While reflexology is an extremely safe healing practice, it is important to be aware
of a few contraindications or times when reflexology might not be a wise choice.
These contraindications include:
- Reflexology on the foot is discouraged in patients with foot fractures,
unhealed wounds, or active gout in the foot. Patients with osteoarthritis that
impacts the foot or ankle, or those with vascular disease of the legs or feet,
should consult with their primary provider prior to beginning reflexology on the
feet. An acceptable alternative would be to use reflexology on the hands and
- Clients who report current thrombosis or embolism (which is an obstruction
of the pulmonary artery or a branch of it by a free-floating blood clot or
embolus) should not receive reflexology therapy. Since reflexology improves circulation, it could potentially cause a clot to
move towards the heart or brain.
- For women in early pregnancy (the first 6 weeks), the reflexology session
is altered by treating the uterine and ovarian reflex points more gently or by
avoiding them altogether. In general, caution should be exercised during
pregnancy because of reports that stimulation may cause contractions.
- Babies and young children will receive benefit from many techniques, but
rarely have the patience for a whole session. Thus, sessions are abbreviated
- If you are using other touch therapies, such as massage , allow at least 48
hours between touch therapy sessions to avoid an overload on your
In general, practitioners will stay away from open wounds, and may choose to
wear plastic gloves or not to treat areas that are compromised.
Kunz, K. & Kunz, B. (1993). The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology,
Revised Edition. Albuquerque, NM; Reflexology Research Project.