Foot reflexology: points, benefits, contraindications

Foot reflexology: points, benefits, contraindications

The foot is the basis of our walk in the world, it absorbs the energies of the earth and transmits them to the brain. It sums up the whole human organism in itself and can be the starting and ending point for treating many ailments.

foot reflexology

What is foot reflexology and how is it done? Who is it suitable for and what benefits does it bring? Does foot reflexology have any contraindications?


Foot reflexology is a technique that uses the solicitation of specific areas of the foot to restore the balance of the body . Useful in case of congestion and tension, it helps against back pain , anxiety , stress . Let’s find out what it consists of.


  • Principles of foot reflexology
  • How does foot reflexology work?
  • What can be treated with foot reflexology?
  • How much does a foot reflexology session cost?
  • How does a foot reflexology session take place?
  • Side effects


Principles of foot reflexology

“ Foot reflexology is the study and practice of operating reflexes in the feet , which correspond to other parts of the body. With specific hand and finger techniques, reflexology causes responses ( relaxation ) in corresponding parts of the body. Relaxation is the first step towards normalization , the return of the body to a state of equilibrium or homeostasis , in which the circulation can flow unhindered and provide nourishment and oxygen to the cells.


With the restoration of homeostasis, the organs of the body, which are in fact aggregations of cells, can then return to a normal state or function ”. Kunz & Kunz, The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology . The definition of the Kunz couple is certainly the most exhaustive illustration of what foot reflexology brings with it, in theory and in practice.


The first historical information on the use of reflexology comes to us from Ancient Egypt through a fresco of about 4000 years ago which depicts a doctor who stimulates the toes and hands of his patient.


In the Chinese tradition we owe to Mak Zi in 480 BC the deepening of the ” On Zon Su “, or Zonal Therapy, the foot massage on a philosophical level. The American Indians also knew it and practiced it to restore health.


Dr.  William H. Fitzgerald is widely recognized as the founder of modern reflexology. Since 1902 he began to study and experiment with what he himself called “zone therapy”, working on the hands and feet of patients . According to his theories, the human body can be divided into ten imaginary lines that start from the head and reach the hands and feet and divide the body anteriorly and posteriorly.


Each part of the body that is in one area determined by these lines is connected to another through a particular energy flow and these two parts can affect each other. The confirmation of this relationship between different parts of the body was demonstrated by Fitzgerald in the manifestation of kidney disorders, which can turn out to be eye disorders since kidney and eye are placed in the same area.


Also in the feet it is possible to draw as many lines , corresponding to those of the body: five on the left foot and five on the right foot. In addition, three horizontal lines can also be drawn on each of the feet, one at the base of the toes, one approximately halfway between the short and long bones of the foot and one at the heel. A map of the foot was thus taking shape .


However, Eunice Ingham was responsible for the development of foot reflexology therapy in the 1930s. The therapist fine-tuned her method using her fingers, especially the thumb (Fitzgerald used instruments) and became its official popularizer.


In Italy Elipio Zamboni , a massage physiotherapist, began to deepen and spread the practice, founding the three-year school. His most important teaching: “ Sitting at a patient’s feet is an act of humility and love ”.


How does foot reflexology work?

Feet are delicate , precious structures, essential for a good quality of life. Being subjected to inevitable daily overloads, they deserve to be treated with care and attention.


For the body, hands and feet are special. No other sensory organ comes to touch the world around us, to travel within and manipulate it. Feet and hands perceive what’s on the feet and what’s in the hand. Parallel to foot reflexology, there is also hand reflexology .


The need to stand on both feet requires special communication between the feet, hands and the rest of the body. The language the body uses to do this is actually a combination of muscle tension , joint angulation, and intense pressure on the bottom of the feet. This form of communication is undoubtedly silent, but it is very vital as it determines our actual survival.


Feet and hands not only allow us to react to danger, but they themselves consume energy to meet normal daily needs. Survival and the energy needed for it connect hands and feet in a special relationship with the body.


