Foot Reflexology Pressure Points (And How To Give Yourself A Foot Massage)
- What Are Foot Reflexology Pressure Points?
- Treatment Plans for Specific Ailments
What Are Foot Reflexology Pressure Points?
In reflexology theory, the feet contain points or areas that “reflect” back to various organs and parts of the body. These points are on the bottom (plantar) surface, the top (dorsal) surface, and on the outside (lateral) and inside (medial) of the foot.
Foot reflexology chart
In general, the foot is divided up into regions that reflect back to various areas of the body. The general division is that the toes and the area just below them reflect back to the head and various organs in the head (eyes, ears, nose, sinuses).
The inside surface of both feet reflects back to the spine, while the outer surfaces reflect back to the shoulders, arms, hips, knees, and legs. The bottom of the foot is worked for effect on organs, with the upper third of the foot being organs in the chest (lungs, heart), the middle third being abdominal organs (stomach, spleen, liver, intestines) and the lower third being pelvic organs (reproductive organs, bladder, colon, etc).
How to Work on Reflexology Points
In traditional Western Reflexology, points and areas can be worked using thumb-walking, finger-walking, pivoting, and sliding. (1) Eastern Reflexology and some Integrative Reflexology practices may also include the use of light stroking, knuckles, circular friction, and tools.
- Thumb-walking – Can be used on the majority of the reflexes, with the exception of very small points. The outer edge of the tip of the thumb applies the pressure. With the first knuckle of the thumb bent, move the thumb all around reflex being worked by taking tiny “steps” with the thumb.
- Finger-walking – Is done using a finger or multiple fingers rather than the thumb, but with the same kind of process as thumb-walking. It is used primarily on the top and sides of the feet.
- Pivoting – Is used on small reflex points to pinpoint pressure. The tip of the thumb is rotated slowly on the reflex point.
- Sliding – Can be used to help break down deposits, and is performed by sliding the thumb over an area while maintaining gentle pressure.
- Light strokes – Are used on the tops of the feet and over the ankles.
- Circular friction -Can be used in a manner similar to thumb-walking on many reflex areas. Is often used in Eastern Reflexology on the lines on the inside and outside of the lower legs. The fingers or thumb is moved in a circular manner along a reflex line.
- Knuckles – Can be used to put deeper pressure on areas on the bottom of the foot, or used in a similar manner to pivoting with the thumb.
- Tools – Such as reflexology sticks are used to reduce the strain on the hands of the practitioner. They can be used like pivoting on specific reflexology points or can be used for light stroking or sliding. Care must be taken when using a tool to not exert excessive pressure.
How To Give Yourself A Foot Reflexology Massage – Tutorial
Treatment Plans for Specific Ailments
Reflexology aimed at specific ailments should be considered a complementary therapy rather than a primary treatment. Optimally, any treatment for a specific ailment would first begin with a full reflexology treatment, so that the feet are warmed up and all systems of the body have been addressed.
When working specific reflex areas, feel for areas that are tight or feel like they have small hard nodules in them. These are areas that have congestion that needs to be broken up. Work within your tolerance, and do not use excessive pressure.
Low Back Pain and Sciatica Reflexology
Work on the lumbar spine and sacral areas. These are found along the inside of the foot from approximately mid-foot to the heel. Use thumb-walking, circular friction, and/or sliding. Work the sciatic nerve area on the bottom of the heel using thumb-walking, knuckles and/or a tool.
Other areas that may be affected and need work include the hip and knee points on the outside of the foot near where the heel meets the mid-foot, reproductive and pelvic muscle areas on the outside and inside of the heel area, large intestine areas on the bottom of the foot just above the heel, and lymphatic areas on the top of the foot. (1,2)
Foot reflexology points for general headaches
Work on the areas of the foot associated with the head. These are found on the big toe, from the tip of the toe to the base. These areas can be worked with thumb-walking, pivoting or a tool. Work the entire spinal reflex from the base of the toe to the heel on the inner edge of the foot.
Work the sinus points, which are found on each toe about the center of the pad on the bottom of the toe. Sinus reflexes can bet worked with point pressure. You can also work the digestive system in the middle of the bottom of the foot, and the lymphatic areas on the top of the foot. (1,2)
Migraine headaches are headaches that are intense, generally confined to one side of the head, and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, an aversion to bright lights, and visual disturbances.
Work the head points on the great toe; the solar plexus area at the center of the plantar surface of the foot, just below the ball; the entire spine reflex along the inside edge of the foot; the neck reflexes around the bottom of the great toe; reflex points for the sinuses on the pads of the toes; the area for the eyes on the ball of the foot, between the 2nd and 3rd toes; the pituitary gland point near the center of the pad of the big toe; the area for the thyroid gland, at the base of the big toe and between the first and second metatarsal on the ball of the foot; the areas for the ovaries (for women), which are on the outside of the heel around the ankle bone (malleolus), and the areas for the digestive system and liver in the middle of the plantar surface of the foot. (1)
For allergy symptoms, work the head (great toe), face (top of the great toe), and lymphatic system (top of the foot). If food allergies are involved, it is also good to work the digestive system (in the center of the plantar surface of the foot). For upper respiratory and sinus issues, work the sinus points on the pads of the toes and the lung and bronchial areas on the ball of the foot). (1,2)
Foot reflexology for tension or stress
An overall reflexology session is important for people with chronic stress since it can result from many different causes and affect many different systems.
Focus on the solar plexus point at the center of the foot, just below the ball of the foot; the heart area on the ball of the left foot; the lungs areas on the balls of both feet; and the adrenal glands near the inside center of the feet. In addition, use some relaxing foot massage at the end of the reflexology session. (1)
For people who have difficulty sleeping, like those with stress or tension, focusing on the areas for overall relaxation is recommended. These areas include the head and reflex areas on the great toe; the solar plexus point at the center of the foot, just below the ball of the foot; and the adrenal glands near the inside center of the feet. In addition, use some relaxing foot massage at the end of the reflexology session. (1)
Menopause may bring symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, palpitations, joint pain, dizziness, ringing in the ears, weight gain, short-term memory loss, incontinence, shortness of breath, headaches, dry eyes and fatigue, among others. Reflexology treatments for these symptoms work on the uterus areas on the inside of the heel just below the ankle bone (malleolus), the area for the ovaries on the outside of the heel near the lateral malleolus.
Use circular pressure on these areas. Also work the endocrine system including the adrenal gland areas on the bottom of the foot near the inside center of the arch, the thyroid, and parathyroids area below the great toe and between the first and second metatarsal bones, as well as the pituitary point on the pad of the great toe. (4)
- Wills, P. The Reflexology Manual: An Easy-to-Use Illustrated Guide to the Healing Zones of the Hands and Feet. 1995. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont.
- Miller, C.M. Bringing the Feet to Life: Integrative Reflexology, Volume 2: 4-Theory Integrative Approach. 2004. Claire Marie Miller Seminars, Inc.
- Galls, S.P. The Art of Thai Foot Massage: A Step-by-Step Guide. 2008. Findhorn Press. Findhorn, Forres, Scotland.
- Berger, J and Sachs, J. Reflexology: The A-Z Guide to Healing with Pressure Points. 1997. Del Publishing. New York.