Stress is any interference that disturbs a person’s healthy mental and physical well-being or any influence that disturbs the natural equilibrium of the body or mind. Stress is the physiological response of the body to threat or danger or sudden stress. The body prepares itself for sudden action, either to run away or stay and fight. This is called the fight or flight response. It can affect the body in a number of ways, including a raised heart rate/pulse rate, surface of the blood vessels constrict, body hairs stand on end, increased blood flow to the muscles, blood pressure rises, breathing becomes faster and deeper to provide more oxygen, mouth becomes dry and muscles tense up to prepare for action. The structures in the body that are mainly responsible in triggering this response are the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenals.

What Are Zones

They are longitudinal lines of the body and lines of energy ascending from the feet to the head. Reflexology is based on Zone Therapy. As we apply pressure to the feet we are working on the basis that stimulating these lines will have a rejuvenation and healing effect on the whole of the body.

We have ten zones, five in each foot, with the big toe as zone 1 through to the little toe, which is zone 5. The fingers link up to the zones in the same way. Zones are distributed up the body like slices and when we work on the plantar aspect of the feet we are automatically working through the whole of the human body.

Sensitivity in one spot on the feet or hands creates an imbalance in the entire length of that zone. For example, working a zone on the foot where the kidneys lie will release vital energy that may be blocked somewhere else in that zone, such as in the eyes.

Zone 1 is the most important zone in the body as it includes the central nervous system, spine and brain. Zone 1 is also different because there are also 5 zones in each big toe and each thumb and 10 zones in the head. In zone 1 we have the pituitary, which is said to be the first gland to be formed at conception and the master of the body’s hormones. Also there are our reproductive organs, which are essential for the continuance of life itself. You will find that when working on zone 1 on the feet this zone will often be the most sensitive. A lot of this sensitivity may be caused by back problems because the spine is found in zone 1.

The principal of Reflexology is to find and work out the sensitive spots on the feet by an alternating pressure of your thumb and sometimes index finger on all areas of the feet. Refinement of pressure and consistent control is important to achieve excellent results.


Reflexology can relax the whole body and help with stress related illnesses. It is a good suggestion to rest after the treatment to help the body’s internal healing mechanisms to work.


If Reflexology is not suitable for a particular client at a particular time in their life they may experience ongoing negative reactions. Sometimes if the treatment pressure is too hard the client may be more aware of their symptom patterns. This would be detrimental to the client; if they suffer from arthritis, for example, the healing crisis reaction may include more pain or more limited mobility. If a client suffered from chronic fatigue they may be very exhausted or confined to bed after a hard treatment. It would be advisable to give a very light treatment in these and many other cases. Reflexology can make clients more or less aware of their symptoms.

Courses of action would include: Reduce pressure and treatment time at the next session. Treat at another time of the day- maybe at night so the client can rest afterwards. Review the holistic approach to health as there may be something in their lifestyle, diet or side effects of medication that can be influencing their reaction to treatment.