Avoid Reflexology Negative Reflexology Reactions

As a general rule, reflexology is very safe, and the few reflexology risks that exist are minor in nature. You may want to avoid reflexology if any of the following conditions apply to you:

  • Bone conditions that increase the risk of fractures
  • Edema (swelling) in the hands and feet
  • First trimester pregnancy
  • Hand, foot, ankle or wrist injuries.

People living with arthritis or heart disease should avoid reflexology until they consult with their doctor. In addition, some reflexology practitioners prefer not to stimulate reflex points for the lungs if the patient has a lung infection or problem.

Reflexology for Pregnant Women

Avoid reflexology for pregnant women in the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is highest. Reflexology for pregnant women is used to induce labor as well as relieve pregnancy discomfort, and the same reflex points are used for both types of treatment.

While no hard evidence suggests that reflexology risks include an increased chance of miscarriage, most reflexology practitioners will not treat pregnant women until the pregnancy reaches the thirteenth week, just to be safe.

Reflexology During Cancer Treatment

The American Cancer Society (2008) reports that reflexology appears to relieve cancer symptoms and discomfort associated with cancer treatment. The ACS does note that, under certain conditions, cancer patients should avoid reflexology.

Avoid vigorous foot reflexology using deep pressure during active cancer treatment. In addition, reflexology practitioners should avoid applying pressure to known tumors and any areas where cancer is suspected. People with bone-related cancers should avoid reflexology as pressure on affected bones could cause fractures.

High Expectations and Reflexology Risks

One of the most common reflexology risks is not physical, but mental. People sometimes come to reflexology believing the practice will cure diseases and health problems.

A small percentage of reflexology practitioners actively promote this view, but the vast majority view reflexology as supportive therapy that works in combination with traditional Western medicine. Avoid reflexology practitioners who claim that they can cure cancer or other serious health conditions.


Alternative Heals. (2010). Benefits of reflexology. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.alternateheals.com/relaxation-therapy/benefits-of-reflexology.htm

American Cancer Society. (2008). Reflexology. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/ManualHealingandPhysicalTouch/reflexology

Lagare, D. (n.d.). Reflexology for pregnancy and labor. Retrieved March 6, 2011, from http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/health_wellness/alt_remedies/article/reflexology-pregnancy-labor

Modern Institute of Reflexology. (2003). Reflexology. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from http://www.reflexologyinstitute.com/faq_student1.php#1