The Potential Benefits of Reflexology

Lots of people book reflexology sessions to help reduce stress, calm anxiety, improve relaxation, reduce specific pain in the body, or to enhance their overall well-being. Each session is tailored to your specific needs so that your particular issues can be addressed, from helping that shooting pain in the left shoulder by working the area outside your little toe, or by helping your tummy troubles by focusing on the arch.

Reflexology aims to balance the body on a physical, emotional and energetic level, promoting relaxation, improving sleep and reducing stress. If you are struggling with energy levels, then reflexology can act as a boost. If someone is feeling emotional, anxious, depressed or coping with grief, amazing support can also be gained on this level. 

A Reflexologists Map of the Feet
Reflexologists divide the feet into specific areas which are called 'reflexes'. Each area or 'reflex' is related to different organs of the body i.e. shoulder reflex or kidney, spinal reflexes etc.
These reflexes are also grouped together to form a reflexologists 'map' of the feet which also covers systems of the body such as the hormonal, digestive, circulatory, skeletal, lymphatic, respiratory and immune systems. The left foot relates to the left hand side of the body, and the right foot relates to the right hand side. In basic terms, the toe reflexes link with the head and the neck, the balls of the feet to the chest, the instep to the abdomen and the spine, to the bony ridge that runs down the inside of the foot.
Seeing the foot as a road map for the body may seem strange, but think about how a pain in your hip can adjust your gait, how a bad back may affect your walking and how your poor feet take the full brunt of your daily struggles!                                   
                                                    Interesting Fact!

                                There are 26 bones in each foot and interestingly
                                there are 26 vertebrae in the spine.
                                With 25% of all your bones in your feet, its no
                                wonder they feel the strain after a long day.                              


Reflexology is so much more than a simple foot massage.
Reflexology isn't just about giving the foot a quick rub to soothe those tired toes. Its a treatment that sees various points on the foot connected to places in the body. Sometimes areas of the feet can be sensitive or even painful. Reflexologists believe that the sensitive reflexes can point to problems or imbalances within the body and working them using a variety of pressure techniques can often have a positive impact on the problem area in the body.

A professionally trained reflexologist feels for minute variations on skin and tissue as they can very often detect subtle changes in specific points on the feet. When a part of the body is not working at its best, a sensitive are will usually be found in the corresponding part of the foot when pressure is applied. By working these sensitive reflexes over a number of treatments, the tenderness will usually reduce as the body begins to function properly again as it finds its own balance. While reflexology does not claim to cure or diagnose, these findings may offer a very useful insight into our body's functions and dysfunctions.

What you can expect to feel during a reflexology treatment
A reflexology session provides deep relaxation and general body balancing. Most people go into a meditative state and can often experience pleasant, peaceful sensations of floating. Some people are reluctant to return from this blissful state. Clients are brought slowly and gently out of the session and given a refreshing drink of water. (The session can leave both client and therapist thirsty!) Although the session can sometimes bring out tiredness as part of the clearing process, most are left feeling calm, grounded and relaxed.

Falling Asleep
Occasionally some clients become so relaxed they can fall asleep. If this occurs, it is not generally for long and is usually because a person needs the rest. The body is still aware and responds to treatment even during sleep. Some people on the other hand might prefer to sit and chat or divide their time between chatting and resting. This too is fine. Talking, particularly in the early stages of a treatment can be very beneficial. Sharing our problems or anxieties can sometimes help ease their burden, 'a problem shared is a problem halved', as the old saying goes.

Reflexology for specific problems or imbalances
Treatments for specific problems are tailored to individual requirements and desired outcomes, with a treatment plan and after care advice where appropriate in order to maximise the benefits of the treatments. Reflexology can help with many aches and pains and chronic conditions (refer to FAQ: How Reflexology Can Benefit You) as well as supporting special and changing stages of your life such as pregnancy or menopause. Reflexology is now seen as a robust complementary health treatment, with more and more clinical trials proving its effectiveness with specific conditions. (See Research tab)

Some of the benefits include:
  • * Increased sense of well-being
  • * Being relaxed and calm
  • * More positive approach and outlook
  • * Rebalancing and grounding
  • * Feeling rested and refreshed
  • * Increased desire to smile!

For more information about Reflexology sessions and treatment plans, please refer to F.A.Q, section.

Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) targets and focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet.

The aim is to cause a positive effect on the lymphatic system of the body such as reducing swelling of Lymphoedema, which often develops following treatment for breast cancer. Most people are familiar with Lymph Drainage Massage which is also used to treat conditions other than Lymphoedema and RDL may be used in a similar way. The Lymph system intersects with the Cardiocascular, Digestive and Immune systems of the body. 

