What is reflexology?

Reflexology (also known as zone therapy) is the application of varying amounts of pressure to areas of the feet, hands, and ears. Reflexology is generally relaxing and may help alleviate stress. The theory behind reflexology is that the areas of focus connect to organs and systems of the body. Pressure applied to the area is believed to bring relaxation and healing to the corresponding area of the body.

How does it work?

In traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology rests on the ancient Chinese belief in qi (pronounced “chee”), or “vital energy.” According to this belief, qi flows through each person. When a person feels stressed, their body blocks qi; this can cause an imbalance in the body that may lead to illness. Reflexology aims to keep qi flowing through the body, keeping it balanced and disease-free.

How is it used?

In Chinese medicine, different body parts correspond with different pressure points on the body. Reflexologists use maps of these points in the feet, hands, and ears to determine where they should apply pressure. They believe their touch sends energy flowing through a person’s body until it reaches the area in need of healing. It is thought that the touch of a reflexologist can help to calm the central nervous system, which promotes relaxation as well as other benefits (just as all forms of massage do). It is also thought that reflexology can reduce pain, and help to improve one's mood and stress levels. In addition to helping with mood and stress levels, it is also thought that reflexology can assist in boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, clearing up sinus issues, correcting hormonal imbalances, as well as many other health benefits.

A few short-term side effects that have been reported include lightheadedness, tender feet and emotional sensitivity.