Reflexology: More Than Just Massage

July 10th, 2017

Reflexology: More Than Just Massage

July 10 2017

by Miranda Murray

Reflexology is the 4,000 year old practice and belief that our body has the ability to be self-healing.  It’s believed that stimulating certain areas of the body through massage can inspire a healing response in the nervous system.  While science has yet to prove or disprove of it’s effectiveness, reflexology has widespread popularity and approval.

How does reflexology work?

There are 4 primary theories as to how reflexology works:

  • Central nervous system adaptation theory: triggering a healing effect by stimulating the hands and feet.
  • Gate control theory: as pain is caused by the brain, relief can be promoted by the brain, as well.
  • Vital energy theory: incorporating the energy flow of yin and yang, reflexology can keep the body “centered.”
  • Zone theory: (the method of how we use reflexology) our organs and other parts of our body correspond to “reflex zones” in our hands and feet.  Picture the body from head to toe, then imagine the bottom of the foot represents all the different zones of the body – to see a “chart,” click here.

Reflexology is not just practiced on the feet!  It can be used on the hands, face, and ears, as well.

What are the benefits of reflexology?

  • Body detoxification
  • Body pain relief
  • Headache relief
  • Improve anxiety/lessens stress
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Reduces PMS symptoms
  • Helps fight diabetes (by stimulating organs for improved insulin sensitivity)
  • & more

Ready to try reflexology for yourself?  Here are techniques to perform your massage:

  • Thumb walking – applying constant but moving pressure to desired areas with your thumb(s) by bending and pressing the thumb to “walk” along the skin’s surface.
  • Pinching or squeezing the area, toe, or finger to apply steady pressure for a certain amount of time.
  • Tapping to stimulate zones.
  • Swiping – almost like a tickle, quickly sliding across an area for stimulation.

Check out this website for a more in-depth look at how to perform reflexology on yourself or someone else!  There are also great videos on youtube that visually demonstrate it for you.  Don’t forget that you can also perform reflexology on your hands, face, and ears!  Some massages can last from 20-30 minutes, but you can “tap into” certain areas of your body within 30 seconds!  For example, to relieve headache pain, use the pinching technique to pinch, or squeeze, the muscle-y tissue between your thumb and pointer finger (see below) for 30 seconds, then release.  While reflexology can trigger an immediate response, in some cases it may be best to receive massage consistently over time for better results!

So before you reach for an Excedrin for that migraine or ZzzQuil for your sleeplessness, give reflexology a try!

Please be aware that it is not recommended for pregnant women to receive reflexology (unless otherwise directed by their doctor) – it can induce premature labor and/or contractions!


*I am not a doctor, nutritionist or scientist but I have spent years soaking up information I’ve gathered through various websites, by attending numerous informational meetings and working with nutritionists and fitness trainers.

Sources: Dr. Axe, How To Do Reflexology, Pinterest, Spafinder 


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