Reflexology is used to relieve pain, lower stress and anxiety and to promote overall wellbeing. Cultures around the world have been using reflexology for centuries but does it provide the claimed benefits? What is the truth behind reflexology?


There is evidence to support that Reflexology, or Zone therapy, dates back to 2330BC. Originating in Ancient China, Zone therapy has been practiced by the ancient Egyptians as identified on the wall of the tomb of Ankmahor. There is also evidence that North American Indian tribes practiced reflexology for hundreds of years. 

So why did an audit of the benefits of reflexology conducted in 2017 for insurance companies identify there is no verifiable proof that reflexology provides any of the claimed benefits?  How can generation after generation believe it when there are so many questions still to be answered?

The Concept

The hands, feet, even ears, are broken down into 10 zones. These zones reflect specific organs of the body and by manipulating these concentration points, it may positively impact on the organs of the body. 

The concept is like chakra massage where reflexology can clear any channels of blocked energy. Left untreated, a build- up of energy has been known to cause illness and disease in our bodies. 

Reflexology is believed to help your life force energy, or as the Chinese say “Qi”.  The life force energy flows freely around the body. If there is any type of blockage or slowing of the “Qi” then the body is susceptible to disease and illness. Stress and Anxiety are increased, and the quality of your life may diminish.

Complimentary Therapy

Some clients that I have met swear by the benefits of reflexology and others struggle with the concept. The latest Diploma of Beauty Therapy provides training and assessments on reflexology, but it’s suggested that it is not just a one step in a treatment.  It is one in a series of treatments to aid in giving relief. 

For example, a client that presents with Sciatica – which is usually caused by a slipped disc in the back putting pressure on the sciatic nerve causing radiating pain in the back buttocks and leg area. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, so any unwanted pressure has the potential to cause pain and discomfort. 

A beauty therapist is not qualified to assist with any treatment to fix a slipped disc, however they can provide complimentary therapies to reduce symptoms. 

My reflexology treatment for Sciatica is to combine a blend of essential oils to reduce inflammation and pain, and massaged onto the sciatic nerve zone on the heels of both feet and the area where the pain presents staying well clear of the spinal area. 

This has frequently removed pain and discomfort for some and gave mild results for others. Clients have also experienced relief using hold and cold therapies.

The Evidence

There is evidence to support a reduction in medication for patients who have undergone a reflexology protocol in a recent Swiss study. It didn’t stop or limit the disease or illness but it doesn’t mean it didn’t work, just that they can’t measure it. 

Reflexology is a treatment to promote a consistent flow of energy around the body. This process can only be measured by how you are feeling. I’ve found it makes you feel better, more relaxed and more intune with yourself.  

 When balance is achieved the body is in the best possible position to heal itself. Think of a blockage of energy as just like a headache; A build-up of pressure limiting the flow of “Qi”.. This is where reflexology is highly effective. The benefits are remarkably like massage therapy. If you combine essential oils, hot and cold therapy, specific massage to the reflexology points, you’ll feel revitalised and renewed. 

Try A Foot Soak

Try a warm foot soak. Add Epson salts, Peppermint, Rosemary or Lavender essential oils to the water and try to align your breathing. Close your eyes and breathe in the scent of the oils, and picture a beautiful relaxing scene as you breathe slowly and deeply. 

Case Study

20 years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic kidney stone issue and with limited medical options available I reached out to a naturopath who asked me to take off my socks and looked at the soles of my feet. The sole of my right foot looked normal. But underneath my left foot I had a rash in the spot which the indicates the kidney. It was the side of my body which was being affected by kidney stones. I said my left side. So I knew then knew that there was something remarkable happening with reflexology but it is not a standalone cure for disease and illness. It can relax,  reduce the symptoms of disease and illness and is most effective when used in conjunction with other therapies, and you’ll definitely feel the benefit from a reflexology session. 


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