Taking Charge of Your Health

Hi, everyone. I’m Ian Harvey, a massage therapist. This is my friend Ashley. Hello. Today I’m going to show you my version of
a reflexology-style massage. I’m going to show you some techniques and
a basic routine. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve taken
any reflexology classes. It was back in school at the Florida School
of Massage, thanks to Karen Ball, and I’ve forgotten a lot since then. I don’t know anything about meridians, I don’t
know anything about what pertains to which organs, etc. I just remember how to do the techniques,
and I’ve been using them ever since. There’s a lot of value in those techniques. They feel very different from Swedish-style
foot massage. You’re able to interact with the foot in a
way that is kind of new and unusual and that allows you to concentrate on this very important
area of the body for up to, say, 15 minutes per foot. So at the end of this video, you won’t be
able to do a reflexology massage, but you will be able to do your version of my version
of a reflexology-style massage. Right now I’m just warming the foot up using
the techniques that I’ve already shown in another video on general foot massage. If you’d like to see that, you can click in
the corner. I’m making sure to come at it from a lot of
angles to be comprehensive, to work with the ankles, to work with the arches, to work with
the individual toes. I am using some jojoba oil on here right now,
but when you’re doing any sort of reflexology type massage, you want either minimal or no
oil or lotion. So a good next step here is to use a hot towel. I don’t have a hot towel; I have a regular
towel. I’m just going to show you what I would do
if I had a hot towel, and it goes something like this. Pick the foot up. Cup the heel. Give it a squeeze. Allow the heat to soak in. Bring the towel up away from the sheet so
you don’t get the sheet wet. Fold the towel over, nice squeeze. Draw up, nice squeeze. Keep those toes warm. And then using a part of the drape that you’re
never going to use again and it’s never going to touch the client’s body again because it’s
about to be wet and cold, cover up the foot as you take the towel away. So there’s no point at which the foot is left
being just wet and very soon cold. Now I’ve got a relatively lubrication-free
foot that’s ready for reflexology. The basic technique that everything else is
based on in reflexology is just a compression and then a straightening of the thumb, and
it looks like this. Compress, straighten. Compress, straighten. I’ve heard it called “the inchworm.” What I’d like you to notice is the angle of
my thumb compared to my hand. If you’re going to be doing massage with your
thumbs for more than just a few minutes at a time, you need to be very careful about
how you use them, and reflexology is pretty thumb heavy. There are some other ways of applying your
hand tools that don’t use your thumbs quite so much, but this is how I go about a reflexology
massage, sometimes for a half hour at a time. The important thing when working with this
thumb for a full 15 minutes or maybe a half hour is to think about the angle at which
you’re using it. My thumb is always going to be as close to
my hand as possible. That’s going to be a position of power, one
through which I can deliver a fair amount of strength, and one that’s not going to tax
my intrinsic or extrinsic thumb muscles. Try this first on yourself. You’re going to be keeping your thumb close
to the rest of your hand. Try it on your palm if you like, or on your
own foot, which is even better. You’re going to be compressing and then straightening
that thumb, compressing then straightening. The whole time, I’m going to be keeping a
very conservative angle with this thumb compared to the rest of the hand. It’s never going to be way out here. That could cause some pain. And all of my pressure is going to be delivered
through this angle. Your thumb is going to bend here at this interphalangeal
joint, and then you’re going to apply pressure. Then as you straighten, you kind of maintain
the pressure or let up slightly; and then compress again, straighten, compress again. When you’re doing this, notice that I’m using
the word straighten, not slide. If you’re really concentrating on the slide
portion of this, if you’re really pressing in as you slide upwards, you’re going to start
feeling that right here or along these ligaments right here. This can create some pull under your thumbnail,
and that can be kind of unpleasant after five minutes or ten minutes. So compress, straighten, compress, straighten. If you let up just a little bit while you
straighten your thumb, that’s okay. It’s a bit of an awkward tool as you start,
but as you get experience with it, it’ll just become second nature. I have never experienced pain from using my
