Introduction to full-body reflexology for foot reflexologists

The following text is loosely based on a webinar I held on November 24, 2015, organized by Teresa Heath. It is available here

Published in the ICR newsletter, March 2016.

First one fundamental property of reflexes must be highlighted: Reflexes work bidirectionally. For example, if an injury occurs in the buttock area then the reflex for the buttock on the feet will be affected. It will be similar the other way around. If something happens to the reflex of the buttock on the feet, for example reflexology treatment, then the buttock area will be affected.



Picture 1

If you go to a medical doctor with the condition as shown on picture 1, you might get the diagnosis piezogenic pedal papules. It is papules in the skin, in this case on the heel. In most cases it is idiopathic, it means that the doctor does not know the cause of the condition.


The big question for a foot reflexologist will be if this is a problem in the buttock area that can be treated on the buttock reflex on the foot, or if it is a heel problem that can be treated on the heel reflex. Or if it can be both.


Picture 2

But there is a third possibility. If this is a heel problem appearing on the area of the buttock reflex, it is possible to treat it on the buttock, since the reflexes are bidirectional.


Out of this it is possible to draw the conclusion that since the feet have reflexes for all of the body, then there must also be reflexes all over the body. To me this is obvious. The feet are just another part of the body. I will explain why foot reflexology is most commonly used later.

The next piece of information to examine comes from hand reflexology. The area marked with number 31 in picture 2 represents the sacrum. This does essentially coincide with the buttock reflex. So now we have two reflex areas that represent the buttock area; one on the hands and one on the feet. Because these reflexes are bidirectional it means that the buttock area represents two areas. Namely, areas of the buttock reflex on the foot and the buttock reflex on the hand. From this we can draw a new conclusion, the reflexes are in “layers”.

System 1

Picture 3


I mentioned that the buttock can represent the heal. But how will the rest of that projection look? There are no drawings of this as far as I know, but it is easy to visualise. Picture 3 should be familiar to a foot reflexologist. The physical foot on the left with the projection of the spine. On the right an outline of the body projection. By shifting the right part over the left we can have an impression of how the body is projected on the foot. Now I want you to reverse that view. Imagine that the right side of the picture represents the physical body, and the left side is a big projection showing how the foot is projected on the body. This is what I call a macro-system, the projection is bigger than the body part it projects. As an example, the reflexes for the toes are on the head.

This phenomenon with “layers” allows for the exciting possibility to work on several problems simultaneously on a small area. In other words, there may be one point on the body that represents several of the client’s problems, each problem in its own reflexological projection. That will be a point with reflexes for each of those problems. In such case it is possible to focus the treatment on this point. A typical example can be that lumbar and neck problems will be overlapping.



Picture 4

All projections have their own strengths and weaknesses. A projection that gives good results upon combustion will probably not give so good results upon constipation. This is the reason it is useful to have knowledge about many projections. The projection used by most foot reflexologists is good on acute problems. That is probably one of the reasons it was discovered early, and have in general good effect. For problems that has developed over a longer period, i.e. cancer, this system is not among the best to use.

Some foot reflexologists use two projections without having much awareness of it. The body is projected twice quite similar on the feet. In one the right side of the body is projected on the right foot, and equivalent on the other side. In another the projection is mirrored, the right side of the body is projected on the left foot. Thus we have for example both heart and appendicitis projected on both feet.

In the example with the hand and feet I have only mentioned one projection in each area. In the picture of the face one can see the outline of two different projections. There are innumerable projections, also on the hands and the feet. During the education in full-body reflexology one learns some projections on each part of the body. The goal is that we should be able to interpret the body’s signals when spontaneously showing reflexes and thus be independent of knowing maps with projections.

Many foot reflexologists may use statements as “This is the intestine reflex”, and refer to a foot map. But with the new knowledge about “layers” of projections this becomes less obvious. Because the same area can be a part of the brain reflex in another projection. It can be a part of an eye reflex in a third. Or it can be part of the uterus reflex. I hope you see the need for being careful with this kind of statements.

Picture 1:
Picture 2:
Sarafijn Hand Reflexology by Heinrike Bergmans
Picture 3:
MicroAcupuncture in Practice by Yajuan Wang
Picture 4:
Multireflexology Dien Chan by Patryck Aguilar and Anna Roca


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