What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a complimentary therapy which involves applying pressure to specific parts of the foot, hand or face. The theory is that these pressure points are related to certain parts of the body and applying pressure to these areas can help speed up the body’s natural healing process and balance.


The clearest benefits are that for many people, it helps to reduce stress, tension and anxiety.  The positive benefits of this alone can be significant. There is also strong anecdotal and some scientific evidence which indicates that reflexology can help with other conditions as well.

Pain relief

Recently, research from the University of Portsmouth has highlighted the complimentary benefits that reflexology may have in terms of pain management and reduction. (Click here for more details).

In addition, NICE guidance on Multiple Sclerosis states that there is evidence that reflexology may be helpful for people with MS in terms of their general sense of well-being. Some MS therapy centres and cancer support groups use reflexologists to help with patients’ psychological and emotional wellbeing.


Many women enjoy reflexology during their second and third trimester of pregnancy. Please see the separate page on pregnancy for more details.

Please note, reflexology should never be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice. Please discuss the therapy as a complimentary therapy with your GP or consultant.

Did you know?


Reflexology, like many complimentary therapies, is believed to have its roots in the ancient world. There is evidence of some form of foot and hand therapy being practiced in China as long ago as 4,000 B.C. and at a similar time in Egypt, as evidenced by pictures in the tomb of Ankmahor.
The modern theory of reflexology came to prominence in the early 20th Century after the American doctor, William Fitzgerald introduced “zone therapy”.

Interactive footmap

footmap More informationThe Association of Reflexologists website gives more details about reflexology and also has a great interactive tool for showing which parts of the foot relate to which parts of the body.