thumb this way. I think it’s actually a really nice way of
learning how you can apply power through your thumbs without straining your joints. Let’s do a basic reflexology-style foot massage
routine. It’s going to go like this. We’re going to start at the bottom of the
foot and go up five times, following the lines created by the toes. So this is line one, this is line two, this
is line three, line four, and line five. Then we’re going to create kind of a grid
by going across. Then we’re going to include each toe. We’re going to go around the foot, then we’re
going to include the dorsal surface of the foot, and then finally end in the ankles. As I’m doing this, you’re going to notice
me switching hands a lot, and it’s going to look like this. Just a gentle transition from hand to hand,
always cradling the foot and making sure that it’s never just left to flop around. This is a nice, comforting, cradling experience. It can help to make this new sensation feel
that much more comfortable, because this way of compressing into the foot can feel a little
bit extreme at first. When you first try it on yourself, you might
think, “Wow, that’s awfully direct.” But as you learn the amount of pressure that’s
appropriate for your foot, and then you try it on some friends and see what’s appropriate
for theirs, you’ll find a good pressure level. That plus this comforting touch is going to
make this a very supportive experience. I think you’ll find that working with the
foot in this way has a much different effect than working with it in the normal Swedish
way. Your foot will feel different at the end,
and you will feel different at the end. To begin, start near the bottom of the foot. If it strains your thumb to start too far
down, then don’t start too far down. Follow that metatarsal, then up toward the
base of that phalanx, and then start again. This time we’re thinking that second line,
going up toward digit number two. You can rest your elbows on the table here. If the feet are all the way at the end of
the table, you can rest your elbows on your knees or you can sit up straight. Find what works for you and for your posture. When one thumb gets tired — this is very
important — switch to the other thumb. You can support around the back of the foot
using your fingers. Just don’t press into the back of the foot
with those fingers. Be mindful of how you treat the dorsum of
the foot because it’s very sensitive. This is a complete tangent, but think about
that when you’re doing salt scrubs and sugar scrubs. The dorsum of the foot is very sensitive. Bottom of the foot, go crazy. Just keep that in mind. Anyway, going up that fourth line right now. You’re going to feel a lot of interesting
sensations as you inchworm your way up this foot. You’re going to feel crunches and bumps that
you’ve never felt before in a foot, and that’s just gristle. There’s a reason why people use feet, chicken
feet, pig’s feet, to make stock. It’s because they’re very rich in collagen. Now we’re going to go across, starting at
this wrinkle that forms right about here, so right under these metatarsophalangeal joints. This thumb is a little bit tired, so I’m going
to move to this thumb. I’m trying to keep my arm out of the way,
so I should have my arm up here, but I’m keeping it out of the way. Anyway, crunchy foot stuff. You might hear some teachers tell you that
this is lactic acid that we’re breaking up, that these crunches have something to do with
areas that need more work. But the foot is a responsive piece of your
anatomy. As you walk on it over decades, it changes
to make itself more resilient and to respond to the pressures that you put on it, so it
starts to create things like little tiny bones where there were no bones. It creates extra bits of connective tissue
where there was no connective tissue. In doing so, it creates a very lumpy, bumpy,
weird texture. This is nothing that we need to correct. It’s just how human feet are. With the other thumb, that looks like this. I’m just passing from one side to the other,
resetting my fingers back here as need be just to give me better leverage. Apply your pressure to all of these different
angles. So don’t ignore this topmost part. Don’t ignore the sides. Come all the way across, come all the way
to this most distal portion. Finally, let’s work with the individual toes. Whichever thumb is less tired can work with
these toes. Support the dorsum of the toe using your fingers,
and then do kind of a backwards inchworm. We’re not really sliding between. We’re just compress, release, compress, release. With the hallux here, I like to come up at
least three strips because there’s so much of it to work with. Starting from the second digit onward, it
doesn’t really matter. Just make sure to keep a curvature in your
fingers as you work so that their toes don’t get bent backwards during this. That feels funky. Come all the way to that most distal phalanx. By the way, did you know that the singular
