What is Reflexology?

Avatar photo Staff August 9, 2012


An ancient art that is known to increase health, reduce pain and help diminish anxiety associated with cancer.

When a certified reflexologist came to our Center, I was eager to try it out. Throughout my career I became aware that points on the feet were somehow connected to the various parts of the body and could help with the healing process. I came to understand that it was practiced as an ancient medical art in Egypt, India, Greece and the Orient. It resembles massage in the sense that the practitioner uses their hands to exert pressure at specific points and areas in the feet. These reflex points are connected both physiologically and energetically to the organs, glands, and tissues throughout the body. When practiced skillfully, reflexology may help to reduce pain, promote relaxation, and reduce stress by affecting the nerves, blood flow and energy of the entire body.

I decided to give reflexology a try and, I really enjoyed my first session. I relaxed and felt a profound sense of well-being. After the session, I felt like I was floating on my feet and the sense of well-being persisted into the next day.

More recently, I was fascinated to discover one of the more specific and tangible uses for reflexology in regards to health. I read in an alternative medicine journal that reflexology can help cancer patients with some of their symptoms. In some clinical studies, cancer patients reported a significant decrease in pain and anxiety after receiving reflexology. For example, in one study concerning people in which the cancer has spread (metastatic), the partners of one group were taught reflexology where the partners of the 2nd group read to patients. After30 minutes of treatments, the anxiety in the reflexology group decreased by 62% compared to the reading group’s 23% reduction. The pain was measured to decrease by 34% versus the reading group’s 2% reduction.

When cancer spreads, pain becomes a major issue. Powerful drugs are used to give relief and comfort, yet at the same time, they cause a lowering of consciousness. Unfortunately, this is precisely the time when family, friends and the patient are looking for meaningful communication. My suggestion is that instead of using pharmaceuticals to reduce pain, one might want to try and temper that outlet of relief with something more natural like reflexology. I want to pass this information on so you can think about recommending reflexology as a helpful tool in attempting to manage their pain and anxiety.

 If you are interested in learning more, please schedule an appointment with Elda DuPlessis, our certified reflexologist.

To your good health,

Jerry Gore M.D.

Executive Medical Director, Center for Holistic Medicine

240 Saunders Rd. Riverwoods/Deerfield