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Discover The Health Benefits Of Reflexology

By Dr. Christina Stevens
Updated March 28, 2017

Reflexology is a practice that involves placing pressure on certain areas of the hands, feet and ears. It is most commonly used to relieve stress and induce relaxation.

The theory behind reflexology is that certain pressure points on your body are linked to your internal organs, and manipulating those areas is said to have health benefits. Practitioners of reflexology use their hands, rubber balls, sticks or other tools to create the pressure, and use charts to guide them to the appropriate areas.

There are many other potential benefits of reflexology, so it is a potential topic to talk over with your doctor as part of your treatment plan.

Cancer Patients

Cancer itself can cause pain, discomfort and stress, but many of the treatments exacerbate these issues. Several studies have shown that undergoing reflexology as a cancer patient can help alleviate diarrhea, nausea, pain and constipation. These can dramatically improve the quality of life for someone who has cancer.

Other research shows that reflexology can help increase a cancer patient’s appetite and help them sleep better. Reflexology also showed promise as a way to ease the fear and stress that having cancer causes.

By manipulating the body to reduce stress, that fear and concern is often lessened so that the patient can get through treatment more smoothly. Having a regular reflexology appointment also helps keep cancer patients from isolating themselves, and gives them a social and emotional outlet on a consistent basis.

Depression And Anxiety

Because one of the main perks of reflexology is to reduce stress and induce relaxation, it may be a valid addition to a treatment plan for patients with anxiety or depression. Several studies have linked positive results when postmenopausal women receive reflexology.

It’s also shown promise as a way to alleviate the stress that patients feel before undergoing surgery. Reflexology may also benefit people who suffer anxiety and depression due to other reasons.

However, it should never replace traditional treatment methods, but is certainly a great way to enhance your present medication and therapy regime. Talk to your doctor about whether reflexology might be right for you.


The idea behind reflexology, is that by stimulating certain pressure points that influence your internal organs, you can treat health problems. One small study found that people who had undergone heart surgery were able to be weaned from their ventilation regimen sooner than patients who did not receive reflexology after their heart surgery.

Although this study was small, it shows promise in using reflexology on hospital patients recovering from heart procedures, as a way to help them feel better more quickly so that they can be discharged sooner.


Another small research group studied the effects of reflexology on diabetes and found enough promise that more research is being done in this area. Preliminary results indicate that a regular reflexology routine can help people suffering from type 2 diabetes to control their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

This one study isn’t enough to prove a significant improvement, but it allows researchers to continue learning more about it. If you think reflexology might help you control your diabetes, it makes sense to talk it over with your doctor.

Migraine Headaches

People who suffer with debilitating migraines are likely to try anything to get rid of the pain. Reflexology is a viable choice, since massaging pressure points and acupuncture are both treatments that have been shown to alleviate migraine pain. So it makes sense that applying pressure, as reflexologists do, can provide similar results.

In fact, one research study showed that people who underwent reflexology during a migraine experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms three months later, to such a degree that the reflexology worked just as well as traditional medications.

Pain In Children

Some children have diseases or conditions that cause them to suffer pain. In several pediatric studies, reflexology has been shown to help reduce the pain and keep these kids more comfortable. Studies show that foot reflexology shortened crying jags, lowered heart rate and increased oxygen saturation among these children.

As well as this, kids who suffer constipation as a result of their health or their medication routine may benefit from regular reflexology, as it can help stimulate the bowel and digestive systems to improve frequency and regularity. Reflexology should never be used on children without the consent of a pediatrician.

In addition to these claims, proponents of reflexology also say that the practice can have positive effects on other health problems. These include multiple sclerosis, asthma, sinusitis and several others.

However, it’s important to remember that most of the research studies done are small and that limits their viability. As research continues, you may hear more about whether reflexology might be right for you and your health. In the meantime, consider talking it over with your doctor before getting started.

According to the Mayo Clinic, reflexology is generally considered safe. However, it might not be right for you if you have a foot injury or a condition that affects your feet. Arthritis and vascular disease are two examples. If you have or have ever suffered from an embolism or thrombosis, reflexology is likely not the right choice for you, and you should avoid it until approved by your doctor.

Women who are pregnant should discuss reflexology with their doctors because in some cases stimulation of the feet can induce labor and can be dangerous in certain months of pregnancy. While reflexology is usually fine to use on children, sessions should be limited in length to prevent them from becoming upset with the process.

discover-the-health-benefits-of-reflexology-pin Some experts also suggest waiting at least 48 hours after any other type of touch therapy to prevent an overload to your system. Finally, if you have any open wounds, reflexology is probably something you’re better off skipping until you heal.

Reflexology shows a lot of promise in the health community, but it pays to approach it with caution. While it can certainly enhance your treatment plan for a wide variety of health conditions, you should never use it to replace medications and other treatments your doctor has prescribed.

However, you should never stop any such treatment without first discussing it with your physician. They might agree that reflexology can be used in conjunction with your current treatments, but that it probably won’t take the place of one.

Once you get the go-ahead, be sure to choose a licensed reflexologist with experience in treating your specific health condition. Interview several practitioners to be sure you feel comfortable and are able to communicate effectively.

Reflexology certainly can’t hurt you, so you have nothing to lose from giving it a try and a whole lot to gain. Stick with a regular reflexology schedule to maximize the results and get the most out of your sessions. Talk to your doctor about it today.


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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Christina Stevens
Dr Christina Stevens is a human dynamo who is passionate about spreading the word on alternative and complementary medicine. For the past two decades, she has been on a mission to help people reclaim their lives and their health using a wide range of alternative therapies. She has also had the privilege of being featured on TV shows in Canada and the U.S., and writes for many alternative therapy publications. “I want people to realize that any disease can be reversed using alternative treatments. My treatments and advice is based on verifiable results from clinical studies, ensuring my patients find real relief that provides them with healing and resolution of their health problems.”

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