Every Picture Tells a Story

As reflexologists the more feet we look at, the more we realise just how different each pair appears. This is because no two individuals are the same and the entire history of each person is reflected on their feet. Visual reflexology is not about 'feet reading' of the personality, but using the appearance of the feet to understand the entire holistic health of the person. It is not used to diagnose but to help balance the health of the client: a healthy appearance to the feet will indicate a healthy person.

Clues on the Feet

We can gain an enormous amount of information about our clients by analysing the overall appearance of their feet as well as that of individual reflexes. Each visual aspect of the feet can tell us something: the variation in colour, as well as the lines and textures of the skin, the dips and swellings of the tissue beneath, the tension and torsion of the joints and the shape of the arches of the feet: these are all telling us something about the health of the individual reflexes, and the person as a whole, if only we know how to read them. 

Uses and Application of Visual Skills

So when our clients first present, looking at their feet with a good understanding of visual reflexology can guide us in the questions we need to ask them. It can also help us decide how best to structure their treatment by showing us specific reflexes we need to focus on and for how long, as well as which particular techniques to apply in order balance them as effectively as possible. During the treatment itself we can use it to complement our palpatory skills, and noticing the changes that occur in the appearance of the feet during and after a treatment can help us decide how effective our treatment is being.

Use of Visual Reflexology in Record Keeping

Taking photos of our clients' feet is a very useful way of keeping a record of how the reflexes change from the start of the treatment to the finish, or from the beginning of a course to the end. Studying photos of feet generally is a good way to train our eyes and gain experience that we can use during treatments. (N.B. always get your client's permission, tell them if you intend to post it online, and never show their face in a photo.)

 Facebook Study Group

The Visual Reflexology Study Group on Facebook is for all reflexologists including students, to post photos in order to practice their visual study. The photos below are from the Facebook group with analysis alongside of what we may be able to tell about the reflexes just from looking at them.

Click here to apply to join the Facebook group. (N.B. you will need to provide details of your reflexology qualification or training course.) 


N.B. These examples are not to be used for any form of diagnosis. Always refer to a GP or foot health care practitioner when necessary.

The small swellings seen around the heel area are actually herniated fatty tissue deposits. In reflex terms they may relate to general weakness and poor energy flow in the lower back and pelvis, which could contribute to various health problems in this area. They are found in all ages and both sexes, but in women they are frequently found in clients who have gynaecological problems.

Note how swollen the pituitary reflex looks. This kind of appearance may well reflect some kind of endocrine imbalance. A pituitary reflex that looked like this would lead us to ask the client further questions relevant to the endocrine system and spend a lot of time palpating endocrine reflexes. 

The angle of the feet and toes can tell us a lot about the musculo-skeletal system of the entire body and the gait and posture of the client. The right foot here is leaning too far to the lateral side which would indicate a misalignment of the muscles all the way up this leg. This may well mean the client has problems with the hip or lower back.

Note how cracked these heels are. This can be due to many reasons including vitamin deficiencies, but hypothyroidism can also be one. We would ask the client relevant questions, pay close attention to the thyroid reflex and refer for a medical diagnosis if necessary. Also consider what reflex area the heels relate to and the what the lack of moisturehere may signify in terms of the health of the area (inadequate lymph flow specifically).

This client started her treatments just before heart surgery. Note the verruca over the heart reflex. (Beneath L toe 2). Verrucas are often found on reflexes which have chronic health problems, sometimes with an emotional connection. The chest reflex area also looks very red showing tissue inflammation, and has rippling lines that may indicate compression and tension in the muscles there.

This client was previously a drug addict and alcoholic and now has type 2 diabetes . There is a deep curving groove cutting through the pancreas reflex and the kidney area, which also has a deep indentation in it. These kind of lines often seem to show organs under a lot of pressure. The 'stress lines' and indent shown here could clearly correspond to his past and present health issues, and how they impacted on the kidney and pancreas specifically.