What Is Reflexology?


Anyone who’s ever had their feet massaged knows it feels a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!

With an estimated 100,000 – 200,000 receptors in the sole of each foot, the feet are among the most nerve-rich parts of your body. When our feet are gently massaged this soothing effect sends a message via our nervous system to our whole body that its safe to relax and let go. But how is reflexology different to a general foot massage?

The practice of reflexology has been around for thousands of years and originated in China. The belief was that a representation or “map” of the body is reflected on the soles of the feet. By focusing treatment on certain points or “reflexes” particular parts of the body could be targeted, such as the heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, nose, ears etc …

The aim in reflexology is to stimulate and improve the functions and systems of the whole body. The treatment is done with the client fully clothed, seated in a chair or reclining. For this reason it is a fantastic stress busting service for your workplace or any occasion really!

Health Benefits

The benefits of reflexology are endless. Because of the soothing effects on the nervous system it can achieve positive results when treating:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Memory Loss

And because of the increased circulation to all parts of the body, reflexology can also assist in treating:

  • Constipation
  • Urinary problems
  • Painful digestion
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Arthritis

Pain Relief

Reflexology has also been found to be a very effective tool in the treatment of pain. Treatment triggers the brain to release chemicals into the body, called endorphins. These endorphins are known as the body’s own natural pain killers. This makes it a fantastic alternative to prescription or over the counter drugs for the management of chronic pain conditions.

Is Reflexology Suitable For Anyone?

Pretty much everyone can benefit from reflexology. It’s particularly useful for those rare beings who don’t like being massaged. A very few people can feel vulnerable when having a massage and foot reflexology feels a lot less invasive for them. Other’s can be in so much pain that they are too sore for direct pressure on their body. With reflexology, the practitioner can target the corresponding points on the feet which relate to the specific part of the body requiring treatment.

Reflexology has so many benefits for such a non invasive therapy its no wonder it is so popular among those looking for more natural remedies for everyday ailments. The value of reflexology as a preventive practice also speaks for itself!


If you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor first and let the reflexologist know. If you have foot ulcers, injury, or blood vessel disease such as blood clots, consult your doctor before having reflexology.


Author: Elizabeth Marazita, LAc, Professor of Foot Reflexology & Qi Gong, The University of Washington, Nursing School & Bastyr University, CAM program
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