FOOT AND HAND REFLEXOLOGY FOR HEALING
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
Your Amazing Feet And Hands
An Entire Correspondence Science
How It Works And Theory
Safety And Cautions
Common Errors When Doing Reflexology
What Stops People From Using Reflexology?
Advantages of reflexology
When To Use Reflexology
Who Can Benefit
Use For Health Assessment
Use For Development
Pressing vs. Rubbing
Recliners And Coffee Tables
Shoes And Shoe Inserts
Self vs. By Another vs. Professional
How To Get Started
Types Of Sessions
General Procedural Suggestions
A General Relaxation Session
Top Of The Feet (Dorsal Surface)
Blocks To Doing Reflexology
Sequences For Headache, Digestive Upset, Cardiovascular Symptoms, and PMS
Restoring Brain Architecture
Working with Animals
Interlocking The Hands
The Meridians and Energy Centers
“Popping” the toes and fingers
The Spinal Twist And Yoga
Holding The Feet
The anal reflex system
Discoloration Of The Feet
Development And Reflexology
Solid versus Hollow Organs
Plantar Fasciitis And Reflexology
Over the past 35 years, I have found hand and foot reflexology to be an amazingly safe and effective method of healing.
Definition. The technique consists of firmly pressing on various points or areas on the top, bottom, sides and toes of the feet, and on the hands, as well. That is all there is to it!
Reflexology on the feet is often considered somewhat better than on the hands, although both are excellent.
Reflexology is a central part of all nutritional balancing programs. Do not skip this aspect of your nutritional balancing program! This article is an introduction to this wonderful method of healing.
YOUR AMAZING FEET AND HANDS
The first question most people ask is, Why Do This? What is so special about my feet hands?
Here is a partial list:
- All the major acupuncture meridians turn around at the hands and at the feet. These are among the easiest locations to energize or relax the flow of subtle energy through the acupuncture meridians.
- the skin is very thin on the tops of the hands and feet. This makes it even easier to influence the meridians that flow through these areas.
- the fingers and toes, specifically reflex to the brain and nervous system. The brain, in turn, controls many bodily activities. So working on these reflex areas is a simple and very safe way to affect the functioning of the nervous system, and in turn, heal the body.
- the technique is quite amazing because the same action of pressing or rubbing an area can energize or relax that organ or gland. It is not necessary to know exactly what is needed for the method to work. You just rub or press.
- the method involves touching, but is quite non-sexual and does not require undressing except for removal of shoes and possibly socks.
Reflexology is sometimes referred to as:
1. Acupressure. This term is not correct because it refers to stimulating various acupuncture meridians using pressure over the acupuncture points. However, one does not need to know acupuncture to do foot reflexology. Reflexology is different from acupressure, although some reflexology points are along acupuncture meridians.
2. Zone therapy. This is another word used to describe reflexology, at times. I am not sure of the origin of the word, but it is fairly accurate.
3. Channel therapy. Reflexology is one type of channel therapy – a therapy that affects the subtle energy channels in the body. For more on the body’s channel system, please read the article entitled Channel Therapies on this website.
4. Correspondence therapy. This is accurate, and it means that one part of the body corresponds to another part in mysterious ways. For much more on this interesting subject, please read Correspondence on this website.
AN ENTIRE CORRESPONDENCE SCIENCE
Foot and hand reflexology is not just a technique to feel better. In fact, it is an entire science of correspondence. This means it is a science of how one part of the body is represented and reflected in another part of the body. One could study it for years because it is quite complex and involved.
EXAMPLES OF REFLEXOLOGY BENEFITS
1. Personal use. Before I knew about nutritional balancing I used reflexology every day to relieve pain. After work, each day, I sat in my living room and jammed my feet into the sharp corners of a coffee table. Other days, I used the sharp corners of the footrest of a recliner chair.
However, I abused the technique, overdoing it in an effort to heal myself because I was not on the right healing program. Eventually, reflexology stopped working.
I still use reflexology several times every day – at least when I awaken and at bedtime. I may also do it while watching television or while sitting for any reason.
I use it more if I feel tired, anxious, irritated, or have difficulty sleeping. Usually, I lie down and do:
- the spinal twist
- foot and hand reflexology.
In many cases, by the time I finish these, I feel much better.
2. Avoiding the emergency room. A friend called me at 1 AM, and asked that I drive him to the hospital, as he had severe abdominal pain. I dressed and went to his apartment.
Before we left, I said, “Let me do reflexology on you before we go to the hospital”. He laid on his bed, and I began rubbing – especially the central part of the foot, which corresponds to the abdominal area. After about 15 minutes, he suddenly got up, went to the bathroom and threw up. When he came out, he said the pain was gone. It was food poisoning, he told me.
3. Back pain. While attending a class, the woman sitting next to me suddenly screamed and fell to the floor, in pain. “It is my back”, she said. “It goes out of joint, at times.” I pulled off one of her shoes and started pressing hard along the arch of her foot, which reflexes to the spinal column. Within a several minutes, she was out of pain and stood up. She was quite shocked, because she said usually these episodes do not go away quickly and require a visit to a chiropractor.
