Reflexology is a form of integrative medicine that involves the application of pressure to specific points on the feet and hands. The practice is based on the theory that these points correspond to different parts of the body. By stimulating them, it will promote healing, balance, and relaxation. In this blog, we will explain what reflexology is, how it works, and the benefits of reflexology from a medical standpoint.

Are you located in Central New York and interested in Reflexology? We invite you to book a treatment with one of our certified Massage Therapists and Reflexologists. Start with just 15- or 30- minutes added on to any massage session. Or book a treatment by reaching out to our Downtown Syracuse or North Syracuse location today.


What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is an ancient healing practice that has been used in many cultures throughout history. It is based on the idea that the body is divided into zones. Specific points on the feet, hands, and even ears correspond to different organs and systems within these zones. For example, the tips of the toes are connected to the head, while the ball of the foot is connected to the heart and chest.

During a treatment, a therapist will apply pressure to these specific points using their fingers, thumbs, and hands. They may also use massage techniques to help relax the muscles and promote circulation.By applying pressure to these points, it is believed that a therapist stimulates the body’s natural healing processes and help to restore balance and harmony. Today, reflexology is widely practiced in many parts of the world, and has been shown to have a variety of potential benefits from a medical standpoint.*

How Does Reflexology Work?

Reflexology will work by stimulating the nervous system that are connected to various organs and systems in the body. This results in the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. By applying pressure to these points, reflexologists will promote relaxation, improve circulation, and will help the body to heal itself.

This type of treatment is also believed to help balance the body’s energy systems, known as qi or chi in Chinese medicine. According to this theory, the body has a network of energy channels that run throughout the body. When these channels become blocked, it can lead to a variety of health problems. By stimulating the reflex points, a therapist will clear blockages and restore the flow of energy, promoting overall health and well-being.



The Benefits of Reflexology

There are many potential benefits, both from a medical and a holistic standpoint. Some of the most commonly reported benefits include:

Pain Relief. Reflexology is often used to relieve pain, particularly in the feet and hands. By stimulating the reflex points reflexology will help to relieve tension, reduce inflammation, and promote the release of endorphins.

Improved Circulation. While working on certain reflexes in the hands and feet, circulation may be improved throughout the body. This can be particularly beneficial for people with circulatory problems or those who spend a lot of time standing or sitting.

Relaxation. Reflexology is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. By stimulating the reflex points, it will help calm the mind, promote a sense of well-being, and improve sleep quality.

Better Digestion. Sustained pressure on certain reflexes is proven to improve digestion by stimulating the digestive system. This treatment is sought out by many to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea or constipation, and improve nutrient absorption.

Boosted Immune System. Reflexology boosts the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering out toxins and waste products from the body. By promoting lymphatic flow, reflexology will support the body’s natural defenses against illness and disease.

Reduced Symptoms of PMS and Menopause. This type of therapy is often used to relieve the symptoms of PMS and menopause, such as cramps, bloating, and hot flashes. By stimulating the reflex points associated with these areas, a trained therapist will regulate hormones and promote overall balance within the body.


Is it for You? 

Reflexology is a safe and effective therapy that offers a range of benefits for both the body and mind. While there is still much that we don’t understand about how this therapy works, the evidence suggests* that it is an effective tool for promoting relaxation, reducing pain, and supporting overall health and wellness. If you are interested in trying reflexology for yourself, it is important to work with a qualified practitioner. With the right care and attention, this modality is a valuable tool in your journey toward optimal health and wellness.

There’s no better place to start to experience the benefits of Reflexology than at Hand In Health. Even just a 15- or 30-minute add-on to your massage appointment can start to provide benefits! Serving the Central New York region, we offer a variety of convenient appointment times at our Downtown Syracuse and North Syracuse locations. We also offer monthly memberships and packages to help make it more affordable for regular self-care. Book an appointment today!


Kyle Hierholzer LMT CPT Licensed Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer Licensed Certifications: ● Sports Massage ● Certified Hand and Foot Reflexologist ● Medical Cupping Practitioner ● Orthopedic Massage ● Corrective Exercise Specialist ● Hospital Based Massage Therapist. Kyle specializes in chronic and acute pain care management and regularly works in an integrative team with your medical professionals. His massage is primarily focused on assisting with injury rehabilitation, athletic performance, joint mobilization and strength training. He enjoys using both massage and fitness to help people attain their wellness goals by designing a customized bodywork and exercise program tailored to each person’s needs.


*Research Citations:

“The Effects of Foot Reflexology on Anxiety and Pain in Patients with Breast and Lung Cancer” by Dalal et al. (2020): This study examined the effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and pain in patients with breast and lung cancer. The researchers found that reflexology significantly reduced anxiety and pain in these patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7409845/

“Reflexology and Swedish Massage Reduce Physiological and Psychological Stress in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Controlled Trial” by Kunz et al. (2019): This randomized controlled trial compared the effects of reflexology and Swedish massage on physiological and psychological stress in healthy individuals. The researchers found that both reflexology and Swedish massage significantly reduced stress levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6940847/

“Effect of Foot Reflexology on Fatigue, Sleep and Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” by Li et al. (2020): This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the effect of foot reflexology on fatigue, sleep, and pain. The researchers found that reflexology significantly improved fatigue and sleep, and also had a positive effect on pain reduction. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323671/

“The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Nausea and Vomiting in Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” by Yang et al. (2020): This systematic review and meta-analysis explored the effect of foot reflexology on nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. The researchers found that reflexology significantly reduced the severity of nausea and vomiting in these patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340595/

“Effectiveness of Foot Reflexology in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure: A Randomized Controlled Trial” by Li et al. (2019): This randomized controlled trial investigated the effectiveness of foot reflexes in patients with chronic heart failure. The researchers found that reflexology significantly improved symptoms such as fatigue, dyspnea, and edema in these patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830293/