Why a Reflexologist should never diagnose

As a Reflexologist, my main calling is to massage people’s feet in a particular way which helps improve overall health & wellbeing. Often, I have a client say to me “Oh, what’s that?”

My instinct is always to say, “Your foot!”

I know that’s not what is being asked of me, so unless I’m feeling particularly cheeky, I don’t say it. I explain how the area of the foot they’re asking about correlates to a particular part of their body which may be out of balance. As the client is supposed to be relaxing, I try to keep the answer simple, while still concentrating on what I’m doing.

However, I do think the full explanation is important.

My background in sport and physiology always prompts my brain to wonder if your foot just has an unusual quirk to itsbasic structure. After that, I wonder if you dropped something on your foot and forgot about it; perhaps you banged your toe; maybe you’ve worn poorly fitting shoes, or you could have stood on something. I look at your foot for indications of bruising, splinters, unhappy toenails or infections. The mechanics of your foot are of primary importance for your wellbeing.

Following that, my brain shifts into my Reflexology training. Reflexology works on energy zones whereby each part of the body is mapped to a particular point on the foot. Therefore a tightness, soreness, warm sensation, buzzing, tingling, or what feels like resistance or small crystals to me, can show where there is an energy blockage. And an energy blockage indicates that the correlating part of the body is overworked, tired, injured, holding negative energy, not functioning efficiently or is generally out of balance.

Because the body is such an interconnected network of systems, an imbalance in one part of the digestive system could show up on your foot as an energy blockage in a different part of that system from where the imbalance is, so I work through a systematic process. I also use caution as an unusual sensation in the area correlating to, say, your colon, is likely to be as simple as your immune system fighting off a virus you don’t know you’ve got, or you may be slightly dehydrated, so there is no value in anyone jumping to worst case scenario.

Again, due to parts of our bodies being so interdependent, if you have a problem with your left shoulder, you will be holding your right shoulder differently and your neck might be slightly out of alignment. Therefore, the energy blockage may show up in the reflex area correlating in one of those secondary areas. From this perspective, Reflexology gives an indication as to where your body needs help to rebalance, and the therapy offers it.

There are additional reasons why it is irresponsible to diagnose. And this is in part because there are several differing versions of foot maps. Some people say this is due to the maps being drawn up by different peoples, each culture having its own distinct energy flow around the body. Others say that once one was copy-written, everyone else’s had to be slightly different. What I know is that they are all drawn up based on a ‘normal’ body, and provide a guide to reflex points. For example, on some maps, the sinuses are on the toes, on others they are beneath the toes –I’ve had clients with blocked sinuses react to the toes, and others react to points beneath the toes. No-one’s body is the ‘norm’ and every client I treat is different. As I get to know your feet, I tune into your vibe and learn what is ‘normal’for you. If I know you have had an operation to move your gall bladder or a kidney, it’s reasonable to work on the principle that a) there will be scar tissue around that area and b) your digestive organs will all have shifted and adapted slightly, hence are unlikely to correlate directly to any foot map.

So next time you ask a Reflexologist “What’s that?”and they smile to themselves and take a deep breath before giving you a reply, you know what’s going through their mind. And sometimes, the answer really is “Your foot”!

A pretty good attempt of the points where internal organs correlate to, completed by a child at a recent event, and Reflexology image courtesy of Association of Reflexologists, of which I am a member.



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