By Juan Bernardo Pena Romero
Nationally Board Certified Reflexologist
New York, 2015
Definition: “Is a non-invasive, complementary modality involving
thumb and finger techniques so apply alternating pressure to
reflex maps of the body located on the feet, hands, and outer
“Foot reflexology is based on the premise that there are zones
and reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond all body
“Reflexologist do not treat, diagnose or prognosticate any specific
illness. The most the reflexologist can do is to help the client’s
body return to a state of balance through the relaxation process.”
A brief history of North
ZONE THERAPY: Dr. William FitzGerald (1872-1942) divides
the body into ten zones. Five of each side of the sagital plane.
ZONE MARKINS: Dr. Joe Shelby Riley (1856-1947)
developed zone therapy by adding eight horizontal divisions
to the zones of the feet and hands. Reflexes found on the feet
and hands that follow the anatomy of the body.
Eunice Ingham (1889-1972) her highest contribution was to
working with the reflexes alternating pressure, and rather
than having a numbing effect, stimulating recovery. She wrote
Three differences between
Reflexology and Massage
1) Reflexology is the application of
alternating pressures to the reflex points
on the hands, feet and ears.
2) The scope of practice: the ears and
the extremities. From the ankles and
wrists distally to the tips of the toes and
3) Application: Hands, feet, ears and
face. Only shoes and socks removed.
Cream or powder used during session.
1) Massage is the systematic and
scientific manipulation of the soft tissues
of the body.
2) The scope of practice: the entire
3) Application: To the entire body.
Client undresses. Use oil, lotion, and /or
“ Both are considered meridian therapies as they propose that
energy lines link the hands and feet to various body parts.
“ This enables the whole body to be treated by working on the
“ These meridians are pathways through the energy of the universe
circulate throughout the body organs and keeps the universe and
the body in harmony.
“ The acupuncturist believes that illness or pain occurs when the
pathways become blocked, disrupting the energy flow and breaking
the body’s harmony.
“ Reflexologist also work on acupuncture and acupressure points
only those found in the feet. (4)
“ A premise of the meridian theory is that vital life force exists in the
body and that optimum health is achieved and maintained when
energy flows in balance. Reflexologists work reflexes and vertical
zones to encourage the body’s innate healing wisdom to
reestablish balance and health.(5)
• This theory states that the rhythmic and compressive
techniques of reflexology work the neurolymphatic points
producing Lymphatic movement, which release the body of
toxins, debris, and other unneeded products.(6)
• The premise is that the 7200 Nerve endings in each foot,
communicate with the nerves in the spine, and from there,
with the brain. The pressure applied to the reflex area in
the feet or hands is transmitted to the brain, which
produces an immediate reaction.(7)
• This theory organizes the body longitudinally, including the
feet and hands, into ten equal, vertical imaginary segments
called zones, plus transverse body zones. In zone therapy,
pressure applied in a zone affects the entire area.(8)
1) Reflexology stimulate balance and
normalization of the body naturally. Finally It
promotes the body's homeostasis;
2) Reflexology reduces stress and brings
about relaxation; and
3) Reflexology improves circulation and the
delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells
Stimulation of Reflexology zones is also thought to
encourages the brain to produce more endorphins, chemicals
on the body that relieve pain and create a feeling of well-
The interruption of the pain cycle, eases suffering
and help the body to relax and feel comfortable.
Reflexology effects on cancer pain and anxiety. 2007 School of Nursing, East Carolina
University, Greenville, NC, USA. Reflexology decrease in pain intensity and anxiety.
Reflexology for symptom relief in patients with cancer. 2008 Department of Mental Health
Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, The Hampstead Campus, London,
England. Patient-reported levels of physical and psychological indices of symptom distress and
quality of life.
The effect of foot reflexology on pain in patients with metastatic cancer. 2003 East
Carolina School of Nursing, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USA. Foot reflexology was found to
have a positive immediate effect for patients with metastatic cancer who report pain.
Evaluation of the Effect of Reflexology on Pain Control and Analgesic
Consumption After Appendectomy. 2015 Department of Complementary and Chinese Medicine,
School of Persian and Complementary Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences ,
Mashhad, Iran . Was a notable difference in pain intensity between the intervention and other
groups after reflexology therapy
“ Soft tissue massage ( foot reflexology) generated feelings of
existential respite with perceptions of being released from illness
for a while. Two categories constituted the basis of the
experiences: (1) "an experience of thoughtful attention" and (2) "a
sensation of complete tranquility" resulting in the overarching
theme "A time of existential respite.“ (9)
of foot reflexology on pain in
patients with metastatic
• 2003 1East Carolina School of
Nursing, Greenville, NC
• Foot reflexology was found to
have a positive immediate
effect for patients with
metastatic cancer who
Comparing the effects of
reflexology and relaxation on
fatigue in women with
• 2015 1Isfahan Neurosciences
Research Center, Faculty
Member, School of Nursing
and Midwifery, Isfahan
University of Medical
Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
• It seems that both
interventions were effective
in reducing fatigue, but the
effects of reflexology on
reducing fatigue were more
than those of relaxation
Immediate effects of a five-
minute foot massage on
patients in critical care.
• 1999 University of
Hertfordshire, Centre for
Research in Primary and
Community Care, Hatfield,
indicated foot massage had
the potential effect of
increasing relaxation as
evidenced by physiological
changes during the brief
intervention administered to
critically ill patients in
Stress affects different people in distinct ways. One person may exhibit
cardiovascular difficulties, other intestinal complications. Others suffer
headaches, palpitation, migraine or general pain. Abnormal tension causes
tightening of the muscles of the spine; thus nerves are affected and resulting
in pain. Finally, people are suffering for many bad health conditions.
By foot reflexology it is achieved that the body returns to a state of
homeostasis. The general balance achieved, all the muscles relax and the
effect is seen throughout the body. Intestinal complications and cardiovascular
difficulties may become less frequent and eventually disappear. Decreased
stress is achieved regain the sleep state, improve appetite and change harmful
Include, but are not limited to, working directly of the
“ 1) Varicose veins, which are dilated, knotty and irregular-
shaped veins with incompetent valves.
“ 2) Severe edema.
“ 3) Current fractures, recent surgeries, severe sprains, or gout.
“ 4) Contagious or infectious diseases.
“ 5) Lacerations, open wounds and / or sores found on the feet
that are oozing fluids.
“ 6) After and organ trasplant until a release is obteined from
“ 7) During the early stages of induced labor until a release is
obtained from the physician.” (10)
References and Bibliography
1. American Reflexology Certification Board, 2013. Foot Certification Study Guide, p.20
2. Ibid, p 20
3. Ibid, p 21
Dr. Frederic Vinyes, 1998. La respuesta está en los pies. Barcelona, Integral.
4. Dwight C. Byers and Nancy S. Byers, 1994. Anatomy & Reflexology Helper Areas.
Florida, Ingham Publishing, p.14
Hanne Marquardt, 1994. Manual Práctico de la Terapia de las Zonas Reflejas de los
pies. Barcelona, Ediciones Urano.
Inge Dougans and Suzanne Ellis, 1992. The art of Reflexology. N.Y. Barnes & Noble
Lilian Tibshraeny, 2008. Reflexology and Meridian Therapy. Seminole, Florida, JLM
5. Paula S. Stone, 2011. Therapeutic Reflexology. New Jersey, Pearson, p.17
6. Ibid, p 17
7. Ibid, p 18
8. Ibid, p 19
9. Department of Oncology-Pathology, 2009. The existential experiences of receiving soft
tissue massage in palliative home care and intervention. Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden