By Christopher Shirley

"In an unprecedented press release today the medical profession announced the discovery of a new treatment that has been scientifically proven to be effective for more than 100 health conditions and has no known adverse side effects. Conditions researched include: diabetes, pre-menstrual syndrome, constipation, headaches, asthma, allergies, bronchitis, irritable bowel syndrome, prostate problems, lower back/neck/shoulder/chest pain, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and multiple sclerosis. Frequently, recipients reported that this treatment was effective for both the targeted health condition and other health conditions simultaneously. In addition, recipients reported that they felt much better than they had in years. It was also reported that seemingly healthy people embraced this treatment for its revitalizing and rejuvenating effects. Many stated that they felt much less likely to succumb to illness while receiving this treatment."

Unfortunately, the above announcement is fiction - a fantasy of what might happen in a perfect world. The description, however, is an accurate description of reflexology.


Most of the scientific research of the effectiveness of reflexology has been conducted in China, Denmark and Great Britain - three countries that have integrated the practice of reflexology into the mainstream health care system. A few studies have been conducted in North America and other countries despite the extreme difficulty of accessing trained research personnel and facilities to fulfill the standards for publication.

Most of the published studies find that reflexology is an effective therapy for between 75% and 80% of the subjects. This is pretty impressive when compared with other therapies. There is no therapy that is 100% effective, and, most other therapies have adverse side effects.


It would seem that the practice of reflexology has its roots in many ancient healing traditions. A papyrus found in a physician's tomb in Egypt dated 2330 B.C. is the earliest evidence of the practice of reflexology in ancient times. This papyrus clearly shows the practice of both foot and hand reflexology. It has also been established that healing traditions in India, Japan, China and Europe utilized the phenomena now known as reflexology. Apparently, this phenomenon, in which there is a direct relationship between parts of the feet, hands and ears and other parts of the body, was discovered independently by each culture as its healing tradition evolved.


When you submit yourself for a reflexology session you can anticipate a very thorough massage of your feet, hands or your ears. For many years reflexology was practiced on the feet, and so, not all reflexologists are trained to work on the hands or ears. If you prefer a hand or ear reflexology session you should check that it is available before making an appointment.

Similarly, some reflexologists use a very heavy pressure and others a comparatively light pressure. Contrary to common belief, the amount of pressure does not determine the effectiveness of the session. Frequently, a very light touch will be far more effective than a heavy touch - no, it does not have to hurt in order to be beneficial!

The cost of a reflexology session varies from practitioner to practitioner - much like the cost of a haircut. Also, the length of a session will vary with different practitioners - ranging from 20 to 90 minutes. Of course the duration of the session will affect the fee charged. Also, many practitioners are willing to provide their service in your home or office - and it is reasonable to expect to pay extra for this convenience.

If you have a health condition for which you would like a therapeutic benefit, then you might want to explore on the internet the effectiveness of reflexology for your condition. My web site presents research for a wide range of health conditions and a search engine may be used to find additional "reflexology research". Alternatively, call a reflexologist and inquire about the potential of reflexology for your condition.

In general, the more frequently that you receive reflexology the more beneficial it will be for a health condition. On occasion a single reflexology session will provide remarkable results. However, generally, the longer that you have suffered from your condition, then the longer it will take for you to experience the desired benefits. If after receiving five or six reflexology sessions you are not experiencing any improvement in your condition then you should look to other therapies to assist you - it seems probable that you are among the 20% - 25% people that do not benefit from reflexology for your condition.

If your objective is relief of stress and tension, or, a purely blissful relaxing experience then how frequently you indulge is purely up to you. It is not possible, if you are basically healthy, to indulge in too much reflexology. Having said that I should warn you it is possible for you to experience an unpleasant reaction to the reflexology session. This is a comparatively rare occurrence. It can be a nauseous feeling, a bad taste in the mouth, a headache, gas release, perspiring or feeling cold. These situations reflect the potency of the reflexology stimulation - and the body catching up on its cleansing processes.


Reflexology works by reducing stress and tension in the body, so, it is very relaxing. It is relief of stress that produces the therapeutic benefits of reflexology. As your body relaxes, your blood and lymph circulation and nerve supply to your cells improve. Consequently the cells of the body get cleansed and nourished, and the glands and organs of the body are revitalized and rejuvenated. In this way reflexology creates an environment that allows the body to more effectively heal itself.
Therapeutically relaxing the body with reflexology is a powerful complement to many other natural healing modalities. For example, reflexology received prior to chiropractic, physiotherapy or any other manipulative therapy will facilitate that treatment and extend the benefits of the treatment. Similarly, massage therapists have reported that reflexology prior to a massage is very effective in preparing a person for their massage.

Reflexology also works in tandem with nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic therapies: first, by assisting the body to utilize the therapeutic qualities of the remedies more effectively, and second, by the potency of the combination of the benefits of the two therapies.

As much as reflexology has a broad spectrum of health benefits, most of my clients enjoy reflexology simply for pleasure. In fact, many people that have experienced both reflexology and full body massage prefer reflexology. The convenience of not having to totally disrobe, combined with the purely blissful melting sensation as the effects of reflexology slowly creep up and envelop your whole body/consciousness has many clients self proclaim proudly that they are addicted.

Christopher Shirley practices, teaches and promotes reflexology through the Pacific Institute of Reflexology in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Phone: 604-875-8818.
Toll Free: 800-688-9748 Web:

Author's Bio: 

Christopher Shirley, certified Master Reflexologist by Natural Therapies Accreditation Commission, has taught, practiced and promoted reflexology since 1978. He has developed basic training courses for foot, hand and ear reflexology and advanced reflexology. Chris publishes reflexology foot, hand and ear charts, and, an instructional DVD. He currently offers franchise opportunities.