Summary

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote wellness in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.
Reflexology is a form of complementary therapy which, through the massage of the feet, aims to promote wellness in other areas of the body.

Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body. For example, on the left foot, the tip of the big toe corresponds to the brain’s left hemisphere.

According to the philosophy of reflexology, all the organs, glands and parts of the body have representing reflexes on the feet. Reflexologists claim that any health problems in the body can usually be detected in the corresponding area of the foot. Reflexology practitioners believe that by massaging or stimulating the reflexes using specific techniques, there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ.

General cautions for reflexology

Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat specific conditions. Treatment for foot problems such as corns, calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails is not in the scope of practice of a reflexologist and should be treated by a doctor or podiatrist.

Reflexology is a complementary therapy in that it works alongside other medical and therapeutic techniques. Always be guided by your doctor or specialist. Be very wary of any reflexologist who advises you to abandon your conventional treatment.

Do not stop any medical treatments on the advice of your reflexologist.

Choosing a reflexologist

To find a reputable and qualified reflexologist in your area, contact the Reflexology Association of Australia. All professional practitioners have undergone extensive training, hold a current Level 2 first aid certificate, have professional indemnity insurance and can provide you with a professional receipt that you can use to claim back part of the treatment from participating private health insurance companies.

Reflexology procedure

A typical session lasts approximately one hour. The practitioner first asks detailed questions about your lifestyle, and prior and current medical problems. The person sits or reclines on a couch with their feet bare, while the practitioner examines their feet before working on all the areas of the feet.

The practitioner relaxes the feet with gentle massage, and then works on the reflex points using specific techniques. Practitioners are well used to handling feet and apply sufficient pressure so that ticklishness should not be a problem. Reflexology is not meant to hurt, but should be felt.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Reflexologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Reflexology Association of Australia Tel. 0500 502 250
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) Tel. (03) 9866 5906

Things to remember

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote wellness in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.
References
  • Reflexology, Reflexology Association of Australia. More information here.
  • Cornbleet MA, Ross C, 2001, 'Research in complementary medicine is essential', British Medical Journal, vol. 322, pp. 736. More information here.
  • White AR, Williamson J, Ernst E, 2010,'Foot reflexology: a sole method of diagnosis?' Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, vol. 3, no. 4 p. 194. More information here.

More information

Complementary and alternative care

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Alternative systems and therapies

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Endeavour College of Natural Health

Last updated: January 2015

Page content currently being reviewed.

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.