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Using Pressure Points on the Feet For Health Perks

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese traditional medicine that is still a popular self-treatment today. It is a natural therapy that can relieve numerous symptoms and disorders involving the body and mind.

Although foot reflexology is a popular alternative medicine, some might not be aware of the various foot pressure points, their benefits, and how to stimulate them. This article will discuss multiple facts about foot acupressure points and how to stimulate them to gain their health benefits.

Acupressure Feet

What Is Foot Reflexology?

Foot reflexology

Foot reflexology is a type of acupressure that involves movements stimulating the foot pressure points. It consists of applying varying degrees of pressure to the feet's pressure points. It is believed that pressure points on the feet correspond to specific body parts that can help alleviate or prevent pain.

Ancient Chinese medicine believes that “qi” or “vital energy” flows in every person. And when a person is stressed, it can block the "qi."

Massaging and applying pressure to the foot pressure points using fingers and props can improve blood circulation and release tension, restoring balance and encouraging healing in various body parts.

Chinese foot massage

According to zone theory, the body is divided into ten zones. The foot is divided into five zones from heel to toe. Zone 1 is the big toe, while zone 5 is the little toe. Zone 1 corresponds to the right and left center of the body, while zone 5 corresponds to the right and left sides of the body.

Another theory suggests that peripheral nerve endings are connected to the central nervous system. Applying pressure to the areas of the feet can stimulate the nerves and relax the body.

The Benefits of Stimulating Foot Pressure Points

Reflexology foot massage has several health benefits. A 2014 study by McCullough et al. demonstrated positive effects of foot reflexology, specifically in the stress parameters. Some benefits of massaging pressure points in feet include:
Tai Chong

The Tai Chong is located on the tendon between the big and second toe. The gap where tendons meet can be pressed to relieve stress and decrease irritability and anxiety.

Yong Quan

The Yong Quan is located at the hollow below the joint of the big toe. Providing pressure in that area can offer calmness and decrease palpitations.

Qui Xu

The Qui Xu pressure point is one inch below the bone outside the ankle. Massaging the area can help stabilize mood and relieve mental stress.

Stress Management and Relaxation

Stress is one of the things people deal with every day. It contributes to various symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and decreased productivity. It can affect almost all bodily systems. With this, stress management and relaxation are major benefits of foot reflexology. When stressed, the muscles tend to contract or tighten.

Massaging pressure points on the foot can stimulate blood flow and increase the temperature of the muscles. The increase in temperature can relax the muscles. Massaging pressure points in the foot triggers the release of cortisol, which can control mood and motivation. It can also increase the production of endorphins that boosts happiness and serotonin, which makes people calmer and happier.

The Tai Chong, Yong Quan, and Qui Xu pressure points can be pressed to relieve stress and ease anxiety.

Zu Lin Qi

The Zu Lin Qi pressure point in the feet is thought to be able to relieve pain. It is located on the outer side of the small toe. It can relieve lower back pain and muscle tension. Relief of pain from acupressure can be related to its relaxation effect.

Pain Management

There was also a study carried out in 2011 and funded by the National Cancer Institute. Researchers used reflexology on 240 women with advanced breast cancer receiving chemotherapy. The study found that it did not affect the pain, but it reduced symptoms such as shortness of breath.

Although the study in 2011 showed that reflexology did not affect the pain of women with advanced breast cancer, recent studies found otherwise. A study in 2020 revealed a significant reduction of pain after kidney transplant surgery in patients who received foot reflexology compared to the control group.

Another study in 2018 also reported that foot reflexology significantly decreased surgical pain from hysterectomy compared to the control group. Aside from acute pain from surgeries, a 2018 study of military service people with chronic pain showed that the pain scores were reduced by forty-three percent in males and forty-one percent in females after just one session of foot reflexology.

More extensive studies might still be needed to fully understand the ability of reflexology to reduce or relieve pain.

Tai Bai

The Tai Bai is located along the side of the foot. Look for the depression in the middle near the ball of the foot.

Improved Digestion

One of the acupressure points in the feet is connected to the stomach. When this point is stimulated, it will increase the blood flow to the stomach and improve digestion.

Although foot reflexology is believed to improve digestion, a 2017 randomized controlled study on its usefulness in children with functional constipation showed no effect. To understand the impact of reflexology on digestion, further study is needed.

The pressure point thought to relieve abdominal distention and other problems in the digestive tract is the Tai Bai.

Tai Chong

The Tai Chong pressure point can relieve eye strain. Massage the point gently for thirty seconds. The heel of the other foot can be used to press the area.