4. Headache. While working as a medical intern in a hospital, a man consulted me with a headache. As he began to tell me about it, I stopped him and asked him to give me his hand while he described the problem. I began pressing and rubbing the palm and especially the thumb and fingers, as well.
When he finished telling me when the headache began, where it hurt, and what type of pain, he said, “It’s strange, but the headache is gone.”
5. Internal bleeding. One night, after working all day in a hospital, I was told by a supervisory physician to remain at the hospital with a lady who had internal bleeding. She was in a lot of pain, and it worried her doctors.
Not knowing what to do, I pulled the curtain around her bed and suggested a foot reflexology session. She agreed. About twenty minutes into the session, she surprised me by saying “I am feeling so much better. You can go home.”
HOW IT WORKS
The reflex channels. A system of tiny tubes or energy channels run vertically down the front and up the back of the body along the entire length of the body. They form what are called the reflex channels that connect to all the organs, glands and tissues of the human and animal body.
Some of the channels turn around at the feet and the hands. This may be why pressing or rubbing in these locations is especially helpful. When one does this, it stimulates the entire channel to empty or open, and this action moves the energy along the channel.
Thousands of these ultra-microscopic channels run the entire length of the body, according to the theory of reflexology channels.
Each part of your foot and hand – top, bottom and sides - corresponds or connects to a particular organ, gland or area of the body. For example, the large toe, and all of the toes to some degree, correspond or reflex to the head. The arch of the foot reflexes or corresponds to the spine. The middle of the foot corresponds to the trunk and internal organs.
As you press on various areas of the feet or hands, sometimes you can feel bits of hard sand-like crystals. This is a kind of sediment that build up in the channels. When it is removed by rubbing properly, the channel opens or empties. Subtle energy then flows to the organ or gland with which the channel is connected. It is a very complex system, but simple to work with.
The reflex channels are a very profound aspect of human physiology that is not well understood. For this reason, and perhaps others, this method is unfortunately not taught to people and not used much by the medical or even the holistic healing professions. However, you can use reflexology or zone therapy with great benefits.
SAFETY AND CAUTIONS
Safety is always the first concern in nutritional balancing science. Reflexology is very safe. However, here are a few cautions:
1. A session should generally last less than half an hour. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually enough.
2. It is not necessary to press or rub a place on the foot or hand for more than one or two minutes.
3. Do not repeat reflexology sessions more than four times daily.
4. Never force anything. If an area of the foot or hand is hard, tender or painful, it usually needs rubbing. However, it may take days, weeks, or even years to soften the area, so be patient.
5. Always use blunt reflexology tools. Never use sharp objects on the hands or feet.
COMMON ERRORS WHEN DOING REFLEXOLOGY
Here are the most common errors and difficulties that may arise with foot and hand reflexology:
1. Overdoing a treatment. Reflexology is actually very powerful. Do not treat yourself or another person for more than 20 to 30 minutes. Only trained people may be able to do longer treatments.
Reflexology can remove some toxic substances from the body very quickly. If these are not released fast enough, or if one overtreats, one can experience some mild toxic effects that usually disappear quickly. These typically include some nausea, light-headedness or perhaps dizziness. These are not usually worrisome, but are not helpful.
Always have just one person rub your hands or feet at a time. More than one person working on the same foot or hand is usually too much. It is probably okay to have one person work on one foot while another works on the other. However, even here, please be careful, as too much treatment is not helpful and can cause some inflammation.
2. Pressing too hard. Pressing or rubbing too hard may cause pain, and even a black and blue mark. If this happens, allow the area to heal for a few days, and then use much less pressure on this area, as the veins may be weak in that area.
When rubbing the top of a foot or a hand, be much more gentle. The blood vessels in this area are far more delicate. Use some oil, if needed, to make rubbing smoother.
3. Pressing or rubbing too lightly. During a session, you should find some painful areas, and perhaps some areas that are quite tender. If you are not feeling any of these, you may be rubbing too gently. Try increasing the pressure a little bit.
Some people do not have enough strength in their fingers to do a good job at reflexology. They should use a foot roller, hand roller, or perhaps sit on a recliner and place their feet on the edge of the foot rest to be able to apply enough force or pressure.
Another method if this is a problem is to sit so that your feet or even hands are placed against the corner of a coffee table to do the treatment. Otherwise, you will need to have someone else do the treatment on you.
ADVANTAGES OF REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology can be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone, even a child. The only requirements are willingness and a little strength in your hands to press on the reflex points.
It is very safe when done properly, and often amazingly powerful and effective for both acute and chronic health conditions.
WHEN TO USE REFLEXOLOGY
Any time your feet hurt. Pain in the feet means they need pressing or rubbing, and the pain will often subside. This may sound too simple, but it usually works very well.