of phalanges is phalanx? Because it is. Include all the toes. You can give some extra love to these metatarsophalangeal
joints here if you want to. We’re not doing strict reflexology here, so
you can add your own style. Now that we’ve worked up the foot and across
the foot, we’re going to work around the foot. We’re going to hit these arches, and we’re
going to work a bit more with the calcaneus. Starting just proximal to this metatarsophalangeal
joint, so right here on the side, we’re going to be following this metatarsal, but just
inferior to it, just in front of it. Sink in and do the inchworm. This is a part of the foot that doesn’t receive
a lot of direct attention, but it should. This is a part that is often quite tense. This part can feel really good. Continue around just however you can. I like to switch to a finger here, and instead
of inching, I just go around like this, basically using this to create a little comma. You’re going to hear me use that term again
in just a second. Compress and then go around, and then continue
up the other side of the foot. Try not to squish the foot in from both sides
like this. That could feel a little bit funky. Instead, just support yourself with a broad
hand. Keep this thumb close to your hand, and come
all the way up to the side of that pinky toe. Once I’ve done that, it’s time to work with
the dorsum of the foot. Here we’re going to be using our crooked fingers
like this, mostly just these first two, and we’re going to be going between these metatarsals
instead of following the metatarsals. So dip into that squishy area between the
metatarsals, but don’t feel like you need to strip this area out. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re compressing an area and moving on, compressing
and moving on, compressing and moving on. We’re going to be following imaginary lines
once these squishy parts run out, and then following it up to the ankle. It’s going to look like this. We’re going to apply pressure with the crooked
fingers, swoop downwards, apply pressure, swoop downwards, apply pressure. This is that comma I was talking about. I’ve also heard it described as a semicolon. I think it’s a comma. All the way down to the ankle, up to that
second line. I’m just concentrating on these first two
fingers. The others are just there for support. All the way down to the ankle. Fingers were getting tired, so I’m switching
sides. All the way down to the ankle. From here we’re going to start working more
directly with the ankle. I’m plunging my fingers into this connective
tissue, gristly area around the ankle. This is an area full of tendons, full of ligaments,
full of joint capsules. I’m just doing some deep friction. I’m moving skin over underlying tissues and
moving my fingers over skin. Try this on your own ankles. This may look like it wouldn’t feel great
because I’m not working on muscle right here, but it feels pretty great. To finish out our reflexology routine, we’re
going to be making a circle around the ankle just distal to these malleoli. Starting right here, find a squishy spot,
and then guide the foot, clamp down on these knuckles right here, just proximal to the
toes, and guide the foot through some gentle circles. Find a new squishy spot. It won’t be very squishy because there’s so
much bone here, but again, we’re just distal to that medial malleolus. Find another squishy spot. Continue that with your other hand. You’ll have to imagine this because there’s
no room for the camera over here. Again, I’m making a clamp with my hand there
and taking the foot in a circle as I change its angle, so it’s kind of a wave. It’s just a nice way of mobilizing those tarsals
and metatarsals. All the way around until your thumb is making
contact with the lateral aspect of the Achilles tendon. From here, do some direct work with the Achilles
tendon. Just pinch it between a broad thumb and a
broad finger, and you can still manipulate the foot as you do this. To close this out, I like to do some feel
good stuff. For one, I like to continue with this work
I’ve been doing with the Achilles tendon. I will compress the foot upwards as I work
all the way up, just doing some nice compression up the calf. As you squeeze the calf, the foot is going
to go into plantar flexion. Allow it to, or resist it. Just seesaw the foot as you work with the
calf. Then do some nice wringing of the foot, do
some nice compression. Finish with some more of those squeezes with
both hands. Wrap this foot up because you’re going to
be working on the other foot for a while, and then move on. All right, guys. That’s my fake reflexology routine. Let me know if you have any questions, if
you have any things that you do differently. Consider subscribing, and I will see you next
time. Bye.

