as it can help rebalance the dysfunctional systems, address pain in muscles and the nervous system, without actually touching and stimulating the muscles directly. It can also help with fatigue, toxic elimination and digestive issues.

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