What It Is

Reflexology is a system of applying pressure to specific areas of the foot, although sometimes hands are used instead. It is not massage. Instead, the practitioner's thumb, fingers, and palms apply pressure to specific reflex points on the foot. Reflexologists believe that each part of the foot relates to its own part of the body (Figure 7). By applying pressure to a reflex point, the corresponding body organ or area is affected.

Reflex points are on the soles, tops, and sides of the feet. The points on the right foot correspond to the right half of the body, and those on left foot correspond to the left half of the body.

Although people can perform reflexology on themselves after learning about the reflex points and pressure techniques, it usually is performed by a trained reflexologist. In a typical session, the patient lies on a massage-type table while the reflexologist gently massages each foot, and then begins treatment by systematically applying pressure to its reflex points.

Figure 7. Reflexology uses the foot as a map of the body. The common basis of acupuncture and acupressure is apparent. Reflexology is not painful.

Treatments last from thirty minutes to an hour According to practitioners, patients may experience tingling sensations in areas of the body that correspond to reflex points as those points on the foot are pressed.

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