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The Complete Guide to Reflexology

Published by Healing Arts Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A full-color illustrated and comprehensive study guide for reflexology

• Provides detailed and accurate anatomical drawings, zone and reflex maps, and muscle tables

• Offers extensive basic pathology of all body systems, including case studies

• Ideal for students of reflexology up to levels 2 and 3; exceeds the curriculum requirements of all the major awarding bodies

• Includes a study outline for each chapter as well as review and multiple choice questions

Reflexology is a gentle, non-invasive therapy that encourages the body to balance and heal itself. It involves applying finger or thumb pressure to specific points on the hands and feet. Called “reflexes,” these points reflect, or mirror, the organs and structures of the body as well as a person’s emotional health. In this way, the hands and feet are “mini maps” or “microcosms” of the body that can be used to encourage holistic healing.

Presenting the most complete reflexology study guide available, this full-color illustrated textbook is designed for use both in the classroom and as a home study resource. Ideal for students of reflexology up to levels 2 and 3, it exceeds the curriculum requirements of all the major awarding bodies as well as meeting the current National Occupational Standards for reflexology.

Providing detailed and accurate anatomical drawings, zone and reflex maps, and muscle tables, the book outlines each body system, explaining how, when, and why to work the reflexes. It explores foot reflexology, hand reflexology, as well as meridian therapy and offers extensive basic pathology of all body systems, including case studies, allowing the student to develop interpretive diagnostic and treatment planning skills. Each chapter also includes a study outline as well as review and multiple choice questions.

Offering a comprehensive guide to the theory, philosophies, and history of reflexology, this book will encourage students to develop understanding and confidence in their reflexology practice.


From Chapter 2: Foot Reflexology

“See to the feet, my friend, and you have seen to the body.”

—Traditional Japanese saying

Did you know?

On average, our feet carry us more than five times the circumference of the globe in our lifetime.


Foot reflexology is probably the most common form of reflexology, and it was onto the feet that Eunice Ingham first mapped the reflexes of the body and where she discovered crystal deposits. In this chapter you will learn about the structure and function of the feet as well as the basic techniques you will need to give a reflexology treatment on the feet.

Student objectives

By the end of this chapter you will be able to:

• Describe the structure of the leg and foot, including the bones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels

• Map the body on to the feet

• Read and interpret the feet in preparation for a reflexology treatment

• Perform both relaxation and pressure techniques and give a complete reflexology treatment.


Bones of the leg and foot

Here is a reminder of some important anatomical terms you will need to know while studying reflexology:

Plantar – the bottom, or sole, of the foot

Dorsum/dorsal surface – the top of the foot

Medial – towards the midline of the body (towards the big-toe side of the foot)

Lateral – away from the midline of the body (towards the little-toe side of the foot)

Distal – further away from a centre of attachment (e.g., the toes are distal to the ankle)

Proximal – closer to a centre of attachment (e.g., the ankle is proximal to the toes)

Longitudinal line – a vertical line (runs from the top to the bottom of the body or vice versa)

Transverse line – a horizontal line (runs from side to side).

Did you know?

One-quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet. If these bones are out of alignment, then the rest of your body will be too.

The foot is made up of 26 extremely strong bones that bear the weight of our bodies and enable us to walk, run and jump. These bones fall into three groups: the tarsals, the metatarsals and the phalanges.

Did you know?

The word ‘navicular’ means boat-shaped, and the navicular bone in your foot is so called because it is shaped like a boat. Similarly, the word ‘cuneiform’ means wedge-shaped, and this perfectly describes the shape of the three cuneiform bones in your foot. Finally, the cuboid bone is shaped like a cube.

The leg consists of two bones: the larger, stronger tibia, which is commonly called the shinbone, and the thin fibula, which runs parallel to the tibia. The tibia and fibula meet the talus bone of the foot at the ankle joint.

Body weight is distributed among the seven tarsal bones, which are arranged more irregularly than the carpal bones of the wrist; this irregularity is due to adaptations resulting from our adoption of an upright position.

The calcaneus, or heel bone, is the largest tarsal bone; it rests on the ground when the body assumes a standing position. The tarsal bones, together with the five long metatarsal bones, form the weight-bearing arch of the foot, which is reinforced by ligaments and muscles. Body weight supported by the foot is spread across the arches formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones, which make contact with the ground when we stand.

Bones of the foot

Tarsals (7)

The tarsus, or back portion, of the foot is made up of seven bones which together are called the tarsals. For ease of learning, the tarsals can be arranged into two rows – the calcaneus and cuboid are the outer, strong, solid bones that support the weight of the body, while the talus, navicular and the three cuneiforms are the inner bones that give the foot its elasticity. The tarsals are the:

Talus: This is the ankle bone and it supports the tibia and fibula

Calcaneus: This forms the heel of the foot



Medial cuneiform

Intermediate cuneiform

Lateral cuneiform

Metatarsals (5)

Five long bones form the main body and ball of the foot. These are the metatarsals and they are numbered 1 to 5, starting with the medial (big-toe) side of the foot.

Phalanges (14)

Fourteen smaller bones work together to form the toes of the foot, and these are called the phalanges. The big toe is made up of only two phalanges (proximal and distal), while all the other toes are made up of three (proximal, middle and distal). The big toe is sometimes called the hallux.

The foot is often discussed in terms of three functional zones:

• The hindfoot – talus and calcaneus

• The midfoot – navicular, cuboid and cuneiforms

• The forefoot – metatarsals and phalanges.

Study tip

A reminder of some anatomical terminology:

Anterior – at the front

Aponeurosis – a sheet-like tendon that attaches muscles to bone, to skin or to another muscle

Calcaneal – relating to the heel

Evert – turn the sole of the foot outwards

Hallux – big toe

Interosseous membrane – membrane between bones

Invert – turn the sole of the foot inwards

Malleolus – ankle bone

Pedal – relating to the foot

Phalange/phalanx/digit – toe or finger

Plantar – relating to the sole of the foot

Posterior – at the back

Sural – relating to the calf

Tarsal – relating to the ankle/back part of the foot

Arches of the foot

The bones of the foot are arranged into three arches that distribute the weight of the body over the entire foot and also give the foot its ‘springiness’ and movement. These arches are the:

Medial longitudinal arch: This runs longitudinally down the medial length of the foot. It consists of the calcaneus, talus, navicular, all three cuneiforms and the medial first three metatarsals.

Lateral longitudinal arch: This runs longitudinally down the lateral length of the foot. It consists of the calcaneus, cuboid and the lateral two metatarsals.

Transverse arch: This runs transversely across the foot and is formed by the cuboid, all three cuneiforms and the bases of the five metatarsals.

* * *


In chapter 1 you learned the basic concepts behind reflexology. These are:

• The body can be divided into longitudinal and transverse zones, and any congestion in a zone in the body can be worked on the corresponding zone on the hand or foot.

• The hands and feet are maps, or mirrors, of all the organs and structures in the body and any congestion in the body can be worked in the corresponding reflex on the hand or foot.

We will now look at these basic concepts in relation to the feet.

Transverse zones/body relation lines of the feet

The transverse lines can be easily located:

• The shoulder line is found at the base of the toes.

• The diaphragm line lies just below the metatarsal pad, or ball of the foot, where the colour and texture of the skin changes.

• The waist line can be located by feeling along the lateral edge of the foot until you feel a bone protruding outwards. This is the fifth metatarsal bone and by drawing a line directly across the foot from this protuberance you will find the waist line.

• Finally, the pelvic line lies at the beginning of the heel, once again where there is a change in the colour and texture of the skin.

* * *


Study tip

The best place to start learning reflexology is your own feet. So have a good look at them and see what they tell you about your health and personality.

Your feet are more than simply structures upon which you walk. They are a mirror of your body and soul, revealing your health, energy and even your emotions. By looking closely at a person’s feet you will find that every detail is telling you something about that person – a mole, a bunion, even a verruca is telling you what is going on inside your client.

Before every reflexology treatment spend a few minutes assessing your client’s feet and listen to what they are telling you:

• Get a general overview of the feet.

• Look for any local contraindications.

• Look at the colour of the feet.

• Smell them.

• Feel their temperature.

• Feel for excess moisture or dryness.

• Feel the tone of the feet.

• Look and feel for changes in skin texture.

• Look and feel for any structural foot disorders.

• Move the feet to check for mobility and flexibility.

• Examine the nails.

About The Author

Ruth Hull is an integrative health consultant and author who has been working in natural health since 1999 as a therapist, lecturer, and writer. Born and educated in Zimbabwe, she holds a degree in philosophy and literature as well as a master’s degree in health and homeopathy. She studied and practiced complementary therapies in London and worked as a homeopathic doctor and lecturer in South Africa. The author of The Complete Guide to Reflexology Workbook, she lives in Australia.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (January 17, 2023)
  • Length: 312 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781644116265

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