Reflexology: Moving from relaxation to rehabilitation

This post was inspired by the annual national reflexology congress held this past weekend. It was centered round neurological conditions and recovery with reflexology.

It makes one realize that the benefits and effects of reflexology are overlooked. This is mainly because of the lack of scientific evidence (due to lack of funds). However, there have been a number of case studies done on neurological conditions such as strokes and brain trauma injuries with the treatment of therapeutic reflexology.[1](see below for links)

reflexology-nervous system
reflexology nervous system


It is also uncommon for medical doctors and other therapists in the Western world to refer patients to reflexologists, unless they are very familiar with integrative and complimentary therapies and how reflexology really works.

A fundamental part of reflexology is the knowledge and understanding of both anatomy and physiology, both in the body and on the feet. This enables the therapist to help influence changes in the body in order for the body to heal itself.

reflexology_chart C stormer half
Chris Stormer reflexology chart


On the patients’ side, it is important that the patient starts treatment as soon as possible. The faster the therapist can start working, the faster the person will heal. The frequency of the treatments is also important (most reflexologists will come up with a treatment and pricing plan for these kinds of treatments so that you don’t pay full price for each treatment).

The vital energy of the patient is also very important. The reflexologist works with vital energy[2] through the meridians (the body’s energy pathways). If the person does not have enough vital energy reflexology may help to enhance it or make recommendations. On a psychological level, the will and energy to live and survive also affects the speed and level of recovery.

It is important that the therapist explains what they are doing and why they are doing it, as well as the treatment plan is so that the patient (or person to give consent) and the therapist can work together to achieve healing and recovery. The patient (or person to give consent) has the right to know the ‘prognosis’, or the outcome of the treatments.

Where is reflexology heading?

Reflexology is well known for inducing relaxation to counteract the effects of stress, to help with digestive problems, sinus problems, infertility and other lifestyle disorders. It is lesser know that it helps with the rehabilitation process of people who are comatose, people who have had a stroke or brain trauma. The reflexology associations in South Africa are making a particular effort to do formal case studies on the effects of reflexology on people who have had strokes, as well as other brain trauma.

The field of reflexology in South Africa is striving towards being comfortably accepted into the medical field. This takes a lot of hard work and dedication. The fact that we have medical codes that are recognized by a number of medical aids is a large step in validating the value of this therapy.

Visit or to find a therapist near you. Reflexologists are able to do reflexology treatments in hospitals or your home. Contact a reflexologist to find out if they will be able to do this for you.


[2] Also known as ‘Chi’ / ‘Qi’ in Chinese medicine

[1] Reflexology research on stroke (Cerebrovascular accident):






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