Emergencies. Zone therapy can be used for emergencies, as described later in this article. It may even save a life if used during a heart attack, a stroke, shock or a hemorrhage.
Chronic health conditions: It is excellent for chronic conditions ranging from constipation, pain, subluxation of joints, to very serious conditions as well.
Healing reactions and toxin removal. It can help remove all toxins and infections from the body, and may even be able to shift boney and other structures by some unknown mechanism. It can even help open certain channels of energy that can permanently improve one’s health status and promote what I call mental or spiritual development.
All acute conditions. Reflexology is also excellent for all acute conditions such as infections, accidents and injuries, toothaches, and much more.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM REFLEXOLOGY?
Children. Reflexology is a wonderful method for parents to help their children’s health in a safe, easy and enjoyable manner. Children usually love having their feet rubbed and respond well, in part, because their vitality level is high. This is an important point.
It is also a way to connect and touch your children that is non-sexual, yet quite intimate and very caring and nourishing. It can be used for many problems in children such as stomach aches, headaches, trouble falling asleep (it is fabulous for insomnia), sore throats, colds, other infections, asthma attacks, bruises, other aches and pains, and more. You can also teach your children to do it on themselves, and maybe they will trade with you and give you a session, as well.
Children can also benefit from reflexology in unique ways because the technique may open them to some deeper healing and mental development. This is a large topic discussed in other articles on this website and later in this article.
Teens and adults. Teens usually love this technique. Reflexology is often an excellent way to connect with teenagers, and they can use it safely on their friends, as well. It is a method of non-sexual and non-threatening touch that most enjoy greatly. It can be used just for relaxation and stress release, or for therapy as described elsewhere in this article.
Those over age 65 or so. Adults of all ages can respond beautifully to reflexology. Once again, it is a non-threatening and safe way to connect with elderly patients, and others.
When treating older people, use less pressure, and perhaps do shorter treatments. Use extra care because the skin is usually thinner and more delicate, and the veins are usually weaker and can be broken more easily.
USE FOR DEVELOPMENT
Foot and hand reflexology is very effective to greatly speed up development. This is a unique healing process that is the key to the success of nutritional balancing programs.
The main technique we use is to press on the acupuncture meridians that are on the top of the feet, and the central channel that runs along the arch of each foot from the big toe to the heel. One can also press on the seven energy centers, which run in a line from the top of the end of the fourth toe on each foot straight back in a line toward the heel. These are described in more detail later in this article.
Pressing on these areas about every 5 to 10 minutes while you are doing the pushing down exercise greatly enhances the effect of the pushing down exercise. For details about development, read Introduction To Development.
Another use for hand or foot reflexology is to figure out the cause of a symptom or disease. In fact, this can be a wonderful use for reflexology.
For example, if a person is not feeling well, one can begin to press on various areas of the feet, noticing which reflex points are tender. This can provide excellent insight about which organ, gland or other structure is the cause of the symptoms.
FOOT AND HAND MAPS
I have included two foot reflex maps with this article. If you have any interest in this technique, which I hope you do, then study the maps. They will give you the general layout of the foot reflexes.
However, there are literally thousands of reflex points on the hands or the feet. The maps are simply not large or detailed enough to include most of the reflex points. Some day I hope that will change with the use of computers to list and map the points.
There are a number of ways to do reflexology. Here are the most common ways, each with a few comments.
Pressing versus rubbing. The basic technique is to press or rub on certain points. Pressing is most accurate because you must put pressure on the reflex point. However, you can rub firmly and it will work, to some extent.
Tools. Health food stores or online natural healing stores sell foot rollers, hand rollers, and rubber, wooden or metal balls, blocks, and other devices to help with your reflexology therapy.
Tools can make reflexology more fun, are cleaner than using your fingers, and are excellent if your fingers are not strong enough to do a thorough job. Here are a few comments about reflexology tools:
- Foot rollers. These resemble rolling pins used for baking, but with small projections on them. You can sit in a chair and read, work, talk on the phone, or watch television while rolling your foot back and forth over the roller.
- Pencil-like objects. These are for pressing hard on a spot. These can help, but be careful not to overdo with them.
- Balls. These are usually made of wood or hard plastic that one can roll around under one’s feet. Some people really like these.
- Electrical machines. You insert your feet or hands in the machine, which presses upon, rubs, or vibrates the feet or hands. These are often more like massage than reflexology, but they have some effect and make reflexology very easy.
- Theracane or other back and neck massage tools.
Recliners And Coffee Tables. You can roll or press on the feet with a roller on the floor. However, you can also move the hands or feet over a sharp or pointed surface to do reflexology.
One of these is the corners of the foot support pad of a recliner chair. This works quite well. You can sit comfortably in the chair and position your feet so that the corner of the foot support pad is just below your foot. Then press the foot into the corner of the pad.
The other common object people use is the sharp corner of a living room coffee table. One sits in a comfortable chair that is placed so that the feet just reach the corner of the coffee table. Then, using some muscular force, you press the foot into the corner of the coffee table.
