Reflexology Association of Hawaii

About Reflexology

Reflexology is a non-invasive, complementary modality that involves the application of an appropriate amount of pressure using thumbs and fingers on specific points of the feet, hands and ears affecting the whole body.


Figure 1* (click to enlarge)


Chi, Qi, Ki and Prana all refer to the healing energy that travels throughout body channels or zones of the body (Figure 1). This “Life Force” flows freely in a healthy body but is impeded when an imbalance occurs through disease or pain.

Reflexology helps restore the proper flow of energy by influencing the organ, gland or part of the body to improve their functions and results in restoring the balance of the body. Reflexology is also thought to release toxins as pressing on reflex points improves local circulation.



Figure 2*

Various forms of footwork have been used for thousands of years. The earliest form originated from China around 5000 years ago. Diagrams depicting healing through the use of pressure points on the feet and hands have been found in India, China, and Japan. An Egyptian pictogram from 2330 B.C. found on a physician’s tomb reads “Don’t hurt me”, to which the practitioner replied “I shall act so you praise me” (Figure 2).

There is evidence that zone therapy first appeared in Europe in the late 16th century. In North America, some Indian tribes used pressure on the feet to relieve pain– in particular the Cherokee Indians, who have used the treatment since 1690.


Figure 3*

In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, an American physiotherapist,  further developed Dr William Fitzgerald’s “zone theory”. He believed that reflex areas on the hands and feet were linked to other parts and organs of the body within the same zone. She based her work on the belief that tension or congestion in an area of the foot is reflected in the corresponding organ, gland or part of the body. She is responsible for mapping the exact location of reflex points on the feet (Figure 3), and popularizing reflexology in North America.


Reflexology not only affects the flow of energy, it stimulates blood circulation and flow of nerves that send signals to the body. Benefits of this complementary therapy include relaxation, rejuvenation, pain reduction, promotes self-healing and metabolic homeostasis and serves as a preventative healthcare tool. Reflexology does not diagnose, prescribe or treat for a specific illness.

American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) Code of Ethics

(Taken from

A reflexologist communicates with an open mind and a peaceful presence while recognizing that his/her relationship to the client is a serious responsibility. The art and science of reflexology is an honorable one.

Therefore, as a professional reflexologist I shall:

  1. Conduct myself in a professional, honest, and ethical manner at all times.
  2. Adhere to the ‘ARCB Professional Business Standards’.
  3. Not infringe on any other professions’ scope of practice, and perform only those services for which I am qualified and/or licensed to provide.
  4. Accurately represent my competence, education, training and experience.
  5. Not present myself as a medical practitioner. I shall refer clients to appropriate medical or other healthcare professionals when appropriate.
  6. Treat other reflexologists and healthcare professionals in a courteous and respectful manner at all times.
  7. Establish and maintain trust in the client-practitioner relationship.
  8. Treat every client with the same kind, ethical attitude.
  9. Keep all client information and conversations strictly confidential.
  10. Work within the client’s comfort zone and pain tolerance.
  11. Keep the standard of my professional work current and as high as possible by continuing my reflexology education and training and attending conferences.
  12. Ensure that anyone employed by me or working in my office shall also adhere to this Code of Ethics.


*All images on this page are for educational purposes only.