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What Is Reflexology?

  • Reflexology is defined as a calm and soothing massage of the pressure points of the feet. Its basic principle is that the pressure points of the feet correspond to different organs and that through the feet the entire body can be balanced and harmonized.
  • The correspondence between the feet and organs is presumed to rely on meridians, a system of energy lines extending throughout the whole body, from head to foot. This system is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine and also is used in shiatsu and acupuncture.
  • Massaging pressure points on the feet also creates a stimulation of the nervous system that may have soothing effects of its own.

What Is the Background of Reflexology?

  • Reflexology is rooted in a 5,000-year-old tradition from China. As a method of healing, however, it has not yet been validated by Western methods of scientific inquiry.
  • It was introduced in the United States by Eunice Ingham in the 1930s.
  • Reflexology is a recognized form of care in China and some European countries, where it is often provided in hospitals and other health care facilities.

What Are the Indications for Reflexology?

Reflexology is a form of preventive medicine that aims to maintain a person's balance and well-being. Though empirical studies are lacking, many patients have benefited from reflexology. Conditions treated may include:

  • Migraine headache
  • Hypertension
  • Menstrual cramps or irregularities
  • Myofascial pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety disorders

What Are the Contraindications for Reflexology?

  • Recent surgical removal of a malignant tumor
  • Foot wounds and burns

Contact Us

UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine
Shadyside Place
580 S. Aiken Ave, Suite 310
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 412‑623‑3023.