Shoes And Shoe Inserts. Shoe inserts, and even special sandals are sold that have short rubber projections sticking up along the entire sole of the foot. They provide a reflexology session whenever one walks in them.
Shoe inserts or special shoes can definitely be helpful, although one cannot reach all the points. They make reflexology easy to do and more fun. Those that do not like them usually are the very people who need reflexology the most!
Self-therapy vs. By Another vs. Professional reflexology. You can press on your hands and/or feet by yourself.
Self-therapy the following advantages:
- you can do it any time of the day or night.
- you can regulate the pressure and the duration of the session most easily
- you don’t need a friend or partner to help you.
Therapy by another person has the following advantages:
- it can be more fun
- the position is a little better. You don’t have to pull your feet up to reach them.
- you can feel pampered by having someone give you a foot rub.
Professional reflexology is available in many locations. Often, the session begins by soaking your feet in a warm foot bath. Then you sit in a recliner chair for 30 minutes or so for the therapy.
My only concerns are that the person doing it be very clean, washing the hands before and after each session. Young women should always be careful to obtain references before being alone with any health practitioner.
Professional reflexology has the following advantages:
- if done well, it may be more powerful and therapeutic than when done by an amateur.
- it is often a longer, more involved session.
- it is a treat, like going out for ice cream, except that reflexology is a lot better for you!
Massage. Another way some people get foot reflexology is as part of a massage. This can be excellent if the massage therapist knows reflexology and want to spend the time on it. However, usually it is not the main part of the massage, and many massage therapists are not trained as reflexologists, so it is not too powerful.
Walking Barefoot. Another way to do a reflexology session is to walk around barefoot, especially on pebbles or on other uneven surfaces. I don’t recommend this method. It works, but it is easy to get cuts on the feet that can become infected.
The only exception is if you have a safe place to do it, and you slowly condition your feet to the rough surface so that you tolerate it well. Even in this situation, you will not be able to obtain all the benefits of reflexology because it is not possible to press on the top of the foot or the sides of the foot easily while walking.
HOW TO GET STARTED
You will need a map of the feet, and preferably of the hands as well. Two decent maps of the feet can be found on this website in PDF format by clicking on Foot Chart 1 and/or Foot Chart 2. Click here for a Foot Chart in a different format. Others are available via the internet or in some health food stores.
Tools. You may want to experiment with various reflexology tools, as described above. These are not necessary, but some people like to use them.
TYPES OF REFLEXOLOGY SESSIONS
I will suggest three different ways to do reflexology on yourself or on another person. They are:
1. A general or relaxation session. This is used to help relax the body, for
toning of the body, or perhaps if one is in pain or has other symptoms for
which one does not know the cause.
It is also excellent for a generalized infection such as a cold or flu,
and for many other acute or chronic symptoms.
In a general reflexology session, one does not focus on any particular area of the foot or hand. Instead, one rubs firmly both feet or both hands, and one moves along the entire hand or foot.
If a spot appears tense, or is tender and painful, one can spend a little more time working on it. Often the tension or pain will diminish after a minute or two. However, one should continue on to complete the entire treatment of both feet or both hands. A general session usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes per foot or hand.
2. Top of the feet or dorsal surface along the metatarsal bones. This area reflexes to the major acupuncture meridians of the body and to the seven major physical energy centers, also called chakras in Sanskrit.
The acupuncture meridians:
Liver meridian. The webbing, and extending back, between the large toe and the second toe relates to the liver meridian.
Kidney meridian. The webbing, and extending back, between the second and third toes relates to the kidney meridian.
Small intestine meridian. The webbing, and extending back, between the third and fourth toes has to do with the small intestine meridian.
Spleen-pancreas meridian. The webbing, and extending back, between the fourth and fifth toes has to do with the spleen-pancreas meridian.
Stomach meridian. The outside of the metatarsal bone, extending from the base of the smallest or most distal toe back toward the heel, has to do with the stomach meridian.
These are very excellent areas to rub while doing any reflexology session. They are often tender or painful. Just rub them anyway. Some people like having a little length to their fingernails to go deep along and in between the metatarsal bones.
The seven energy centers
These are all found in a line that runs from the heel area, medial side of each foot, forward and it ends at the tip of the fourth toe.
First center (or root center) – medial side of each foot, near the heel, about half way up the foot from the base to the ankle bone.
Second center (just below the navel) - medial side of each foot, also near the heel, just below the ankle bone, about half way up the foot from the floor to the ankle bone.
Third center – (or solar plexus center) - medial side or top of the foot, in front of the ankle bone, slightly toward the heel measuring from the toe to heel, and about ¾ of the way toward the medial side of the top of the foot.
Fourth center – (or heart center) - medial side of the top of each foot, about halfway from the toe to the heel.
Fifth center – (or throat center) - top of the foot, medial side, about 1/3 of the way from the toe to the heel.
Sixth center – (or brow center) – base of the fourth toe, top of the foot.
Seventh center – (or crown center) – tip of the fourth toe on the top of the toe.
