The practice of Reflexology


Reflexology: more than just a foot massage?

Complementary therapies have been growing in popularity for many years and they can have a positive effect on our wellbeing. There are so many choices of therapies that it’s important to understand a little about them before you choose.

Reflexology is an ancient holistic therapy that focuses on massage to stimulate reflex points on the feet. This therapy was thought to be practised by the Egyptians and Chinese as early as 2300BC. Reflexology is a non-intrusive complementary therapy, based on the theory that different points on the feet, lower leg, hands, face or ears correspond with different areas of the body.

Reflexologists work holistically with their clients and aim to work alongside other healthcare providers, to promote better wellbeing for their clients. Each reflex point of the feet acts as a mirror that corresponds to a particular part of the body. By stimulating these points the 7000 nerves and the 26 bones in the feet help release blockages and re-balance the energy flow in the body. The exact nature of this action is not known but it corresponds more with the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine than western medicine.

What most of us want to know is what the therapy feels like and what it can do for us? Reflexology begins with a soothing, relaxing foot massage. The specialised reflexology massage follows, as the therapist works around your reflex zones using thumb and finger pressure, as well as massage techniques.  Most therapists work on the feet and ankles but hand reflexology is also available.

The treatment should not be painful and for most it produces a deep sense of relaxation and tranquillity. Many of my clients’ feel that they have drifted off to sleep during the treatment but usually although deeply relaxed they are still aware and not fully asleep. During the session you may experience different sensations in your feet and body; it may feel like a tingle or it may feel slight pins and needles. Sensitivity varies from person to person and from treatment to treatment.

Many people chose reflexology simply to enjoy a precious hour to just relax and unwind.  Reflexology can, however, promote wellbeing in other ways.

Scientific studies have reported reflexology treatments can be used as a powerful form of pain relief. Reflexology was shown to increase pain tolerance and pain thresholds by up to 45%. Research has also strongly suggested many other conditions benefit from regular reflexology.

These include:

  • Pre Menstrual Syndrome;
  • Phantom Limb Pain;
  • Fatigue and Insomnia;
  • Chronic Pain;
  • Pregnancy ailments;
  • Constipation.

If you would like more information on these research studies please visit

Reflexology is enjoyed by many people of all ages, with many diverse needs. If you feel that a treatment may benefit you then you can contact a qualified and insured therapist via the Federation of Holistic Therapists.

About the author: Joanne Marie is a nurse, reflexology and massage practitioner working at Breathe Holistic Therapy Kidderminster DY11 5LB A passionate advocate of complementary therapies Joanne works with a wide variety of clients. Joanne has an eleven-year-old son who loves reflexology and massage almost as much as his mother!

2 Feb, 2014

8 thoughts on “The practice of Reflexology

  1. I’ve read a lot about reflexology and the use of essential oils.

    I haven’t had the therapy yet, but intend to at some point. I did go to a therapist once for massage therapy but she did some energy work instead and I felt nothing from that.

    I think the reflexology would work better from what I’ve studied and from your post. Plus with the addition of essential oils I think I would benefit greatly. Great informative post!

    1. Thanks Lisa. I believe Reflexology works. My mum used to have reflexology and always benefited from it greatly. She always believed in the power of alternative therapy and having that innate belief definitely helps with the healing process.

      I am sure you would benefit greatly from Reflexology. I hope you get to give it a go soon.

  2. I haven’t actually tried anything like this before, but I’m also not very comfortable with people touching me a lot so that would explain it!

    I imagine it would actually be something helpful for me to relax and also try to work on my touch issues. I’ll have to see what’s available in my area and go from there!

    1. Thanks Randy. I have always struggled with touch issues because I have CP, so I know how you feel, it’s not easy.

      Maybe one day you’ll be at that stage where you’re ready to take the plunge. I do know Reflexology is very effective.

      Good luck!

  3. Thanks for posting this. It is a great post and the links are really informative too.

    I know lost of people who do benefit greatly from Reflexology, but unfortunately I know I will struggle with Reflexology, as my feet are too ticklish for anyone else to touch.

    1. I am sure Jo will be pleased. The links are very informative. I also know people who have Reflexology and they have also benefited greatly from the experience. As part of a lifestyle change I believe therapies like Reflexology work beautifully.

      I recommend it. Thanks Jo.

  4. Hi all,
    Some great feedback; thank you all.
    Brad: I know how you feel about ticklish feet but I have only ever had one client who did find this a problem, everyone else found it wasn’t ticklish once the treatment has started.
    Hope that helps.
    Best regards

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