8 Surprising Benefits of Reflexology

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Reflexology is similar to acupuncture but replaces the needles with massage. It can be offered at nail salons, spas and other wellness spaces. Licensed acupuncturist and Wilding co-founder Gianna De La Torre says she often uses it on needle-resistant patients. “Reflexology is based on the principle that different areas of the body are interconnected through energy pathways. It’s generally done on either the face, feet, hands, or ears—each function as a microcosm for the entire body, meaning you can address the whole simply by working intelligently on one part.”

Aesthetician Rachel Lee Lozina at Blue Water Spa gives the example that pressing on the outer part of the big toe connects to your nose. While experts wholeheartedly recommend reflexology, De La Torre says it’s important to note it should not substitute medical treatment. Rather, it should complement it as something that can enhance overall well-being. Here are some surprising benefits of the practice.

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Stress relief

CEO and founder of sundays, where reflexology and foot soaking is offered, Amy Ling Lin says reflexology can help relieve anxiety. De La Torre explains the practice is ”renowned for its ability to induce deep relaxation and alleviate stress.” She explains “The foot contains numerous nerve endings and pressure points that correspond to various organs and systems in the body. By stimulating these points, reflexology triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural ‘feel-good hormones.’ This promotes a sense of overall well-being.”

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Enhanced circulation

According to Lin, reflexology has been shown to boost blood circulation and overall body function. “Stimulation of acupoints dilates blood vessels, oxygenates the cells and helps flush toxins. This helps the body heal faster, reduces inflammation and can increase energy levels,” says De La Torre.

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Improved sleep

Lin notes that you’ll likely enter a state of calmness and relaxation during reflexology that might make you sleepy on the spot. Beyond the moment of the massage reflexology is known to promote better sleep, she says, even helping address some sleep disorders.

“Reflexology can help improve sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation and balancing the body’s energy,” says De La Torre. “By stimulating specific pressure points associated with sleep, reflexology can help regulate sleep patterns and help people get better sleep.”

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Pain relief

Lin says this “technique has been proven to help with tension and pain relief.” Lozina says it could even be beneficial when dealing with pregnancy and delivery pain. “Through the activation of specific acupoints, it helps to release endorphins, which act as natural painkillers,” explains De La Torre. “It can also improve nerve function and decrease pain for things like migraines, back pain, arthritis and menstrual cramps. Traditional Chinese Medicine would attribute this to the circulation of blood and qi.”

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Immune-system boost

“Reflexology strengthens the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system,” says De La Torre. “By promoting lymphatic flow and drainage, reflexology helps to eliminate toxins, enhance immune cell activity, and improve overall immune function.”

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Enhanced digestion

Reflexology is great for addressing gut issues, especially constipation, says De La Torre. “It can help improve digestion, alleviate symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and constipation, and support overall GI health.” Lozina notes that it could also improve nausea.

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Speeds up recovery

Not only can reflexology help with pain management, but it could also help you bounce back faster. “Many people may not realize, but a foot massage like this may also speed up recovery after an injury or surgery,” says Lin. “As it can help with mobility and agility.”

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Nerve-function help

Lozina says reflexology can improve nerve function. She adds that it can even help treat neuropathy from cancer drugs in some.

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