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Reflexology - Natural Health

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Article by Emma Gierschick


Reflexology - A natural approach to health


Emma Gierschick is a Director on the International Council of Reflexology board and the Principal

of Acorn Academy of Reflexology and Natural Health. The former National President & Honorary Life Member of the Reflexology Association of Australia; Emma  has presented on TV and Radio several times and regularly contributes to national and international journals, magazines and other publications.


Quite often the feet get little attention unless there is a problem and either they start to ache, become blistered, or develop a deformity such as a bunion, claw toes or heel spurs. But the feet are actually one of the most important parts of the body, containing a quarter of all the bones, with each foot comprising of 26 bones, 33 joints and over 50 muscles, tendons or ligaments. The feet work as a shock absorber, are responsible for helping propel us forward, and provide a solid foundation enabling us to stand our ground. A structural flaw or malfunction in any one part of the foot can result in the development of problems elsewhere in the body.


We all know how relaxing it feels to have the feet massaged at the end of a long day, but did you realise that by walking barefoot along the beach, along a cobblestone path or even across wet grass there will be a therapeutic effect on the internal organs of the body. This is because the nerve endings or reflexes in the soles of the feet are being stimulated at the same time. I’m talking about an ancient form of natural healing known as reflexology.


Reflexology is a very simple and safe form of holistic healing. It is based on the premise that various reflex points on the feet, hands and ears represent all the organs, systems and glands in the body. By stimulating those points with a variety of specialised finger, thumb and knuckle techniques there will be a direct effect upon the corresponding organ. It can be likened to a tune up of a car, or an internal body massage and is incredibly relaxing and extremely effective.


Evidence of the feet being worked for therapeutic benefits was first noted in ancient Egypt back in 2500BC, when a pictograph depicting this was found on the wall of a physician’s tomb. It is also believed that Native American Indians and primitive tribes in Africa also traditionally placed significant importance on caring for their feet, believing that if the feet were healthy, the body, mind and spirit would also be in balance. However, at the turn of the 19th century reflexology started being recognised in its present form, after an American ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. William Fitzgerald and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham began to experiment by applying pressure to various parts of the feet and hands and recording the effects. The first modern day chart of reflexology was produced shortly afterwards.

To simply explain how the body is represented on the feet and hands: The left foot and hand represents all the organs, glands and parts of the body on the left side of the body while the right foot and hand represents all the organs etc on the right side.


The toes represent everything that would be found on the head including the, teeth, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, brain etc, while the ball of the foot represents the chest and breast area including the heart and lungs.

The arch of the foot represents all the internal organs of digestion eg: stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen etc, while the lower half of the arch represents the intestines and bladder.

The skeletal system is represented on the extremities of the foot, with the spine being located along the bony ridge on the inside of the foot running from the top of the big toe to the heel, and the shoulders, arms and hips being located on the outer aspect.


By working on the various regions of the foot using firm pressure, it is believed there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ or body part.  Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe, claim to cure or treat a specific condition, instead they will work all the different regions of the feet during each session, creating the supportive environment so the individuals’ body can take from the treatment what it needs and bring itself back into balance.


In trained hands, any imbalances will usually show up to a reflexologist as congestion, and may feel like little ‘crystals’ under the skin, while the client may feel some initial mild discomfort as the area is being worked on.

Possible imbalances can also sometimes be identified with visible markings on the feet, for example horizontal lines located across the Achilles tendon at the back of the foot can indicate possible muscle tightness in the lower back or menstrual cramps.


Reflexology is often used by many as a preventative or maintenance programme and is suitable for people of all ages, backgrounds and health or fitness levels from babies to the elderly. It is very beneficial for helping with back, neck and muscular/skeletal problems, digestive disorders, reproductive and fertility issues, asthma conditions and stress.


Sessions usually last for around 1 hour with some private health funds offering rebates for the treatment on production of a receipt and the provider number of the practitioner.


Do it yourself tips for work or home

·         Invest in a cheap roller to place under the desk, and roll the bare feet over it while working, alternatively use a rolling pin or bottle under the soles of the feet at night to help relieve the tension that has built up during the day, this is especially soothing if the bottle has been kept in the fridge for the extra cool touch.


·         By massaging your ears or pulling on the ear lobes tension will be released in the back, neck and head, as the spine is represented in the grisly part of the ear and the head reflex is represented on the lobe – this definitely puts another slant on ear piercing!


·         By massaging the tip  of the thumb or drumming the fingers on the desk will help stimulate or relax the head and brain, and can also assist with clarity as this is where the brain reflex is housed


·         Running the thumb across the palm of the hand works the diaphragm reflex – the large muscle located at the bottom of the rib cage, a common site for holding stress and tension. This is a commonly done subconsciously to relax the body.


·         Holding a comb or prickly hairbrush tightly in the hand, so the teeth or bristles are pressing in the palm just at the base of the fingers will stimulate the eyes and ear reflexes.


·         Finally twisting the foot with both hands, like a cloth is being wrung out will help relieve tension held in the spine reflex, while rubbing the base of the big toe can assist with neck strain or tension.

For more info and a FREE online Course see >

Free Self Help Reflexology Course

19 Oct 2010

Last Update: 28 Oct 2014

Article/Information supplied by Emma Gierschick

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.