In case of danger, both hands and feet participate in the general reaction of the body to ensure survival: the hands are prepared to take a weapon, while the feet are prepared to find a firm foothold or to flee. This indissoluble link between hands, feet and body sees the hands and feet providing the necessary movement, while the internal organs provide the fuel.


What can be treated with foot reflexology?

Foot reflexology tends to the gradual elimination of three conditions, in order to restore the body’s balance:

  1. congestion ;
  2. inflammation ;
  3. tension .


More specifically, the main benefits of reflexology are the following:

  • eliminate anxiety and stress ;
  • defeat insomnia  by facilitating relaxation and rest ;
  • reduce nausea , vomiting  and difficult digestion ;
  • controlling various symptoms, from constipation  to hiccups ;
  • undertake a path of remission from psychosomatic disorders;
  • stop smoking ;
  • relieve cramps , muscle aches and osteoarthritis ;
  • fight cellulite .


Massaging the feet is very useful from the first days of life,  as long as the touch is light and the massage lasts a few seconds; babies generally like it very much. It is used to soothe hyperactive children and calm crying spells, unexpressed fears or anxieties.


In pregnant women it is not recommended or in any case it must be practiced by those who are very experienced and know how to carefully dose pressures and concentrations. Reflexology, on the other hand, is very useful for problems related to conception and to counteract forms of cellular aging in elderly people.


The existence of reflex reactions to contact not only provides reliable health reports, but is also a pleasant everyday experience. A nice warm bath and a good foot massage cause relaxing sensations.


How much does a foot reflexology session cost?

A foot reflexology session lasts from a minimum of half an hour to a maximum of one hour , for a cost that is usually between 40 and 50 euros . A complete cycle usually goes from 6 to 12 sessions .


How does a foot reflexology session take place?

The foot communicates the state of health of the body through various signals: the shape, color, smell, structure of the fingers and their position, the appearance of the nails, the thickening of the skin , the location of any calluses and calluses , bony protrusions, hollows and skin folds.


In the reflex point map, the right foot corresponds to the most rational part of us and affects the liver / gallbladder line ; the left foot, on the other hand, corresponds to the irrational, to affectivity, to instinct and influences the heart .


During the session, the professional will notice any signals in the foot and interpret them based on the map of the reflex points , based on the history and characteristics of the person in front of him. As an example, here are some possible interpretations:

  • hallux valgus in the  left foot means it signals affective problems; rational problems in the right foot;
  • more generally, hallux valgus is related to cervical, neck, thyroid and heart disorders;
  • who has the second toe of the left foot longer than the big toe could have an energetically suffering heart, live hyperactive, be very emotional;
  • warts and fungi are signs of a diet that is too high in fat;
  • ingrown toenail could indicate problems with the spleen or stomach if it is on the side of the shoe; if it is on the opposite side, on the other hand, liver problems ;
  • the thickening of the nails corresponds to poor kidney function, fearful character, restless sleep;
  • callus under the second and third toes could reveal bronchial catarrh or sinusitis .


After a visual inspection of the foot, the reflexologist’s approach to the foot consists of two essential moments:

  • The search for painful points : through the palpation of the reflex points carried out in a decisive and profound way to understand what type of response is provided by the various parts analyzed.
  • Foot massage : consisting of a series of steps to be performed on the reflex zones according to a pre-ordered sequence based on what emerged from the first phase.


In the map of the reflex points it is possible to identify organs and systems on which to perform the stimulation or sedation treatment based on the energetic evaluation of the problem to be considered. The lateral plantar arch, for example, outlines the vertebral column, on which to work to counter painful resentments of the cervical, dorsal or lumbar tract, headaches of a postural nature.


The central part of the foot both on the right and on the left is occupied by the reflex zone of the stomach and its various portions, to be treated first on the right and then on the left, following the physiological process of digestion.


Some protocols indicate starting reflexology treatment from the reflex zones of the kidney and bladder , to activate the natural purification of the organism through diuresis.  

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