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The Importance Of Foot Massage (Reflexology)

Alright, my friends.

This week we cover the importance of foot massage and Reflexology, especially in your health care routine.

How many hours a day do you stand on your feet? Or better yet, how many hours a day do you wear shoes that are way too tight? In reality, we would be nothing without our feet (Yes, we are trying to exaggerate.)

We walk, jump, run, hike, bike, skate, surf, wear dress shoes and stilettoes. We stay active every day in one shape or form. You know that feeling when you take your shoes off at the end of the day? That’s right—what a relief.

This blog will focus on a few key things to help you understand the importance of looking after your feet. Whether you decide to schedule a Reflexology Massage, Foot Massage, or create your weekly foot-care routine, we got you covered.
Foot Reflexology in Honolulu

Here is what’s on today’s agenda:

  1. The History Of Reflexology
  2. The Difference Between Foot Massage And Reflexology
  3. The Four Ways Of Reflexology
  4. When To Avoid Reflexology
  5. The Benefits Of Reflexology
  6. The 2 Best Ways To Practice Reflexology At Home
  7. tivity. It is best to have this massage 2 hours after your event.
It is not too late to start looking after your feet. So with that said, let’s get started with a brief history lesson!

A Brief History On Reflexology

The history of Reflexology is hard to tackle because it is an ancient practice exchanged through oral traditions and word of mouth. We’ve all played a game of telephone before, and you know how quickly things get lost in translation.

The first possible reflexology teaching was recorded on the Egyptian tomb of Ankhamor in 2330 BC.

The Reflexology symbols are also recorded on the Buddha statue in India and later in China. Here is a little bit of a time-line to paint a better picture:

  1. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine book was written in 1,000 BC. A specific chapter in the Yellow Emperor’s classic discusses “Examining Foot Method,” which is the first, in print, talking about the connection of life force and areas on the feet.
  2. The belief is that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s. The book then introduced Reflexology and massage to Europe. In 1582, a book on Reflexology called Zone Therapy was published by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis in Europe.
  3. In 1917, William H. Fitzgerald, the father of Reflexology, wrote about the ten vertical zones that extend throughout the body. His theory was that when you apply pressure to a zone connected to the location of the injury, it can create pain relief.
  4. Dr. Fitzgerald’s work was expanded by Dr. Shelby Riley, who created a map of the horizontal zones going across the body. Dr. Shelby also developed a detailed map of the reflex points on the feet and hands. He was also the practitioner who brought to life the pressure points of the outer ear.
  5. Dr. Shelby had a physiotherapist work for him, Eunice Ingham, a key figure in developing the art of Reflexology. Ingham’s research in zone therapy, the feet were the most sensitive and responsive. Foot maps and reflexology charts that Ingham developed are still used today and were introduced to the non-medical community in the 1930s.
  6. Dr. Paul Nogier, later in 1957, recorded a reflex map of points on the outer ear. His work was expanded further by Oleson and Flocco and is now an integral approach to Reflexology and modern teachings.
Foot Reflexology in Honolulu

The Difference Between Foot Massage and Reflexology

A reflexology massage is a foot massage, right? Not quite.

A foot massage is a technique of manipulating the tissues to help relax the muscles. Individuals use specific styles such as tapping, kneading, and stroking to relieve tension and improve circulation.

Reflexology, however, is more advanced than that.

The practitioner, in Reflexology, will use reflex point maps which indicate areas of the body connected to your feet, hands, and ears. The practitioner will then use micromovement techniques such as finger-walking or their thumbs, with the overall goal to create a response throughout the body.

Foot massage and Reflexology differ because the practitioner works from the “inside-out,” stimulating the nervous system to release tension. In contrast, a massage therapist will work “outside-in” by manipulating fascia and muscles to release stress.

The Four Ways Of Reflexology

Reflexology Works With The Nervous System

The pressure to the feet, hands, or ears sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the CNS, which signals the body to adjust the tension levels. It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide system in the body.


Benefits Of Working With The Nervous System Through Reflexology:

  • It enhances relaxation

  • It brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimal functioning.

  • Increase in blood supply


Reduce Pain By Reducing Stress And Improving Mood

Reflexology reduces pain through the “gate control theory,” or also known as the Neuromatrix Theory of Pain. The Neuromatrix Theory explains that pain is a subjective experience created in the brain. The brain does this in response to the sensory experience of pain; however, it can also work independently of sensory input and create pain in response to cognitive and emotional factors.

This means that when you experience high levels of emotional distress, it can also influence your response to pain.


Keep The Body’s Energy Flowing

Like the Neuromatrix Theory, we are working with the body’s emotional and cognitive response to stimuli.

If we don’t make an effort to work through stress and move the energy through the body, it becomes congested, resulting in pain and illness.



Zone Therapy

Reflexology began with Zone Theory, in which the body is divided into ten vertical zones. Every finger and toe corresponds to different zones through to your head. In theory, every organ, valve, muscle, etc., is connected to a point on the feet or hands.

