Defining reflexology correctly, is vital for the reflexology profession. This will help educate the public and delineate guidelines as to what it can and cannot do. As a practitioner and educator in reflexology for close to 40 years, I will present my definition, and share a few other definitions defined by prominent reflexology agencies and associations .

1) REFLEXOLOGY DEFINED BY DAVID ALLAN Reflexology is mostly associated with the feet, but also is applied to the hands and ears. As written for Touch Abilities – Essential Connections by Burman/Friedland Reflexology is a practice based on the principal that manual pressure with specific thumb and finger techniques applied to the hands and feet will create physiological, chemical and emotional changes throughout the body.

In Reflexology, an overlay of the body image is positioned over both the hands and feet. Stimulation to hand and foot points reflexively affect corresponding body parts and can have positive health benefits. At face value we have appendages with five digits attached that are made for touching, feeling, standing and walking.

Looking more closely at the hands and feet, an entire world emerges. There is a display of lines, colors, toe and finger shapes, skin texture and temperature, as well as sensations as pressure is applied. Healthy hands and feet should not be tender to firm pressure and when they are, it’s a warning sign that the health of the hands and feet or the overall body is compromised. From a holistic perspective, the body functions as a whole and is therefore affected by everything we do and say. Reflexologists not only see and evaluate the body through the body image on the hands and feet, their direct application of pressure to specific points reflexively affects the entire body. Reflexology is versatile and simple to use as a self-help modality.

It is a wellness and therapeutic practice that brings relief to many ailments and provides important sensory stimulation at the point of application. It is non-invasive and provides nourishing pressure and joint movements to everyday “abused hands and feet”, relieving them of local pent-up stress and globally reducing stress levels throughout the body.

2) DEFINED BY THE REFLEXOLOGY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (RAA) Reflexology is the systematic, manual stimulation of the reflex maps located on the feet, hands and outer ears that resembles a shape of the human body. Visit RAA HERE.

3) DEFINED BY THE AMERICAN REFLEXOLOGY CERTIFICATION BOARD (ARCB) Reflexology is a holistic discipline using the hands to apply alternating and firm pressures to the feet, hands or ears to stimulate physiological changes in the body through reflexes and the nervous system. Visit ARCB HERE. For a broad overview of definitions, visit a RAA page HERE.