3. Spot therapy. This approach focuses on a particular organ, gland or area of the body such as relieving a headache by rubbing the reflex areas on the foot related to the head and neck.
GENERAL PROCEDURAL SUGGESTIONS
The following will enhance any reflexology session:
Š Be sure you are comfortable. Preferably lie down, or sit comfortably in a recliner or other comfortable chair.
Š Relax the entire body. In other words, make sure you are not tense anywhere.
Š Be sure to drink some water if you are thirsty, or eat if you are hungry. In fact, I suggest drinking a small glass of water before each session even if you do not think you are thirsty, as it will often help the session to be more successful.
Š Breathe deeply before and during the session. This is less important, but may help, as well.
Š If someone else is giving you a session, let them know if they are rubbing too hard, or not hard enough. Also, be sure to tell the person who is treating you if you believe an area needs more attention. Tell the person exactly where to rub and how to rub the area. This is very important in some cases.
Š Learn about some odd places to rub, such as the sides and tops of the toes. Also, the crevices between the toes and other unusual spots will often be found to be very sensitive.
Š Sessions usually need not be longer than 10 to 20 minutes per foot or hand. At times, a longer session is helpful, while at times, a shorter session is adequate. Practice will help you determine this.
Š I have had professional reflexology where the practitioner first soaked my feet in warm water. This is relaxing, and is also cleaner for the practitioner, though it is not necessary.
Š Some people like to use a little almond oil or other oil when doing a reflexology session, especially on another person. It can make your hand slide along the foot or hand a little easier. I do not feel this is necessary, but some people prefer it.
Š Reflexology tools. These are usually rubber or wooden rollers, balls that one rolls under the feet, or others. These can be very helpful if used correctly. They are discussed in more detail later in this article.
A GENERAL SESSION FOR RELAXATION
This is a very worthwhile daily or even twice daily use of reflexology. Here are some tips about it:
Š The order of the session is not critical. However, I was taught to begin with the left foot or the left hand first. After finishing the left foot or hand, then move to the right one.
Š I was also taught to begin on the top of each foot, or back of the hand. On the top of the foot or back of the hand only, rub from the ankle or wrist toward the toes or fingers. Then rub the bottom of the foot or palm of the hand. Here I was taught to move from the tips of the toes or fingers toward the feel of the foot or wrist.
Š It may help to always move in a straight lines, although once again this is not that critical in most cases.
Š Rub quite firmly, enough to cause some pain. If, however, the person you are treating becomes tense and complains, back off a little until the person relaxes and allows the therapy. It may take a few sessions for a person to get used to reflexology and to trust you with his or her feet or hands.
This requires that you use a chart or map of the reflexes on the feet and hands. Two decent maps of the feet can be found on this website in PDF format by clicking on Foot Chart 1 and/or Foot Chart 2. Click here for a Foot Chart in a different format. Others are available via the internet or in some health food stores.
You can rub the areas that you feel need attention, and perhaps use the technique to relieve symptoms. It works quickly on many acute symptoms. Chronic conditions will require multiple sessions in most cases, and requires both general sessions and spot therapy in many cases.
Spot therapy is excellent as a remedy for headaches, back aches, poisonings of some kinds, infections, and other symptoms such as an upset stomach, or even an emotional upset. A few simple rules are:
Š In most cases, rub the reflex area you are interested in on both feet, even if the chart shows the problem area to be just on one hand or on one foot. This may enhance your results.
Š If possible, always follow your spot treatment with a quick general foot or hand rub. This can help balance the entire body and therefore help relieve symptoms and tone the body.
Š Do not overdo a spot treatment. Usually, ten to twenty minutes is enough. In a few cases, more time may be needed.
Š Be careful not to rub too hard. Some people rub too lightly, but others definitely rub too hard. It should hurt a little, but not be unbearable. Rubbing too hard can tear blood vessels, especially in older people and in babies. Be careful not to do this, as you will then not be able to do a reflexology treatment until your hand or foot heals. Short movements are sometimes better than longer, deeper movements for this reason.
BLOCKS TO DOING REFLEXOLOGY
This section is in the form of questions and answers.
1. How can I make my feet hurt less when I do reflexology?
The feet hurt, often, because you need reflexology. Do it daily and the pain will subside. Try the reflexology shoe inserts to begin with, perhaps. This will hurt also, but the pain will subside.
2. What can I do about smelly, sweaty feet that I do not want to touch?
1. Do reflexology just after you shower when your feet are clean and smell good.
2. Wear thin socks. This may not be quite as good, but it works.
3. Wash the feet before working on them. You can use a washrag or “baby wipes” sold at the drugstore. Or take a foot bath before your reflexology session. This feels delightful and foot baths are not expensive. (Do not use a detox foot bath – just a plain foot bath sold in many stores).
4. If necessary, begin by working on your hands - and those of your partner, children, parents and friends. The feet are amazing, however, so hopefully you can eventually move to the feet, as well.
