Reflexology and Cancer

People often wonder how Reflexology can help those living with cancer.

By: Kymberli Roberts, Reflexology Therapist

For most of us, Reflexology is often thought of as a really great foot massage with relaxing benefits. While that is completely true, Reflexology is more than just a foot massage.

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Based on the principle that reflex points are located on each foot that map to specific areas of the body, Reflexology has the ability to improve circulation, improve function of the related areas of the body, all while calming the mind and easing physical pain. 

That is a very high level definition of what Reflexology does. For those living with cancer, Reflexology can offer many benefits, aside from what is listed above.

Reflexology For That “Rest and Repair” State:

We live in the sympathetic (flight/fright) nervous system state most of our day. Reflexology moves us into the paraympathetic (rest and repair) nervous system state. The benefits to the body and mind while in a Rest and Repair state can not be underestimated nor undervalued. The only time we are able to heal is in the parasympathetic state. Reflexology allows the body and the mind the necessary time to heal, to slow down and to relax. Time stands still during a reflexology treatment.


Chemotherapy for many patients is a reality at some point in the course of cancer treatment. A nourishing reflexology treatment can alleviate side effects such as nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, bone pain and peripheral neuropathy.


No one is ever fully prepared for surgery, especially those with cancer. Reflexology is a relaxing, comforting treatment that reduces anxiety and fear, strengthens the immune system, relaxes and calms the mind, all while preparing the body to be in optimal state for surgery.


For many living with cancer, post-surgery often leaves one with discomfort and pain, surgical swelling, increased stress, and often increased lethargy. The areas of the body affected by the surgery are often extremely sensitive and tender, and many people are uncomfortable with idea of touch in those areas. As Reflexology is performed on the feet, the affected areas by surgery are able to be stimulated by the acupressure of the reflex points on the feet rather than the direct areas of the body. This helps the body heal more quickly from the surgery, increases circulation in the related areas, reduces physical and emotional stress and reduces surgical swelling.

Pain Management:

Whether patients are experiencing pain as a side effect of conventional treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy or due to injuries or surgical procedures, reflexology relaxes the nervous system to a degree where physical pain in the body is released. Patients often feel a sense of relief throughout the body after experiencing a Reflexology treatment.

If you are someone who is living with cancer and is looking for ways to improve your quality of life, consider giving reflexology a try. Reflexology is truly more than just a foot massage.