Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet (or the hands). Reflexology is generally relaxing and may help alleviate stress.
The theory behind reflexology is that areas of the foot correspond to organs and systems of the body. Pressure applied to the foot is believed to bring relaxation and healing to the corresponding area of the body.
Reflexologists use foot charts to guide them as they apply pressure to specific areas. Reflexology is sometimes combined with other hands-on therapies and may be offered by chiropractors and physical therapists, among others.
Several studies indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as stress and anxiety, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Given that reflexology is also low risk, it can be a reasonable option if you're seeking relaxation and stress relief.
Dec. 15, 2020
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See more Expert Answers
- Bauer BA. Other approaches. In: Integrative Medicine. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Reflexology. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/reflexology. Accessed Nov. 14, 2018.
- McCullough JE, et al. The physiological and biochemical outcomes associated with a reflexology treatment: A systematic review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:502123.
- Abbaszadeh Y, et al. Effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and physiological parameters in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery: A clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2018;31:220.
- McCullough J, et al. Reflexology: A randomised controlled trial investigating the effects on beta-endorphin, cortisol and pregnancy related stress. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2018;31:76.
- Attias S, et al. Analgesic effects of reflexology in patients undergoing surgical procedures: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2018;24:809.
- Bakir E, et al. The effects of reflexology on pain and sleep deprivation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2018; 31:315.