3. How can I find time to do reflexology?
1. Do it while talking on the phone.
2. Do it while reading.
3. Do it while watching television or a movie.
4. Schedule it as family time, dating time, or just relaxation time.
5. I do it in bed, before going to sleep or upon awakening. It only takes 10 minutes!
6. Some of our clients do it all day while working at their desk. They rub their feet on a foot roller. This way, it does not take any extra time.
7. Another way to do it throughout the day is to buy a pair of shoe inserts or reflexology shoes, and wear them often.
4. What can I do if my family or cultural tradition is not to touch the feet of oneself or of another?
This is an understandable cultural rule. In past times, the feet were often filthy because people did not bathe often. Today, however, things have changed drastically. It is easy to keep your feet clean, and easy to wash them quickly before a reflexology session.
So it is time to begin a new tradition based on the truth that reflexology is simple, effective, safe and even fun.
SEQUENCES FOR COMMON AILMENTS
1. Do the therapy in the order suggested.
2. Always do both feet, even if your pain or discomfort is only on one side.
3. Work on the left foot first, followed by the right foot.
4. Press or rub more on any area or point that is very tender or painful. Often the tenderness will subside if you do this, and symptoms will also improve.
Headaches. Begin with the spinal twist, followed by pulling up the knees and then pushing down and popping the toes. This is to loosen up the entire structure and subtle energy system.
Then press briefly over each entire foot. This is energizing and relaxing. Do both feet briefly, before moving on to the specific therapy.
Now go to the toes on one of your feet, especially the big toe. You may want to begin by pulling and twisting the toe back and forth, and up and down. You can move it in a circle, as well.
Now rub and press all around the big toe. Do not forget to do the tip of the toe, the soft pad underneath, and all around the base of the toe. Once you are finished with this part of the session, do the same to the other foot.
Finish the session by briefly pressing or rubbing the entire foot, one foot at a time. The whole session should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
Digestive upset. Begin with the spinal twist, pulling up the knees, and popping the toes of both feet. This is to relax you and to move subtle energy throughout the body.
Now briefly rub or press all over both feet, one foot at a time. This is to further relax the body and prepare for the specific therapy.
Now move on to the digestive organs, one foot at a time. These are located in the central area of the bottom of both feet. Spend at least five minutes on this area on each foot.
Finish up with another brief rub or pressing on the entire foot – top bottom, sides and around the ankle bones.
Cardiovascular symptoms such as palpitations or rapid heart beat. This can be very helpful for retracing symptoms during a nutritional balancing program.
Once again, begin by briefly rubbing the entire foot, one foot at a time. Then move to the heart area, which is located on both feet below or to the rear of the second and third toes. Rub the area firmly, all around, especially any spots that are tender or painful. Usually, you will find a few of them. Do one foot at a time.
Now finish up by briefly rubbing the entire foot, one foot at a time.
Premenstrual Syndrome. Our women clients report this can be extremely helpful if you have painful menstrual periods. Once again, begin with a firm, brief rub over the entire foot, one foot at a time.
Now move to the ovarian area, one foot at a time. This is located just below the ankle bone that sticks out on the outside of each foot. Rub all around. Often this area will be very painful or tender. That is okay. Just keep rubbing, one foot at a time.
Finish up with another brief rubbing or pressing of the entire foot, one foot at a time.
These are not included in most foot charts, but they work amazingly for abscesses, pain or inflammation after dental surgery of any kind, and other toothaches. Some points are hard to find, so observe these simple rules:
1. All points are on the SIDES of the THIRD and FOURTH toes.
2. Always do both feet, even though your pain or problem is only on one side.
3. FRONT TEETH are always nearer the nail or TIP of the toe.
4. BACK TEETH are always nearer the BASE of the toe or DEEP IN THE WEBBING of the base of the toes.
5. UPPER TEETH are always on the INSIDE or MEDIAL side of the toes (side nearest the big toe).
6. LOWER TEETH are always on the OUTSIDE or DISTAL side of the toes (side nearest the little pinky toe).
7. When you find the right point, it will usually hurt a lot. Rub firmly for about 10 seconds only (count slowly to 10). Then stop. Repeat this about 7 times a day in this manner.
Pain in the right upper second molar: Look for the reflex point on the FOURTH toe, INSIDE of MEDIAL side, very near the BASE of the toe in the webbing. When you find it, rub it firmly for a slow count of 10 and do this 7 times daily. Always do this on both feet. Often the most change will come from rubbing the toe on the side opposite the painful side.
RESTORING BRAIN ARCHITECTURE
An unusual and interesting use for reflexology is to influence what is called the brain architecture. The brain architecture has to do with twists and distortions within the head or cranium that cause the brain not to sit exactly evenly in the head. This may sound unimportant, but it can be important for health and healing, and disturbances of it are common, in fact.
The cause of the mal-alignment of the brain in the cranium is usually a rape, an old accident, or other injury or trauma. Most people who have this problem are totally unaware of it, but it may affect their thinking and perception in unusual ways. It can even contribute to mental illnesses.
