Reflexology is an ancient practice that has been used for thousands of years to help people gain relief from physical conditions that they have long complained about.
It is founded on the notion that applying pressure on certain parts of the body can cure ailments or disease, and restore optimal health.
Foot reflexology involves administering this practice on 15 pressure points (acupoints) on your feet that are directly linked to every part of your body. It is believed to provide pain relief and cure disease by facilitating the flow of energy (known as Qi or Chi in Chinese) between these 15 pressure points and the various body parts.
As regards how reflexology ties with science, various studies have been conducted on the topic, and it has been shown to be effective at reducing pain and bringing relaxation in people suffering from chronic pain.
Foot reflexology has also been found to reduce pain following breast surgery.
Below we outline the 15 pressure points on your feet and what purpose each acupoint serves.
This is known as the LV 3 and you can find it by placing your finger between the big toe and second toe, just at the point where the tendons meet.
Apply firm pressure on this point for a few seconds to target stress, headaches, anger, anxiety, irritability and menstrual pain.
The KD 1 pressure point is located on the depression you feel below the joint of the big toe. Find this spot between the big toe and second toe, and give it a squeeze with your thumb.
Massage for two or three minutes to rid yourself of insomnia, night sweats, palpitations, hot flashes, memory loss and anxiety.
The LV 1 point can be found one inch below the toenail corner, towards the inner side of the big toe.
Apply pressure to this area to relieve yourself of dizziness, stomachaches and hernia.
You can find this acupoint by applying pressure along the side of the foot until you get to the depression point on the middle side of the foot, near the ball of the foot.
Tai Bai is said to provide relief mostly revolving around the digestive system – stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery as well as abdominal distension.
Locate this pressure point by pressing on the part between your Achilles tendon and the top of that inner bony bump on your ankle (medial malleolus).
This will offer relief from toothaches and sore throat, as well as rid your body of bronchitis, asthma and arthritis; kidney disease even.
The bony bump on the outside of your ankle (the lateral malleolus) is where this pressure point can be found.
Applying pressure to this point will promote patience, reduce fear and anxiety and relieve cold symptoms.
Gently press the area below the bump on the outside of your ankle using your thumb and index finger to find this acupoint.
This is linked to mental problems and in particular, it will reduce mental stress, improve your mood and promote mental stability.
Kun lun is located near the qui xu acupoint, and this is the depression spot between the highest point of your ankle (the lateral malleolus) and your Achilles tendon.
It is thought to cure high blood pressure, intestinal problems, headaches, eye diseases and lumbar pain.
Use your thumb and index finger to apply some little bit of pressure to the thick skin between the big toe and second toe.
This is the point known to help with vision issues, leg cramps, sinusitis and liver disease.
This acupoint is found on the plantar (underside of your foot) just between your second and third toes.
It is believed to be effective for treating symptoms of food poisoning and urinary tract infections. It may also cure constipation, face and eye pain, toothaches and stroke rehabilitation.
Find this acupoint about an inch below the adjoining skin portion between the big and second toes on the upper side of your foot.
It relieves diarrhea symptoms.
To find this pressure point, run your finger along the outer side of your foot to about one-third of the way down.
This can treat eye conditions, ease lumbar pain, muscle cramping, apoplexy and psychoneurosis.
This small pressure point lies smack in the middle of your big toe, on the upper side.
Apply gentle pressure for one or two minutes to relieve high blood pressure.
This pressure point lies just below the toenail of your second toe. It can be used to treat hiccups, nausea and appetite problems.
The 15th pressure point on your feet is also located in the toe area. This one can be found on the middle toe, just below the toenail.
It is used to treat heartburn and constant burping.
There is mounting evidence that foot reflexology could be good for your health.
The science aside, our feet do take a beating and regular reflexology can provide relief while also making you feel good, never mind the health benefits that come with it.
Diabetics should consult a doctor before getting foot reflexology since the diabetic nerve could be affected by pressure.