Reflexology Lymph Drainage may be useful with the following symptoms:

* Arthritis - Asthma - Eczema
* Chronic Fatigue - Fibromyalgia- ME
* Sinus Problems
* Migraines - Headaches
* Muscular Tension - Aches and Pains
* Premenstrual Tension Syndrome


Endocrine Sweep:
A Hormonal Balancing Reflexology Treatment
The aim of Endocrine balancing techniques is to stimulate the reflexes of the hormonal system, connect them together and balance the energies. An experienced reflexologist can feel if a reflex is over-active or under-active and will hold this point until they can feel the energy become more balanced. Each reflex relates to a particular hormonal gland in the body. The more out of balance a hormonal gland is, the more sensitive the corresponding reflex will be.

Where are the hormonal reflexes on the feet? 

There are specific reflexes (areas) on the feet which, when worked, can have a positive effect upon the hormonal glands in the body. (See diagram below). The Endocrine (hormonal) System includes the pituitary and pineal glands, hypothalamus, thyroid, adrenal's, pancreas, spleen, ovaries or testes. Although the uterus is not part of the endocrine system, this area is also worked as it is part of the reproductive system and is often linked to hormonal responses.

How long does a treatment take?
The treatment can take between 30 minutes to 1 hour in each session, depending upon how sensitive the reflexes are.The session is an hour long even if the hormonal reflexes respond positively. Any time left over after balancing the system, is spent in a general 'work out' of the feet using massage, manipulation and reiki, depending upon what is required. This treatment often incorporates a shortened version of a standard reflexology treatment as well as a thorough working of the hormonal reflexes.

How will I feel during a treatment?
Clients often report a feeling of warmth and comfort when the endocrine reflexes are held. Some clients find some endocrine reflexes extremely sensitive; for example, one client who suffered from regular migraines found their pituitary reflexes so sensitive they could hardly bare them to be touched. In this case regular reflexology treatments helped to 'calm' the pituitary reflex and the client reported the frequency and severity of their migraines to be significantly reduced.

Who can benefit?
The Endocrine Sweep can be helpful to women who suffer from PMS; heavy, painful and irregular menstrual cycles; and hormonal fluctuations. By stimulating the endocrine and reproductive glands, this treatment has in many cases eased tension and reduced or eliminated the "hot flashes" associated with menopause. For men, the hormonal balancing reflexology treatments help increase testosterone levels by stimulating the endocrine and reproductive glands reflexes.

It is believed to sometimes help to ease...
  • Menstrual discomfort such as cramps, sore breasts, mood swings
  • Menopausal symptoms ie. hot flushes
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Diabetes
  • Stress related disorders such as depression lack of energy etc.
  • Fertility Issues for both male and females

What role do the hormones play?
We often think of hormonal imbalances as being code for 'women's problems' but actually hormone imbalances are not just related to conditions such as PMT. Hormones control the bodily processes of all of us; men, women, boys and girls.Hormones control the growth of the skeleton, muscles, connective tissues and organs such as the kidneys and liver.They control the activity of the thyroid gland and regulate water balance in the body by controlling the amount of water in our urine. Hormones release milk from breasts during breastfeeding etc. Too much or too little of any hormone can be harmful to the body, therefore a hormonal imbalance can have a major effect on your mental and physical health.

Causes of hormonal imbalance

In both women and men, hormone levels need to be finely balanced in order to maintain optimal health. If the scales are tipped too much in one direction or another, problems can develop; sometimes severe. Two of the most frequent causes of hormonal imbalance are nutritional deficiencies and stress. Of these, stress is probably the most common. When we experience stress, our bodies release high levels of the cortisol hormone. This is part of our natural "fight or flight" response to danger. Cortisol raises our heart rate, dilates the bronchial tubes and releases fat for use as fuel in response to a crisis. The problem is that in our modern society, stress can become chronic and elevated cortisol levels are very common.

Some of the negative effects of this include:
  • High Blood Pressure
  • A weakened immune system
  • Infertility, PMS and other sexual disorders in women
  • Prostate and erectile problems in men

How reflexology works to correct hormonal imbalances
Reflexology can work in a number of ways to help with hormonal imbalances. It works directly on reducing stress and therefore in correcting cortisol levels. In addition, reflexology is believed to be of benefit in a number of other important ways, including:

  • Removing toxins from the body
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improving circulation
  • Stimulating reproductive glands

All of these benefits are directly or indirectly connected to the restoration of hormonal balance.

Clinical Trials
Although few clinical trials have been conducted to determine the efficacy of reflexology in treating hormonal imbalances, those that have been conducted have been very encouraging. For example, a 1991 study at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) found that 62 percent of women who received weekly reflexology treatments experienced relief from premenstrual syndrome symptoms. (Refer to Research)

''The act of laying hands on the human or animal body to comfort and relieve pain is as old as instinct. When experiencing pain the first thing most people do is to put their hands on it. Human touch conveys warmth and healing and also caring and love. This simple act is the basis for all touch healing techniques.''