Because this is a somewhat involved procedure, it is discussed in a separate article entitled Brain Architecture.
WORKING WITH ANIMALS
Many people ask me for safe ways they can help heal their animals. Reflexology is one excellent answer.
One can often observe dogs and cats licking or biting their paws. Most often, this is an attempt to do reflexology on themselves. The problem with biting the paws is that the animals can bloody themselves because their teeth are so sharp.
So I suggest you help them out. Use a human foot chart to guide you as to where to rub the paws. The front paws are usually the most important ones to rub.
Always do both left and right paws. Watch your dog or cat and rub where he or she bites the paws to figure out where to rub, if you are not sure. Some day, we will have a reflexology chart for dogs and for cats. For now, use a human reflexology chart, as they are similar. For much more information about dogs, please read Dogs And Nutritional Balancing on this website. For more about cats, please read Cats And Nutritional Balancing.
INTERLOCKING THE FINGERS
Interlocking the fingers of both hands, and then squeezing the fingers together, is a type of reflexology session on the hands. One can put the hands together with palms facing one another, and then put the hands together with palms facing outward and the backs of the hands touching each other.
This is done commonly by people, almost unconsciously. While holding this hand position, one can easily apply pressure to certain reflex points on the sides of the fingers by squeezing the fingers together. This is very safe, as far as I know, and can be quite relaxing as long as one keeps breathing through it.
The most relaxing is often to interlock the fingers when the hands are back to back, meaning the backs of the hands are touching each other, not the front. Another relaxing position is to begin with the hands back to back and then interlock all the knuckles that are closest to the hand.
MAJOR ENERGY CHANNELS OR MERIDIANS
The reflex areas for these are found along the top of the foot. There are seven meridians or channels on each foot. They are parallel to the length of the foot. The first and seventh are actually slightly on the bottom of the foot.
The most medial or innermost channel is the central channel. The reflex area is found along the arch of the foot. There are actually two central channels that are close to each other, one on either side of the spine. There are also two reflex areas – one on each foot.
The second channel starts between the first and second toes and goes back toward the heel. It is associated with the liver meridian in acupuncture.
The third channel starts between the second and third toe and goes straight back between the metatarsal bones to the ankle area.
The fourth channel starts between the third and fourth toes. It goes straight back between the metatarsal bones to the ankle area.
The fifth channel starts between the fourth and fifth toes. It also goes straight back between the metatarsal bones to the ankle area.
The sixth channel starts on the outside of the fifth toe. It also goes straight back between the metatarsal bones to the ankle area.
The seventh channel starts on the pad of the pinky or smallest finger. It is on the bottom of the foot, near the outer edge, and goes back toward the heel of the hand.
THE SEVEN PHYSICAL ENERGY CENTERS
The reflex areas for these are along the fifth channel described above. The seventh center is near the tip of the fourth toe. The sixth is at the based of the fourth toe. The fifth is about an inch back toward the ankle along the fifth channel.
The fourth is about in the middle of the foot, while the third is just ahead of the ankle bone along the fifth channel
The second center is just behind the ankle bone and below it. The first energy center is almost at the Achilles tendon at the end of the fifth channel. All of them are located along the fifth channel as it moves back toward the ankle, and they are on both feet.
“POPPING” THE FINGERS OR TOES DURING A REFLEXOLOGY TREATMENT
“Popping” or pushing down the toes toward the ground should be part of a complete reflexology session. It is relaxing and helps clear the energy flow through the joints of the feet, and perhaps the hands.
How to “pop” a toe or finger correctly. To do this properly without injuring oneself, first take hold of a toe or finger firmly, holding it on the sides or the top and bottom with several fingers. Then pull the toe or finger slightly away from the foot or hand, and then quickly bend it downward.
When this is done, a quick release of tension may occur, usually with a slight popping sound. If it does not happen, do not worry about it, and in general, do not keep trying to do it more than twice, for example. In some people, it occurs easily, while in others it takes more pressure or it does not occur.
This procedure seems to relieve some congestion in the joint of the feet or hands, and at times, actually adjusts the joints similar to the way a chiropractic session adjusts the spine. It can be profoundly relaxing and definitely assists the flow of subtle energy throughout the entire body, at times.
Always pull or pop the foot or hand joints gently, as too much force could damage a joint. The popping sound is annoying or scary for some people. When done correctly, however, I am not aware that it causes any damage. People have done it thousands of time with no apparent ill effects.
THE SPINAL TWIST
This goes along beautifully with a reflexology session. Both procedures tend to balance the body and restore the flow of subtle energy throughout the body. I always begin a reflexology session with the spinal twist.
I twist the hips, then bend each knee and pull the leg toward your rear end, and then pop the toes, as explained in the section above. I also attempt to move the core by bending the foot like you are going to fold it in half along the long axis (from toes to heel). Even if it does not obviously move, it is excellent to move some subtle energy.
For the details on this topic, please read The Spinal Twist on this site.
