What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a therapy involving the application of controlled pressure on specific points on the feet, hands or ears. More commonly performed on the feet due to the increased amount of nerve endings, it allows for the professional reflexologist to locate tender reflexes or crystalline deposits and stimulate healing in the corresponding parts of the body. 

There are many ideas on why reflexology has the effect it does, from opening meridians to the more recent idea of stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system so that healing responses can be activated.

Reflexology is not a new therapy, it has been used as far back at 2500BC by the ancient Egyptians. Over many years of further study, and with the help of pioneers such as William H Fitzgerald M.D (an ears, nose and throat specialist), Eunice D. Ingham ( a nurse and physiotherapist) and Bill Flocco (founder of American Academy of Reflexology) it has developed in to the wonderful treatment it is today. 


Reflexology can benefit men and women of all ages. Anyone with a recent injury, wound on the foot or ankle or active gout should avoid reflexology until completely recovered. Reflexology may be risky for people with diabetes, osteoarthritis on the foot or ankle, severe circulation problems affecting the lower extremities, certain cancers, heart disease, untreated hypertension, active infections, mental illness, gallstones and kidney stones. Talk to your doctor before you try reflexology if you have any of these concerns.

Though helpful in reducing foot swelling during pregnancy, reflexology is also thought to induce labor if performed incorrectly.


Because there is currently no regulation of reflexology in the United States, it’s best to seek a therapist who has been certified by the American Reflexology Certification Board and has completed at least 200 hours of study and practice at a recognized institution. A respectable reflexologist should have no problem offering up details of their training if you ask for them. Avoid seeing any therapist who claims to actually heal serious illnesses.

You may also want to choose a therapist who is licensed in another established modality like massage therapy, physical therapy or nursing, so he or she can work to address your issue from more than one angle. To find a reflexologist near you, go to the Reflexology Association of America’s website.