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Reflexology

What Is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a type of therapy that uses gentle pressure on specific points along your feet (and possibly on your hands or ears as well) to help you feel better. The theory is that this eases stress, and that helps your body work better. It’s also known as zone therapy.

Like those other therapies, though, reflexology is complementary to medical treatments. It can be done alongside traditional care, but it’s not an alternative to it, and reflexologists don’t diagnose or treat illnesses.

Reflexology Benefits

Reflexology may help you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and more energized. But the benefits might go deeper if you have certain health issues.

Some people with medical conditions find that they feel less pain and discomfort if they have less stress, and reflexology may help with that. Researchers reviewed 17 studies of the psychological benefits of the therapy and found that it boosted feelings of well-being and made it easier for people to manage their conditions.

More research is needed to see if reflexology can have a direct effect on specific conditions, but based on what we know so far, it may ease:

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When You Should Avoid Reflexology

Most people, even those in the hospital, can benefit from reflexology. A study on women with advanced breast cancer found it was safe even for people who are very ill.

But you shouldn’t have reflexology if you’re recovering from an injured foot or have gout . Because it may affect blood flow, it’s not for people with blood clots or women who are pregnant .

If you have a chronic condition, a disease that affects your feet or legs, or arthritis in your feet or ankles, ask your doctor first. If your feet are off-limits, you may still be able to have reflexology on your hands or ears.