Eye Strain Relief

Foot reflexology can reverse eye strain from digital devices or daily activities. It can relax eye muscles contracted or tightened from looking at screens.

The Tai Chong pressure point can relieve eye strain. Massage the point gently for thirty seconds. The heel of the other foot can be used to press the area.

Yong Quan

The Yong Quan or “Bubbling Spring” pressure point is located in the depression that appears in the sole when the toes are curled.

Improved Sleep

Since foot reflexology can help manage stress and provide relaxation, it can also promote a good night's sleep. Acupressure on foot pressure points can improve overall circulation, providing a restful night's sleep.

There are many foot pressure points to treat insomnia and improve sleep. Pressure points may have various names, but they all relate to a specific organ. One of the points used to treat insomnia is the Yong Quan or “Bubbling Spring” pressure point.

Feet Pressure Points You Should Know About

As seen in the foot reflexology chart, every body part is represented by a particular region of one or both feet. Although there may be some differences across foot charts, the body parts are represented in similar positions. The left foot corresponds to the organs and body parts on the left side of the body, while the right foot corresponds to the right. Below is a general guide to pressure points in the feet.

Feet reflexology
Next zone


The toes represent the head, particularly the eyes, sinuses, side of the neck, and brain. For example, massaging between the fourth and pinky toe can alleviate period pains and headaches.

Inside Surface (along with The Arch)

The inside surface generally represents the spine. Creating balance in this part increases stability, flexibility, and strength.

Outer Edge

The outer edge generally represents the legs, knees, shoulders, arms, and hips. Using the pressure points for these areas will help promote healing and relaxation.

Top Third (near The Ball of Your Foot)

The top third represents the lungs and the heart. By massaging this region, these organs can receive more blood.

Middle Third (near Your Arch)

The middle third represents the abdominal organs such as the liver, spleen, stomach, and intestines.

Bottom Third (near The Heel)

The bottom thirds represent the organs in the pelvis, which include the reproductive organs, urinary tract, bladder, colon, and more. It also represents the sciatic nerve.

Massage Techniques You Can Try Out on Yourself

There are numerous massage techniques on the internet today. You can also watch videos on YouTube and other platforms to learn more about massage techniques you can do yourself. Below are some massage techniques:
Anxiety Relief

Anxiety Relief

Stimulating the cardiovascular system can aid in relaxation and relieve anxiety.

  • Curl your toes and find the slight bend underneath the ball of the foot.
  • Place your thumb on the slight bend or depression while holding the top of your foot with your opposite hand.
  • Massage that acupressure point firmly, but not painfully, in a circular motion.

Lower Back Pain Relief

Some people find relief for their lower back pain from reflexology rather than a back massage. The arch on your foot generally represents the spine. You should concentrate on that part.

  • Use some oil to lubricate the pressure points in the arches of your foot.
  • Use your thumb to apply pressure and move it from the heel to the toes in short strokes.
Lower Back Pain Relief
Full-Body Reset

Full-Body Reset

The full-body reset technique will require a golf or tennis ball to apply pressure. It does not focus on a particular area in the foot. You will need to identify the area in your foot with tightness and release it. This technique is a form of myofascial release therapy.

  • Sit comfortably on a chair.
  • Roll your foot on the golf or tennis ball until you find the right parts.
  • Press your foot down to the ball to apply pressure until you feel it soften.
  • Hold the pressure for fifteen to thirty minutes and repeat as needed.

Final Thoughts

Pranamat massage mat
Various studies have proved foot reflexology points provide multiple health benefits. Although some benefits are not yet backed up by science, reflexology is still one of the safest, non-invasive alternative therapies. Some may experience mild side effects such as soreness on the feet or lightheadedness.

It is vital to talk to your physician before starting reflexology if you have other health conditions such as:

  • Circulatory issues in the feet
  • Heart problems
  • Gout
  • Blood clots or inflammation in the leg
  • Thyroid problems
  • Epilepsy

Frequently Asked Questions

Foot reflexology is an ancient Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries. The feet are believed to have different pressure points that correspond to particular parts of the body. Reflexology involves the application of pressure to these points to achieve health benefits.

Reflexology performed on foot pressure points can help manage stress and provide relaxation, relieve pain, aid in digestion, eyestrain, improve sleep, etc. The benefits can be due to acupressure's ability to increase the production or release of hormones such as cortisol, endorphins, and serotonin.

The body has eight hundred pressure points across its fourteen meridians. However, there is no exact number of pressure points in the feet, and every foot reflexology map may have some differences. The points and the organs they represent are the same.