A full quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet – more than 50 of them. Take a closer look… straight down. There they are.
Maybe you’ve underestimated these two distinctive members of your body. On an average day you walk around and pound on them with an accumulated 1,000 tons of force. Talk about true workhorses. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) considers your feet a marvel of engineering, too. According to their most recent estimates, the typical person walks about 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day – or over 115,000 miles during a lifetime. That’s like walking a circle around the entire earth a whopping 4 times!
No surprise then to discover your feet bear the answer to better health for your entire body through the miracle of reflexology. And that’s only half the good news. Your hands hold the other half of this ancient health secret.
How Reflexology Works
On reflexology charts, the body is reflected on the feet and / or hands. It serves as a map for technique application. The body is divided into 10 zones-five on each side of the body. Each organ (part of the body) is linked to areas on the hands or feet.
A person trained in reflexology can diagnose abnormalities in various parts of the body by feeling the hands or feet. This action stimulates the flow of energy, blood, nutrients, and nerve impulses to the corresponding body zone to relieve ailments in that zone. But even the layman with some basic instruction and a reflexology chart can benefit through self reflexology.
By applying pressure on pressure sensors in your hands and feet using specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques, your body reflexively responds to the stimulated area. This results in relaxation, improved circulation, and exercise of the nervous system among other benefits of touch for pain relief and healing in the reflected area. For example, massaging and applying pressure to an area which spans both heels can provide relief from sciatic
From Ancient Medicine to Proven Science
Reflexology really isn’t a new discovery. Like many of today’s best natural paths to better health, reflexology has been around for quite some time. In fact, it was first practiced as early as 2330 B.C. by the Egyptian culture, as well as early Indian and Chinese people.
Foot reflexology as we know it today was revived in large part thanks to physical therapist Eunice Ingham. Two doctors she worked with had rediscovered how stimulating one part of the body can create a response in a distant part of the body, a practice they called Zone Therapy. Eunice built upon this knowledge to publish her groundbreaking book “Stories the Feet Can Tell” in 1938 which recognized how the feet contain a mirror image of the body in reflex points.
According to noted reflexologists Kevin and Barbara Kunz, numerous scientific studies repeatedly validate the immediate health benefits of reflexology. Besides merely zapping stress and increasing relaxation, their review of many controlled studies shows reflexology is also useful in mental health, cancer care, post-operative, childbirth and recovery, and general pain reduction applications.
Those who practice reflexology have found they can reduce their dependence on medications and, in a sense, reprogram the nerves in their body through touch to aid and complement virtually any healing process or medical treatment.
Patients with symptoms of coronary heart disease like chest distress and angina found symptoms disappeared with foot reflexology. They also enjoyed a related drop in blood pressure of as much as 25/5 after treatment – better results than their regular medicine offered.
Even growth patterns were positively affected through reflexology with mentally disabled children showing significant improvements in height, weight, and other health measures in a controlled study.
And these are results from just two out of hundreds of studies. The 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report found foot reflexology to be 93.63% effective in treating 63 different disorders. What type of pain or disorder could reflexology help you with? Take a look at the charts below to find foot areas you can apply self reflexology to.
Kunz K, Kunz B. Can Reflexology Help Me? 2010.
Kunz K, Kunz B. Reflexology Research, In Brief. 2004.
Lingyun Y, et al. Observation on Improvement of Feeble-Minded Children’s Social Abilities by Foot Reflexo-Therapy. 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report . 1998;24-28.
Zhongzheng L, Yuchun L. Clinical observation on Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease with Foot Reflexotherapy. 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report . 1998;38-41