REIKI (ray-key) means "universal energy" in Japanese and is a term used to describe a natural system to help bring about an improved sense of well being, stress reduction and relaxation.
Rei - translates as wisdom or knowledge of all the universe.
Ki or Chi - life force energy.
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that can be used without fear of any side-defects or overdose. It may be used with confidence alongside conventional medication or natural remedies because it acts in a complementary way.
Reiki works energetically. When we expend energy but do not or cannot replenish ourselves and over a period of time, we may become physically or emotionally ill. Eastern medicine has always recognised and worked with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to well-being. Known as 'KI' in Japan, 'chi' in China and 'prana' in India.

What can I expect in a typical Reiki session?

In some ways, there is no typical reiki session - no set protocol or length of time. Reiki can be administered by anyone who has training, which could be a professional practitioner, a healthcare provider, a friend or family member, or even you yourself if you have been trained in reiki. Moreover, there is no typical setting: a quiet place is preferable, but reiki can be done anywhere, no matter what else is happening either around or directly to the recipient. Moments of touch from a reiki-trained practitioner can bring comfort in an acute or emergency situation, such as the onset of the flu, or after an injury or surgery.

What does the session consist of?

A complete reiki session is offered to a fully clothed recipient who is lying on a treatment table or sitting comfortably supported in a chair. Most commonly, reiki is offered through light, non-invasive touch with the practitioner's hands placed and held on a series of locations on the head and front or back of the torso. The placement of the hands should never be intrusive or inappropriate, nor should there be any pressure. Additional placements on the limbs can be done as needed (for example, if there is an injury or surgical scar), and some practitioners routinely do so. The reiki practitioner can hold her hands just off the body if needed (for example, in the presence of an open wound or burn), and some practitioners always offer reiki in this way.

What might I experience?
The experience of reiki is subjective, changeable, and sometimes very subtle. People often experience heat in the practitioner's hands, but sometimes the practitioner's hands feel refreshingly cool. Other common experiences are subtle pulsations where the practitioner's hands are placed or cascading waves of pulsations throughout the body. People often comment how comforting they find the experience of reiki to be. An interesting study reported that recipients frequently feel that they are hovering in a threshold state of consciousness, simultaneously aware of their surroundings and deeply indrawn. Some people fall into a deep, sleep-like meditative state. Sometimes the experience of reiki is dramatic, while for other people, the first session in particular may be uneventful, although they feel somehow better afterwards. The most common experience is an almost immediate release of stress and a feeling of deep relaxation. Reiki is cumulative and even people who don't notice much the first time, usually have progressively deeper experiences if they continue. Besides the immediate experience of the reiki, you may notice other changes that continue to unfold as the day goes on: perhaps stronger digestion, a sense of being more centred and poised and less reactive, and sleeping deeply that night.

What should I do during the session?

Not much, but here are a few suggestions:

  • If you have music that you particularly enjoy and which is relaxing, bring it to your session and ask me to play it. You can also request silence if you prefer.
  • You can ask me to show you the hand placements before starting so you are very clear what to expect, especially if you have any shyness about being touched.
  • Let me know your needs before we start. For example, if you have trouble breathing and lying flat is uncomfortable. Or if you have had surgery recently and don't want to be touched where the scar is still tender (A hand can be floated above sensitive areas)
  • If you are pregnant or have digestive complaints, it may not be feasible to lie on your stomach so please let me know.
As the session progresses, you will feel more relaxed. If you become uncomfortable, you can adjust your position at any time. Be sure to ask for anything that will add to your comfort, such as additional support under your knees or a blanket.
This is your special time and I am there to help you. Receiving reiki is a wonderfully passive experience. Don't try to relax, just let the reiki relax you. Your state will shift quite naturally as the session proceeds. Meanwhile feel free to daydream, enjoy the music, or simply observe your breath or the sensations of the therapy.

What happens after a session?
Do not expect a diagnosis, as that is not part of reiki. Some practitioners may make common sense suggestions for after-care, such as drinking water and following your body's needs. Although people typically leave a reiki session feeling refreshed, sometimes they notice feeling more tired in the evening than usual. This is not viewed as an adverse reaction, but rather as the body's natural healing response, something to be heeded. People commonly report a sense of calm and mental clarity and sleeping well after reiki.

