Frequently Asked Questions

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a method of stimulating reflex areas in the feet, hands, or ears that correspond to each and every gland, organ and part of the body. Correct stimulation of reflex areas relieves stress and tension, deeply relaxing the whole body from head to toe. This therapeutic relaxation serves to normalize the body's functioning, effectively facilitating the body's healing process, revitalizing and enhancing your total health.

Is reflexology something new?

Not at all! Evidence shows that reflexology was practiced by ancient Egyptian physicians over 4000 years ago.
It is also believed that reflexology was an integral part of ancient Indian, European, North American Native and Oriental folklore healing practices.
Like many other recently revived forms of folklore knowledge, reflexology is a valuable contribution to the modern person's healthcare. {see History }

What can I expect in a reflexology session?

As the reflex areas of your feet, hands or ears are stimulated you may from time to time experience pin-prick-like sensations. These sensations result from sensitivity that frequently reflects the presence of tension in the corresponding part of the body.
If it is not comfortable for you, you should ask the person who is doing the reflexology to decrease the amount of pressure that they are using.
It is important that you are comfortable with the stimulation, as relaxation is the primary goal of reflexology, and you need to feel comfortable in order to relax in your session.

Does reflexology diagnose?

NO. Reflexology identifies where stress and tension is located in the body. This can be a valuable assistance to the diagnosis process, but it is not sufficient by itself.
If a reflexology recipient has identified other symptoms that coincide with the stress and tension identified by reflexology, and then they should consult a licensed health care provider such as a naturopathic doctor or a medical doctor for a diagnosis.
If a reflexology recipient is not aware of any other symptoms that corroborate with the stress and tension identified by reflexology, then the person should recognize that the stress and tension will be alleviated to some degree by reflexology stimulation. Therefore, to some extent their stress is being taken care of. It is their choice whether to continue receiving reflexology in order to alleviate the stress and tension, and/or whether to seek out other therapies to assist.
Reflexologists are not licensed health care providers and hence are legally not allowed to diagnose.

Does reflexology treat disease?

NO. Reflexologists do not work with a treatment orientation, rather they are oriented to revitalizing the whole body and hence supporting the body in it's own healing process. Frequently disease is alleviated or managed by the creduction of stress and tension provided by reflexology.

If reflexology does not treat disease, what can it do for me?

Reflexology is used primarily to relieve stress and tension and produce deep therapeutic relaxation.
Medical doctors agree that over three fourths of our health problems can be linked to nervous and physical tension. By reducing stress and tension, reflexology improves blood and lymph circulation, strengthens the functioning of the immune system, improves assimilation of nutrition and elimination of toxins, and calms the nervous system. In these ways, reflexology facilitates the body's natural healing processes and thereby enhances the body's health and vitality. see research
As a social activity, practicing reflexology is a wonderful way to spend pleasurable quality time with friends of all ages. You will find that it can deepen the intimacy and extend the scope of your relationships.

If I don't believe in reflexology, will it still be effective?

YES. Reflexology relieves stress and tension and deeply relaxes people independent of their beliefs about it. Many very skeptical people have become strong advocates for reflexology after experiencing it.
It is also quite possible that your belief in its effectiveness will enhance its benefits. Try it with an open mind and find out for yourself how you respond to reflexology. Each person has his or her own unique response.

If I have a serious ailment, such as heart trouble, diabetes or cancer, can reflexology make my condition worse?

Absolutely not! Reflexology practised with common sense is completely safe. It simply relaxes the body, which allows it to function more effectively. The results can be amazing!!!
If a licensed health care provider such as a medical or naturopathic doctor is managing your condition, it is important that you discuss the consequences of any therapy (including reflexology) with this person before you commence treatment. This is particularly appropriate if your condition involves an organ transplant, an implanted device (pacemaker), or, is acute.

Can reflexology do me any serious harm?

NO. Reflexology is essentially harmless.
The therapeutic relaxation that reflexology produces facilitates the body's release of toxins. On very rare occasions this release of toxins may bring about perspiration, a nauseous feeling, a headache, or a bad taste in the mouth. These minor discomforts are evidence of the body's healing process, are very temporary and are not serious. Should you experience any discomfort after a reflexology session that is not temporary, then you should assume that its cause is independent of the reflexology and take the appropriate remedial actions.
Most people enjoy pleasant relaxed and/or energized feelings after a reflexology session.

Where can I receive reflexology sessions?

The Pacific Institute of Reflexology offers one-hour sessions by appointment for those in the Vancouver, B.C. Canada area.
Otherwise, looking under "reflexology" or "health services" in the Yellow Pages telephone directories and/or inquiring at natural food stores can be useful resources for finding a professional reflexologist, also health resource magazines such as "Common Ground Magazine" can also be helpful.
If you can locate a reflexology association or training school in your area, they can also provide you with useful assistance.
For more information check out our Referrals page or our Links page.

Is it possible to practice reflexology on oneself?

YES. The application of foot reflexology to others, as learned from video/DVD or course instruction , may be easily adapted to practicing on oneself, provided you have sufficient flexibility to reach your own feet for the duration of the application: 20-30 minutes.
Needless to say, very few people feel that they derive the quality of benefit when they work on their own feet compared to receiving a session from another person.
Stimulating the reflex areas of your hands or ears are other alternatives that for most people are a lot more convenient. Our Basic Holistic Hand Reflexology Course and Basic Holistic Ear Reflexology Course teach you how to work on your own hands or ears as well as other people's.
There are fewer courses available for ear and/or hand reflexology at present. This will change with time.

How can I learn more about reflexology?

The most valuable learning about reflexology is to experience it - if you have not already.
Public libraries frequently have a selection of reflexology books, videos and DVDs on reflexology. Natural food stores, massage supply stores, spiritual bookstores and bookstores with "Health" or "Alternate Health" sections can all be helpful resources.
Numerous reflexology associations exist to promote reflexology and can be helpful for discovering your local resources. See our links page.
Selections of books, foot, ear and hand charts, an instructional video/DVD, foot rollers, etc., are available for purchase at the Pacific Institute of Reflexology.
The Pacific Institute of Reflexology also has a library of books, journals and articles that may be read in the comfort of the Institute.
In addition, introductory presentations are held at the Pacific Institute on a regular basis. see schedule
For groups, a professional speaker or instructor may be arranged through the Pacific Institute of Reflexology. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how this can be arranged.

How can I learn to practice reflexology?

Anyone with willing hands can learn how to effectively practice reflexology. One of reflexology's most endearing qualities is how very easy it is to learn.
An instructional video/DVD provides a step-by-step guide to giving a complete reflexology session. see merchandise
More detailed professional instruction and guidance is provided in the 70-hour Basic Holistic Foot Reflexology Certificate Course and Practicum offered at the Pacific Institute of Reflexology.
For those wishing to further develop their knowledge and skill, especially those wishing to practice professionally, the Pacific Institute of Reflexology offers an Advanced Reflexology - Professional Skills Course, an Advanced Reflexology: Clinical Skills Course, a Basic Holistic Hand Reflexology Course, and, a Basic Holistic Ear Reflexology Course. See Learning Reflexology . More courses are in the development process and will be offered in the future.