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Reflexology for Stress and Anxiaty

If you've tried everything to ease stress and anxiety over the years, it might be time to get focused on the soles of your feet. Believe it or not, certain points on your feet target different areas of the body to relieve pain, sore muscles and can even help with chronic health conditions, ranging from headaches to anxiety. It may sound a little far fetched , but foot reflexology has been around centuries and it feels amazing!

What Is Foot Reflexology?

Reflexology is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believed to be dated back to 3,000 years, according to licensed acupuncturist and founder of CBD and Chinese Herbs medicine retailer Menard, K.(2022).Similar to acupuncture, reflexology targets pressure points that are assigned to different areas in your body, addressing and preventing any issues throughout the body, like sore muscles and chronic illnesses, Like other (TCM) reflexology is all about returning balance to your body's flow of energy, also known as Qi. (chi)

According to Menard, K(2022) reflexology restores the natural flow of Qi through the intentional massaging of the feet, hands and ears, It is believed that these body parts are a microcosm of the entire human body, and a skilled reflexologist can detect imbalances of Qi and disease in specific organs. He also believes and says “ that varying degrees of pressure can send the Qi and blood to the corresponding organs to restore balance and improve the health of your body. Gilmore, L(2018) President of the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) agrees and says your entire body is mapped out on your feet, hands, and ears. So, while reflexology, in general, can be performed using numerous extremities, such as hands and ears , foot reflexology focuses solely on your feet.

How Does Foot Reflexology Work?

According to Gilmore, L(2018) “The process involves using thumb and finger techniques to apply alternating pressure to the reflexes points in order to trigger the 7,000-plus nerve endings in each foot sending impulses throughout the body. Gilmore, L (2018) also says "Reflexology addresses every organ, gland, and system in the body," she also adds. "It is a method for promoting health by activating the healing potential of the body through relaxation." When you're receiving treatment, the reflexologist will first work through all the points, addressing your entire body before spending some time on a specific area of concern. (For example if you have a digestive condition, the therapist will work all the reflexology points of the whole body, then return to focus on the points related to the digestive system.

Foot reflexology isn't just about treating already existing problems; it can also be preventative and beneficial even if you're perfectly healthy or , aiding symptoms like headaches, fertility issues , and sore muscles can all be treated through reflexology.

A reflexology foot map is divided into three zones the "Diaphragm Line," the "Waistline," and the "Hip Line," with each section relating to that area of the body, and each foot is responsible for its respective side of the body, For example, right foot( right side )and the top of your foot ( the toes) represents your head and the heel acts as the bottom of your torso.

The map is a simplified breakdown of the foot, but there are many more specific points that correlate with each organ and body part. You can find a comprehensive map on the International Institute of Reflexology website( see references)

How Does Foot Reflexology Treat Stress and Anxiety?

In addition to treating sinus troubles, digestive issues, and more, reflexology can be a great way to combat anxiety and stress, says Gilmore, L(2018). “ When we're experiencing great levels of stress, we tend to tighten our muscles, but reflexology can help to relax that tension that you're harboring.” Research has shown from ( 2020) an evidence-based complementary alternative medicine conducted by Wang Wei-Li(2020) et al. Found that in 26 randomized controlled studies involving 2,366 participants, foot reflexology significantly improved adult anxiety. Henshall, L( 2023) Founder of Seattle Reflexology , believes and says “Reflexology can bring a sense of peace and connection to your body by "shifting the brain wave patterns into deeper consciousness where the body can most effectively heal itself."

So why is the practice so effective in reducing mental health conditions?

Well according to Hensell, L(2023) " The practice releases endorphins and serotonin which help the body to shift from a sympathetic state (your flight or fight response) into a parasympathetic mode (your resting state). Reflexology can bring a sense of peace and connection to your body "by shifting the brain wave patterns into deeper consciousness where the body can most effectively heal itself,"

Mental health expert, Hafeez, S Psy.D(20o3) a New York City-based neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind , agrees and says " Reflexology can be a powerful tool for relieving stress and anxiety, in addition to therapy and other methods of treatment. Hafeez, S(2003) also says reflexology can reduce stress and anxiety by "rebalancing the lymphatic and endocrine system, and boosting circulation, inducing a state of calm throughout your body and mind, leaving you feeling less stressed and anxious.".

You can apply the release from reflexology in your everyday life, because we know what stress feels like, we forget what true relaxation feels like," says Gilmore, L(2018). She also suggests regular reflexology sessions create a familiarity with what true relaxation feels like. This familiarity gives us a baseline sensation that we can return to more rapidly in times of stress

Are There Any Risks Associated With Foot Reflexology?

Foot reflexology is a holistic approach that is not painful, has no side effects, and is non-invasive, making it safe for all ages. During the session, you'll be asked to remove footwear but will otherwise remain clothed.

Gilmore,L(2018) says while there are very few risks associated with the practice there are exceptions, if you currently have any broken bones. Generally reflexology is safe during pregnancy and has many benefits. However, it is very important to understand that it does not substitute usual medical care and advice given by your midwife.As reflexologists we work with clients, not patients, and we work within our scope of practice. Should you find yourself with a reflexologist who claims they can 'cure' anything, run away," says Gilmore,L(2018)

The Bottom Line On Foot Reflexology

If you're someone who has been intrigued by TCM and acupuncture but prefers something non-invasive, reflexology could be for you. At the very least, you'll receive a relaxing, massage-like service, bound to reduce stress even if just momentarily. With very few risks and no side effects, you literally have nothing to lose except your anxiety.

For further enquiries and to book an appointment

Contact Jenny @



How to Use Foot Reflexology for Stress and Anxiety. Petak, T (2022) cited in Accessed(19.02.23

American Reflexology Certification Board. Gilmore, L(2018) cited in

International Institute of Reflexology . Graham, E(1938) cited in

Effect of Foot Reflexology Intervention on Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Quality in Adults: A Meta-Analysis and Metaregression of Randomized Controlled Trials.

Wang Wei-Li(2020) et, al. cited in


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