Reflexology Foot Zones

Julija Sapic/iStock/Getty Images

Reflexology is a branch of alternative medicine in which different zones on the hands and feet correlate to the different parts of the body. By applying pressure and gentle massage to these parts of the hands and feet, you can induce relaxing and healing effects throughout the body. Archaeology dates the practice of reflexology back to China in 2704 B.C. and Egypt in 2330 B.C., though the study didn’t reach the Western world until the 1800s.

Lower Body

The lower back is represented in foot reflexology on top of the foot and on the sole of the foot. On the top of the foot, the zone covers the beginning of the foot’s bridge, from just under the ankle to the highest point on top of the foot. On your sole, the lower back zone ranges from the heel through the middle of your arch. The genital regions--groin and fallopian tubes--and the lymph glands are associated with the stripe on top of your foot that reaches from one ankle to the other. The sciatic nerve is represented by a small horizontal stripe at the center of your heel, the knee and leg by a small spot at the exterior center of your feet, and your tailbone by the interior-most segment of the heel. The spine, which connects your lower body to your upper body, is represented along the interior edge of both feet from the ankles to the big toe.

Upper Body

The major elements of your torso--upper back, lungs, breast and chest--encase the remainder of the bridge of your foot as well as a smaller portion of your sole. The upper back zone is on top of the foot in the middle section of the bridge. Lungs, breast and chest consume the lowest third of the bridge of your foot, closest to the toes, as well as the ball of your foot between your big toe and your pinky toe.

Other internal parts of the upper body are represented in reflexology zones as well: the diaphragm by a stripe running between your arch and the ball of your foot and the solar plexus by a spot just under the ball of your foot and between the big toe and second toe. The shoulder zone lies on the ball of the foot just under your pinky toes; the tops of the shoulders are represented by a stripe on top of your foot at the base of your toes. Your arm zone is on the outer edge of your foot, just under your pinky toe, and your elbow zone also lies on the outer edge of the foot, just below the arm zone.

Matching Internal Organs

The heart, kidney, adrenal gland, small intestine and bladder maintain consistent locations across both feet. The heart zone lies on the ball of the foot just under the big toe, though the zone on the left foot is slightly larger than the zone on the right foot. The kidney is controlled by a spot at the center of your arches, while the spot for the adrenal gland lies just above the kidney zone, but shifted toward the center of the body. The bladder zone runs at the edge of your foot right under the inner ankles. The small intestine covers a larger zone from the middle of your arch to the beginning of your heel.

Non-Matching Internal Organs

The stomach, colon, gall bladder, pancreas, liver, ileocaecal valve and spleen are represented by zones on the bottom of the feet. These, however, are tricky because they have different areas on the left and right foot.

The stomach lies primarily on the arch of your left foot, very near the ball of the foot, with one additional spot below the ball of your big toe on the right foot. The zone for your pancreas is a smaller area contained within the stomach zone on the left foot and just under the stomach area on the right foot. The liver zone sits primarily on the arch of the right foot, with a small spot on the arch under the ball of the big toe on the left foot.

The areas for the colon also run on the arches of the foot, on the half near the heel; on the right foot, the zone looks like the arms of a clock that reads 3:30, while the zone on the left foot looks slightly like a capital J. The gall bladder is a tiny zone on the arch of your right foot, between the fourth and pinky toes; the spleen is in a similar location on your left foot, though the zone is almost twice as large. Finally, the ileocaecal valve is a tiny point toward the outer edge of your right foot between the heel and the arch.

Head, Neck and Face

Your head, neck and face have zones that lie almost entirely on the toes. The tips of the toes affect the brain and the head, with one spot on the underside of your big toe controlling your pituitary gland and a second brain section at the side of the big toe. A small stripe around each toe, located just below the toenail, controls your sinus and face. The zone for your gums, jaw and teeth is represented on top of your foot as stripes on your second through pinky toes, while the neck and brainstem are on the top and bottom of the base of the toes. A small vertical stripe under your big toes controls the parathyroid and thyroid glands, while a small segment on the interior of your foot at the base of the big toe controls your thymus.

The eye and ear are the only parts of the head not controlled on the toes; the eye zone is at the edge of the ball of your foot, under your second toe; and the ear zone is also at the edge of the ball of your foot, but ranges from the middle of the third toe to the middle of the pinky toe.