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Reflexology is more than a glorified foot rub – it can help release tensions that can have an effect

A foot massage can feel like heaven if you’ve been on your feet all day. However, reflexology, based on the Chinese principle that certain areas on the soles of your feet correspond to other parts of the body, also aims to improve organ function by massaging those specific areas.

Reflexology therapists are not doctors and so cannot offer medical opinion – for this reason, they’ll often ask for a full medical history before a massage. But they do know how to interpret what they see, and our feet are a map to the health of our entire body.

So how does a reflexologist tell…

You’re on your period?

Sensitive ‘trigger points’ linked to menstruation may feel tense, hot and sticky to a massage therapist, and sensitive or painful to you if you’re ovulating, or have your period. They’ll pay special attention to the sides of the heel, where the ovary and uterus reflexes are found, to relieve any discomfort associated with your period.

You’ve got IBS?

The area corresponding to the digestive system is located on the bottom in the soft part between ball and the heel, so they’ll guess if this area is tender or congested. It’s also a wonderfully satisfying part of the foot massage, as the arch of the foot is often the part craving TLC after a day pounding the concrete!

You get migraines?

The big toes are pretty important for reflexologists – they’re where the head, brain, pituitary and pineal glands, and upper cervical spine (neck) reflexes are located. The tips of all the little toes coincide with the head, brain, and sinus reflexes (linked to sinus-type headaches), so a good therapist will immediately know if these points are ‘congested’ or tense.

You hurt your knee a few years ago?

They will sense stiffness on the outer edge of the corresponding foot, where the skin meets the sole. The minute they knead this spot, if your knees are currently sore or you have recurring problems from an old injury, it will feel tender.

You’re stressed out?

The ball of the foot is associated with fear and anger and reflexologists will focus on this area when trying to alleviate stress. The adrenal gland, the part of the body that springs into action during the ‘fight or flight’ response to danger, is associated with a small pea-shaped area under the ball of the foot, under the big toe. If you’re relaxed, this ‘pea’ feels like a small bag of sand. If you’re not, it may feel like a hard lump and manipulation of this area could make you yelp out loud.

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