What is reflexology?

Reflexology is the art of healing by touching and stimulating specific areas of the body.

What is reflexology?

Definition of reflexology


Reflexology is a manual method classified in the category of unconventional medical practices. A particular form of massage, it is based on the theory that a specific point located at the level of the hands, ears or feet is connected to well-defined organs or physiological function of the human body.

A studied massage or a precise support on these points leads to the localization of the tensions and aims to restore the balance of the body.

Reflexologists thus advance the idea that their practice activates the body's self-healing potential. Stimulation of specific areas acting on physiological function then makes it possible to restore the latter's balance, at the same time stimulating healing.

Reflexology: basic principle

Reflexology is a medical method that the practitioner performs with his hands.

Similar to shiatsu massage, the method integrates an energetic and general approach to the body through manual contact. Far from boasting about curing specific diseases, reflexology aims to bring total relaxation by the unwinding of areas of tension, or by restoring balance when an organ works more than it is not necessary.

This hyperfunction is generally recognized by a painful reflex zone to the touch, referring to the organ in question. Reflexology is therefore intended to be a practice aimed at relieving many ailments such as respiratory disorders, headaches, intestinal problems, stress and also contributes to the treatment of certain mental disorders.

History of reflexology

Regarding the basis of reflexology, ancient writings and illustrations tend to locate the first practices in Antiquity. The method was then practiced in China and Egypt, including plantar reflexology.

In Western countries, the first traces of reflexology date back to the 16th century. Two doctors were particularly talked about at the time, a man named Dr Atatis and the doctor Adamus, thanks to their publication on the subject in 1582.

Four centuries later, it was another doctor from the United States who introduced reflexology when he discovered that pressure on certain parts of the body of his patients led to a reduction in pain. While in search of a method of anesthesia, Dr. William Fitzgerald leads to the development of a theory of modern reflexology in 1913. His postulate is based on a division of the body human in 10 energy points, these deniers being linked to specific internal parts of the body.

Subsequently, his assistant Eunice Ingham will really develop the technique of reflexology, the one we practice today.

The physiotherapist also set up the first reflexology training institute which still provides training throughout the world today.

Reflexology and its different types

The reflex points are listed from head to toe. However, plantar reflexology is the most widely practiced form. However, other forms of reflexology exist such as facial reflexology, energy reflexology, auricular reflexology and hand reflexology or palmar reflexology.

For what benefits ?

The therapeutic virtues of reflexology are multiple. She is particularly known for :

  • Relieve headaches and back pain.

  • Its contribution in the treatment of certain mental disorders by relieving stress and anxiety and by strengthening self-confidence.

  • Its effect on soothing premenstrual pain.

  • Treat intestinal problems like constipation.

Reflexology: the precautions to take

In principle, there is nothing dangerous about reflexology. However, it is recommended to take certain precautions with pregnant women and particularly during the first three months of pregnancy. Likewise, caution should be exercised when dealing with people with cancer or diabetes.

Important: in the event of cardiac or circulatory and lymphatic system problems, the practice of reflexology requires the support or advice of a doctor.