When To Avoid Reflexology

Although, the idea of a foot massage and Reflexology sounds good right about now. There are risks and times when you have to avoid it.

Foot Injuries

There are risks to getting a Reflexology treatment if you are healing from a fracture, wound, or active gout in the foot. We recommend that you consult your primary physician before starting Reflexology if you have osteoarthritis that impacts the legs or feet, ankles, or vascular disease. However, you can still get Reflexology on the hands and ears.



Your reflexology treatment is altered when working on the uterine and ovarian reflex points in your first six weeks of pregnancy. The practitioner will use gentle pressure or avoid the area altogether, exercising caution due to reports that confirm stimulation may cause contractions.


Blood Clotting Issues

If you suffer from thrombosis or embolism, you should avoid Reflexology therapy because improved circulation can cause a clot to move towards the brain or heart.


Open Wounds

In general, practitioners will not work with open wounds or choose to wear gloves during your treatment.

Foot Reflexology in Honolulu

When To Avoid Reflexology

So why should you get a Reflexology massage? In this part of the blog, we will dive into the benefits and importance of foot massage and Reflexology.


The 7 Benefits Of Reflexology

If you experience sensitivity or tenderness during stimulation, that’s usually a sign indicating bodily weakness or imbalance within the targeted organ.

Here are the seven benefits of Reflexology:

  1. Address headaches, sinus problems, and stomach issues.

  2. Clear channels of blocked energy through blood flow and nerve impulses

  3. Cleanse the body of toxins

  4. Boost Immune System

  5. Increase Circulation

  6. Promote Healing

  7. Balance your energy

A few things to remember before and after treatment:

  • We recommend waiting at least 1 hour before eating after your treatment.

  • If you are pregnant, we recommend a Prenatal Massage instead.

  • Drink lots and lots of water

  • Consult your doctor if you have foot problems and blood vessel disease associated with clots/varicose veins.

Foot Reflexology in Honolulu

The 2 Best Ways To Practice Reflexology At Home

We can’t send you on your way without taking a practice home with you. Even if you can’t schedule a massage right away, there are ways to maintain healthy, happy, and strong feet.

Here are the two best ways to practice Reflexology at home, no excuses.

At Home Massage

A short and straightforward at-home massage can be done one of two ways, first in the morning and then before bed. It doesn’t require a lot of time or energy. However, the results, let’s say your feet will thank you for it!

All you need is, well, however much time you want to dedicate to this massage. The hardest part will be building a habit out of it. There are four simple exercises, and you can pick if you want to do just one or all of them.


Massage Techniques:

  1. Ankle Circling- Try this first thing in the morning, after work (wash your hands and feet first), or before bed. Find a comfortable seat. Take your foot and place it over your thigh, take the sole of your foot, and gently move it in a circular motion clockwise and then counter-clockwise.

    This move should feel yummy on your joints and ease the tension in your ankles.

  2. Sole Rub (Soul Rub)- because you can’t deny that foot massages feel AMAZING. Use brisk strokes first thing in the morning to get some blood flow going, or opt. for gentle strokes if you are looking to soothe your feet after a long day.

    Place your leg over your thigh, use your thumbs to massage the sole of your foot with both hands.

  3. Toe Stretch- Take your toes and stretch them from and towards you back and forth. You might feel a nice stretch on the top of your foot. You can tap the sole of your foot with your fist or palm for added sensation.

  4. Thumb Circling- In a rhythmic movement with your thumbs, knead circles across the sole of your foot.


Walk Around Barefoot

Alright, this one shouldn’t be too hard, especially when you are taking walks along the beaches of Oahu or spending time outside at the park with your dog.

Walking around barefoot is the best way to get relaxation from wearing shoes all day. Not to mention relief from the deformities (bunions and hammertoes) that come from wearing improper shoes.

If you are not convinced yet, here are other benefits of walking around barefoot:

  1. Stronger leg muscles help support the lower back region.

  2. Better control of foot positioning (if you roll your ankles often, this is crucial for you.)

  3. Improve balance, proprioception, and body awareness

  4. Improve range of motion in foot and ankle joints

  5. Adequate strength and stability in muscles and ligaments

You barely have to think about walking barefoot; it is simply a choice before you step out the door. The goal is to make an effort one or two times a day when you lose the shoes and practice walking on sand.

Plus, if you feel on edge after a long day, spending time in nature can help you get grounded and reconnect with yourself.

Honolulu, on Oahu, has got miles of sandy beaches, so you don’t have any excuses.

foot reflexology in honolulu

Are You Ready To Make Time For Your Feet?

Alright, now that we have you here, when are you going to schedule an appointment?

Scheduling yourself in for a foot massage is more than a form of self-care; it is an act of self-love. It

is vital to refill our cups to show up our best for ourselves, our families, and at work. Plus, do you want to take a break from cycling this week? We didn’t think so.

At Hawaii Natural Therapy, we are here to support your well-being, inside and out. That is why our team of professionals is ready to accommodate your needs when you pick up the phone.

Now you can schedule your appointment online or give us a call at the clinic to schedule with one of our friendly staff. We look forward to hearing from you.