Yoga. Some clients tell me they don’t need the spinal twist or reflexology because they do yoga. However, I do not recommend yoga, except the gentlest restorative yoga. Among the reasons for this warning are:
1. Yoga spins the third energy center backwards. This is a serious problem.
2. It moves energy in the wrong direction (which is any direction except downward).
3. Soft tissue injuries are very common.
For more on yoga, please read Yoga on this site.
HOLDING THE FEET
This is another simple technique that feels very good, in some cases. One simply holds the foot of the other person, with one hand on top of the foot and one hand on the bottom.
A very good position is to place the hand that is on the bottom perpendicular to the foot, with the center of the palm of the hand over the middle section of the foot – or heart area. This can be very soothing. Place the other hand on the top of the middle of the foot and join the two hands at the fingers.
One can also hold the heel area, and definitely try holding the toe areas of each foot. Put a little pressure as you do it, as this may feel even better. The person who is acting as therapist should send energy into the foot as this is done.
The anal reflex system. While is may sound unusual, there is a reflex system in the round outer sphincter muscle of the anus. We discovered this accidentally while using a bidet, which sprays water on the anus from below and fits onto a toilet. The head area is nearest the front of the body, while the lower organs are nearer the spine.
Knowledge of foot reflexology is very ancient. The technique has been around for thousands of years, and was used in many ancient cultures.
History with nutritional balancing. Dr. Paul Eck did not include reflexology in his nutritional balancing programs, although he was aware of the benefits of foot and hand reflexology. I added this technique because it fits our stringent criteria for therapies that are safe, yang in macrobiotic terminology, inexpensive and very effective.
DISCOLORATION OF THE FEET
I have observed with several clients that during a nutritional balancing program, a reflex area of the feet may suddenly discolor. The area usually changes to a darker, brown or purplish color.
First rule out causes such as stubbing your toe, a tight shoe, or stepping on a rock. If there is no obvious cause, it can be a healing reaction that involves the reflex system on the feet. You may be able to ascertain where healing is taking place by noting which reflex area is discolored.
The discoloration usually goes away by itself in a week or so, once the healing reaction is completed. No therapy is required. You can press on the affected area of the foot, and this may speed up the healing.
DEVELOPMENT AND REFLEXOLOGY
Reflexology is very powerful to speed up development. This may occur because reflexology helps open certain energy channels in the body that will remain open for the rest of one’s life.
Development will enhance one’s health, improve elimination of all types of toxins, and can help extend life. The concept of development is discussed in a number of articles on this website such as Introduction To Development.
This is an area that runs through the middle of the bottom of each foot. It is often very tight, and can be painful to the touch. Doctors sometimes believe that when this area is painful, one has plantar fasciitis. However, usually it is just that this foot reflex area is extremely tense and inflamed.
This area is one of the last ones to relax on most people. Therefore, do not concern yourself with it too much. Just do your sessions, and eventually, the core softens.
SOLID ORGANS, HOLLOW ORGANS AND REFLEXOLOGY
The solid organs of the body include the liver, kidneys, brain, spleen, pancreas, and all of the glands such as the thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, testis, pituitary and pineal glands.
The hollow organs are the lungs, stomach, large and small intestines, heart, urinary bladder and gall bladder.
When doing reflexology, you may find that the solid organs can take a little more pressure than the hollow organs. For this reason, you may need to apply less pressure and be more gentle when working on the hollow organs such as the lungs and bronchial tubes. This may help to fine tune your treatments for the greatest effectiveness.
No formal training is needed to do reflexology, though some instruction can be helpful. Several books are available about it. Good ones are Stories The Feet Have Told and Stories The Feet Can Tell by Ingram. Another book is called Zone Therapy.
Depending on where you live, schools and on-line institutes offer courses of study if you want to delve more deeply into this fascinating science.
PLANTAR FASCIITIS AND REFLEXOLOGY
Foot pain affects more than 3 million Americans each year. Often a doctor will call the problem plantar fasciitis. This means inflammation of the large tendon that connects the toes and the heel, located on the bottom of the foot.
However, in many cases, foot pain is just the body’s way of signaling you that it needs a reflexology session.
Our clients sometimes tell me “I cannot rub my feet because they hurt”. I respond – “Your feet hurt because you need reflexology, and you can often literally rub out the pain.
Basically, the flow of subtle energy is stuck, which causes the pain. Reflexology solves the problem and the pain goes away. Try it!
DETAILS ABOUT REFLEX AREAS
The arch – Reflex To The Spine
The Toes – Reflex to the head and brain.
Between the Metatarsals – Top Of The Feet – reflex to the main meridians.
The Sexual Areas – these are mainly on either side of the foot, just below the ankle bone.
The thyroid gland and neck – the neck or base of the big toe
The Adrenal, Kidney and Bladder Areas – bottom of the foot just ahead of the heel.
Reflexology Above the Ankle Bone – the meridians travel through this area. Rubbing or pressing here can help activate and clear the meridians.