100 thoughts on “Massage Tutorial: Reflexology basics, techniques, & routine

  1. رائع بس أريد الترجمة بالعربيه لني احتاج هذا المساج بشده أيام الدوره الشهريه

  2. I tried this in a specialist in Paris , it is really very healthy and relaxing , if you have pain in your body or stressed this the best choice . try you wil see .

  3. Informative- thank you! I had reflexology done on my feet in Hong Kong- I swear I saw the stars, moons on Saturn , galaxies, black holes and all. On top of that- I’m ticklish. Can’t believe this patient is so quiet. ? ??


  5. Me encantan esos masajes se ven tan relajantes. Se los hago a mi hija y le vienen de maravilla. Gracias por la buena información. Bendiciones para todos. ??

  6. Quiero contarle algo importante que descubrí, mi nena le estaba comenzando un ataque de pánico y conenze a hacerle estos masajes y en un lapso de minuto se le quitó el pánico, estoy super feliz de haber descubierto esta maravilla. Gracias por la buena información. Bendiciones para todos. ??

  7. Thank you for this. My grandkids love me to rub their feet and I did a few pressure points on them and they love it. Now I can do more. Great tutorial.

  8. Important to note that that is a reflexology style as he said defiantly not the traditional way. We raise the foot with a bolster it makes it easier to access the foot and takes the strain off plus you can see the foot better. Lot of opinions of wether it works or not but I do think that it's a great way to massage a foot and covers a lot more area in detail than just a regular foot effleurage

  9. Do you have a technique for self massage for metatarsalgia? I can't hardly walk and have been told I need to have the nerves in my feet cut–which I can't imagine.

  10. Love this! I too have forgotten the one class of Reflexology I had. I do remember the thumb work, which our Instructor called Thumb Walking. I like your version better!

  11. This is completely different from what I was taught. You first break down then build up with the direction of the circular motion on each organ.

  12. I'm, at the moment, massaging my feet while watching this video! I'm trying to follow the techniques presented as I can & as I am able!

    My feet are happy, figuratively speaking! Happy feet, literally happy me! My feet are ready to walk millions of steps again!

    Thank you for your videos! It's also a great review for my anatomy!

    Cheers & mabuhay, from the Philippines!

  13. I want to become a massage therapist so badly. I feel a calling. But I can't find an affordable school in Finland.

  14. This is very tiring for the therapist,if you own the business is good but if your only an employee oh hurts from my fingers up to my arns ..1 foot takes time..thanks for sharing this sir.

  15. I wish I could had a massage therapist like that,pls. Where I can contact you guys.. thanks and More powers..

  16. Do you need any foot models in your videos to practice on? I'm sure there would be lots of folks standing in line 🙂 Great video, now move close to my area of town and I think I could use this daily, lol

  17. I am using this massage technique to my partner, its really relaxing ???…… but most of the time I burp throughout the massage session… do you know why?

  18. thanks a lot for this information, and i wanna ask you if you know about ibs irritable bowel syndrome and if you have a treatment pls

  19. thanks, i was verry helpful. i have one question: should I using this on pregnant woman or on people after heart attack?

  20. I give food reflex massage but this gives me Some new ideas! It is always super interesting to find out some new way ‘s to do this job! Thanks for the update

  21. This really a satisfying massage ,one of my best way of releasing my stress …

    Thanks for this video i learn some of your techniques ???

  22. There is NO such thing as Massage Reflexology. It’s either massage or Reflexology. Foot Massage is a wonderful service, but it is NOT Reflexology. Reflexology (not zone therapy) has a much different purpose. While it feels wonderful, it’s intent has escaped those who’ve obviously only had an introduction to the concept. Many of the concepts/holds/techniques are used to respect the reflection of the human body which have not been demonstrated here. Look before you book! Makes sure your Reflexologists is NBCR by an independent national testing board. American Reflexology Certification Board is a sure way to assure your Reflexologist has the ability provide the balance Reflexology intends.

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