A mom on TikTok shared her cheeky foot rub to help her constipated newborn get things moving along. She was surprised to learn that the simple massage she’d been doing for three years was actually a well-known practice called reflexology.  

More than a massage, reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to specific points on the feet or hands to stimulate targeted organs and areas throughout the body. If you envision the nervous system as a single comms network connecting the entire body, reflexology is like picking up the phone to make a direct VIP call. 

Benefits of Reflexology

Reflexology has its roots in the Chinese philosophy of Qi (pronounced chee), the life force energy that runs throughout all of nature including our bodies. When Qi is disrupted, the thinking goes, dysfunction or disease occurs. By manipulating reflex points in the feet or hands, an energy surge helps break up those blockages and health happens.

The basic premise of modern reflexology is that all the nerve endings in your hands and feet are connected to different organs, systems, and areas of the body. When pressure is applied, you’re able to stimulate those areas, increase blood flow, and alleviate pain. For example, the arch of your foot is said to correspond with your digestive system. Try massaging that area the next time you have an upset stomach.

Understanding the mechanisms behind how reflexology works is scant, but it has been used to:

Get Started at Home

Are you tired? Stressed? Maybe experiencing heartburn or a sore neck? Lagging libido? Before popping over to the medicine cabinet, try giving your feetsies a cheeky little rub. 

All you need is a nice massage lotion or nourishing oil that you love and a reflexology map that charts the topography of your soles and palms and their corresponding organs. 

Foot reflexology chart

Start by getting relaxed. Set aside distractions, light a candle, and put on your comfy clothes. Depending on your flexibility, you can remain seated in a chair or plop down on the floor. As long as you can comfortably reach the soles of your feet, you’re golden. 

Loosen up your ankles with a circular roll of your feet five times in each direction. Reflexologists use a technique called “thump-walking.” Cradling your foot in your hands, use your thumbs to gently apply pressure in a circular motion. Sweep your thumbs up or over an inch at a time while keeping up the massaging movement. There’s no real right way, so experiment with different styles until you find one that works for you. 

There are eleven zones per foot and massaging each one will stimulate different areas. Again, there’s no wrong way to go about a reflexology massage and at the very least, you’ll still get a very relaxing massage out of it. But if you’re looking for help with a specific thing, try one of these: 


👣 Get started on your at-home reflexology practice:

Earth Therapeutics Reflexology Massage Lotion