The potential benefits of Reiki
The beneficial effects of reiki can occur on many levels. Whether one is suffering from stress or
tension, and the many symptoms associated with this or wishing to improve the quality of our relationships at home or work. Reiki may accelerate the healing of physical problems, balance the emotions, and free us from restrictive mental attitudes. It may also provide a closer connection with inner wisdom. Reiki encourages and supports positive personal change such as improving the diet, having more rest, exercise or leisure time, and may reduce the need for alcohol and tobacco. Regular reiki sessions can help us to respond more calmly to all events and build on a more resourceful state of being, warding off illness and fatigue. Reiki works on all levels; physical as well as emotional, mental and spiritual and can often leaving a person with feelings of peace, security and well being. It can contribute to restoring depleted energy levels and encourages relaxation. Reiki is a gentle energy and may be used safely by all ages, including the newborn, pregnant mothers, surgical patients, the frail and the elderly, regardless of their state of health. Reiki can also be used in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

These are some of the comments I have received after a typical reiki session:
  • "I feel very refreshed and seem to be thinking more clearly."
  • "I think I fell asleep."
  • "I can't believe how hot your hands got!"
  • "I feel more relaxed than even after a massage."
  • "My headache is gone."

Reiki is a tradition that is open to any belief system and is suitable for everyone who wants it. For more detailed information about Reiki sessions please refer to the FAQ section.

Reiki was founded in the late
1800's by Dr. Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui

Reflexology and Reiki are both effective stand alone treatments. Although there is a lot of overlap, Reiki is particularly good with mental/emotional issues and Reflexology is great at dealing with anything involving the physical body.
As a combined treatment Reiki and Reflexology is an exceptional healing experience. This treatment combines a specially adapted full body Reiki session, usually of 30 mins, duration, and an hours reflexology, which is tailored to the client's individual needs. Starting at the head and working towards the feet, the Reiki treatment induces deep relaxation, balances the chakra energies and stimulates the body's healing processes. This relieves stress, pain and tension and promotes a feeling of well-being. Once the feet have received the Reiki energy, a reflexology treatment follows. With the client already deeply relaxed and all the body's energy pathways cleared by Reiki, the reflexology is able to work on exceptionally deep and subtle levels.

Self-help Reflexology Tips for Stress using Hand Reflexology.

In reflexology, the easily located adrenal reflex is situated just below the ball of each foot and is also on the palm side of the hand on the thenar muscle which is the fleshy area just below the thumb. Both points may feel slightly bruised to the touch, but a person may experience a lessening of tension, which may indicate a fall in adrenaline, after gently stroking and pressing these reflex points for a few minutes. This can be applied discretely to the hands at any time of the day or clients are recommended to work their feet for about 5 minutes per foot on waking and before bed.

1. Diaphragm Rocking: Helping sleep, relaxation and energise body

Diaphragm Rocking is an extremely helpful reflexology technique which may be used to help sleep, as a relaxation aid, to regulate breathing and energize the body. Its key befit is that it appears to naturally prioritize and pump energy to the part of the body most in need.


Lightly press your left thumb on the palm of your right hand, between your index and middle finger and 2-3 cm below (just below the raised fleshy area).Straighten your fingers and slowly curl them over your thumb, gently rocking your fingers back and forwards for 10-15 rocks and then repeat on the left hand.

Diaphragm Rocking

Fig 1 Diaphragm Rocking

2. Adrenal Reflex: To boost energy and help relaxation:

Start with Diaphragm Rocking as below and then add 30 seconds of stimulation to the adrenal reflex in the fleshy part of your palm below the thumb (on the thenar muscle). Just press your thumb lightly on the middle of the muscle and locate and then stimulate the most sensitive point, which is the adrenal reflex. It should not hurt but there may be a transitory sharp, tingling or bruised sensation.

Repeat on the other hand and return several times during the day as required.

Adrenal Reflex

Fig 2 Adrenal Reflex

3. Pituitary Pinch: Boosting Endocrine (Hormonal System)

The Endocrine (hormonal) system may benefit from a quick stimulation of the Pituitary reflex which is the master gland. Place and pinch your thumb nail in the centre of the other thumb nail and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other hand.

Pituitary Pinch, Nail-on-nail

Fig 5 Pituitary Pinch, Nail-on-nail.

Acupressure Point P6: Pericardium 6 or Nei Guan

Nei Guan is commonly used to help relieve nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches

Nei Guan (P6 or PC6) is commonly used to help relieve nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches. Nei Guan (P6) is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons. To find and use this acupressure point, (1) locate the point by turning your hands over so the palm is facing up then (2) apply downward pressure between the two tendons, massaging and stimulating the area for 4-5 seconds.

The point is located at the medial aspect of the hand.

Four-finger space below the wrist.

Located in the depression between the tendons.

Apply pressure and massage for 4-5 seconds.

It is cited in many research studies that the stimulation of Nei Guan (P6) alleviates nausea and vomiting in pregnancy[1] and also helps prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting [2]. The Journal of Autonomic Neuroscience also published an article that showed P6 and Zu San Li (ST36) have a combined, synergistic effect on gastrointestinal motility [3].  In another study, Nei Guan has also been shown to help alleviate intractable hiccups [4].


Contact Information

  • Suzanne Travis
  • Mobile: 07791 753888
  • Telephone: 01427 872154
  • Email: