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Reflexology - Some Commonly asked Q&As.

As a Reflexologist, I often encounter curiosity and questions from individuals intrigued by the practice of reflexology. 

It's understandable; reflexology is a fascinating holistic therapy that has been around for centuries, yet many people are still discovering its benefits and principles.

Here are some of the commonly asked Q & A’s about reflexology to help you gain a deeper understanding of this complementary therapy and what to expect.

What happens during a Reflexology session?

Ali Iles - Reflexology in Downend, Bristol

Reflexology sessions are generally for an hour.

With your first visit, it is best to allow an extra 20/30 minutes so we can have an introductory chat, take your details / check your medical history and discuss Reflexology and your expectations or if you have reasons for having it.

You may then lie back and relax on the couch (or recliner chair) - your feet will be raised on a cushion and wrapped in a towel. You may also have a blanket to place over yourself for comfort.

Before treatment commences, your feet will be wiped over gently with a warm flannel and then the Reflexology treatment will carry on using various techniques, massage movements, thumb walking and thumb and finger holds on various Reflexology points around your feet and ankles.

What should I wear?

Comfortable clothing that you can relax in.

Reflexology is focused on and around your feet, ankles and lower legs so the only clothing to be removed will be shoes and socks/tights.

If wearing trousers/leggings etc, it is ideal if they can be rolled up above your ankles - comfortably to calf level if possible.

Is it Painful?

reflexology - frequently asked questions

Having Reflexology should be a calm and relaxing experience for you. 

The pressure being used by the therapist should be firm enough so it's not ticklish (!) but not so firm that it's painful and causes you discomfort (not very relaxing for you!)

Sometimes if there is an area of 'imbalance' on reflex points it may feel tender to you but I always say if you are uncomfortable please let me know and I can adjust the pressure accordingly.

Is it Tickly?

It shouldn't be ticklish - A firm enough pressure (not painful/uncomfortable) is used so that it shouldn't be. But always let me know if it is and we can adjust accordingly.

Is Reflexology a Foot Massage?

Is Reflexology a Foot Massage? Find out more with Ali Iles, a Reflexologist based in Bristol, UK

Reflexology is not specifically classed as a massage therapy but it does involve various massage movements - used mainly at the beginning and end of the treatment when wanting to help relax the feet.

Reflexology involves the stimulation of various reflex points using various Reflexology techniques, holds and pressures.

Have a look at The Association of Reflexologists fascinating 'Interactive Map' so you can see how the feet (or hands) are mapped out!

AoR interactive reflexology footmap

Do I need to have a reason for having Reflexology?

No, not at all!

Reflexology is found to be very relaxing and some people have it on a regular basis just because they enjoy it and it makes them feel great afterwards … Just like going for a massage.

Reflexology can also be a great support alongside medical healthcare. 

(reflexology should not be used as a replacement to medical advice - if unsure about your health always seek advice from your GP/Medical health practitioner first).

You may find that Reflexology helps you to reduce stress levels or helps to improve your sleep quality.

High levels of stress (mental / physical / emotional) and/or poor sleep patterns can both have a great (negative) impact on our health, so addressing these may help with other aspects of your health along with looking at lifestyle factors such as nutrition and your daily physical activity.

How many sessions, or how often should I have Reflexology?

You can have Reflexology for as long as you wish!

There is no rule as to how many sessions you may need.

As to how often - This may depend on each individual's personal circumstances - If you are looking to have Reflexology for a specific reason or to help support you with a specific condition, then an initial course of treatments is advised. 

To see any true benefits a course of 5 - 6 sessions either weekly or fortnightly would be ideal and reassessed as we go along, but we can discuss a treatment plan during your appointment that would suit you personally.

Some people enjoy having Reflexology for its relaxation purposes and have a session booked for once a month; this helps them feel more focused, relaxed and balanced afterwards, and something to look forward to each month!

Is reflexology suitable for everyone?

Reflexology - suitable for all the family

Reflexology is generally safe for everyone; including pregnant women, babies/children, adults, the elderly and palliative care cases. 

However, there are some contraindications to consider, such as:

  • Open wounds/ulcers or infections on the feet.

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Severe circulatory disorders.

  • Active Gout

  • Recent foot injuries.

  • Certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy or diabetes (in some cases, caution may be needed)

It's always advisable to consult with a qualified Reflexologist and/or your GP before undergoing treatment, especially if you have any underlying health concerns.

Can you tell what's wrong with me?

I’m sorry, but no!

Reflexology is a complementary therapy, aimed at promoting relaxation and improving your general well-being. 

Reflexology offers a personalised individual approach, considering all aspects of your well-being—physical and non-physical—addressing factors that may influence your overall wellness.

During your session the Reflexologist may or may not pick up on areas that may feel ‘out of balance’ due to skin tone/temperature or feeling tender or gritty points and then they may discuss these points with you, for you to then seek medical guidance if deemed necessary.

Reflexology is great for using alongside medical healthcare as support, but it is not a medical treatment or assessment.

Reflexologists are not medically trained to be qualified to diagnose, treat or cure - that is why we recommend you seeing your GP/Health Practitioner if you have any health concerns.


Reflexology is a complementary therapy that offers a myriad of benefits for both body and mind. 

By understanding its principles and practices, you can harness its potential to support your overall well-being and quality of life. 

Whether you're seeking relaxation, pain relief, or just simply curious - reflexology has something to offer for everyone. 

So, why not take the first step and experience reflexology for yourself?

Your feet may just thank you for it!

If you have any further questions or would like to experience the benefits of reflexology for yourself, don't hesitate to reach out and ask - or to find a qualified Reflexologist in your area visit - Association of ReflexologistsFind a Therapist directory.


About Ali

Ali Iles is a Reflexologist based in Downend, Bristol.

Ali Iles (MAR, MFHT) is a Reflexology & Massage Therapist based in Downend, Bristol BS16.

Offering Complementary Therapies to help bring relief from a wide range of acute and chronic conditions plus providing you with time for relaxation - relieving tension and helping to improve your sense of wellbeing and health.

A full member of ‘The Association of Reflexologists’ (AoR) and ‘Federation of Holistic Therapists’ (FHT) after qualifying in 2005 with the AoR accredited Reflexology Diploma.

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