What Is Foot Zoning? What You Need to Know About Reflexology

Person giving a foot zoning on another person

Health problems can have a major effect on a person's quality of life. If you have chronic pain, or some other condition that's making things difficult, you might find that unconventional solutions are often the best ones. That includes reflexology and foot zoning, which might prompt you to ask the question, what is foot zoning?

​What Is Foot Zoning?

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If you've never heard of foot zoning, it's only natural to ask the question, what is foot zoning?

It's a type of therapy that people have been practicing for thousands of years. Foot zone therapy is a holistic approach that sees the body as a whole with connected parts; the zones of the foot are connected to other organs and areas of the body.

​What Is Foot Zoning: A brief history

Foot zoning has actually been with humankind for as long as anyone can track. There's evidence going back thousands of years that people used the feet for healing purposes that applied all over the body. Evidence shows that people did this in civilizations all around the world, including Egypt, India, China, and more.

However, it was only in the 20th century that foot zoning came into its own. Three doctors published information relating to the practice and its principles.

Dr. William Fitzgerald, who was an ear, nose, and throat specialist, discovered 10 areas of the human body and how they related to the hands and feet.

He claimed that if a practitioner applied just the right amount of pressure in certain locations, they could relieve pain in other areas of the body. In 1916, Dr. Browers published the findings of Dr. Fitzgerald and officially named the areas of the body "zones."

Then, Dr. Charles Ersdal claimed to experience a cure for his paralysis via reflexology. He then spent more than 26 years researching foot zoning. He's the one who is credited with making extensive charts of the foot zones and corresponding trigger points.

Dr. Ersdal also created basic standardized methods that practitioners use today. In this era of modern medicine, foot zoning has developed into a well-known alternative form of therapy.

​What Is Foot Zoning: How it works

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Foot zone therapy involves precise and directed pressure to different parts of the feet, which practitioners refer to as "zones."

The zone practitioner starts by simply observing your foot; then, he or she would analyze textures, tender areas, and discolorations.

When they're touching your foot and happen to trigger a signal point within a particular zone, a message is said to travel to the tissue or organ connected to that zone of the foot. Practitioners say it goes through a reflex arc to the spinal cord and ultimately to the brain.

The person should experience discomfort in areas that need healing.

Foot zone therapy is supposed to stimulate all the organs of the body and is meant to renew all cell systems with each treatment. It's important that you make sure that your zone therapy is administered by a certified zone therapist.

How you feel, and your body's capabilities are very important. The practice works with the innate intelligence of your body, and a good practitioner will never force you to do more than your body can handle.

Your body will tell you when you need a session.

Getting into it

Person giving a foot zoning on another person

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The truth is that one part of the answer to the question, "What is foot zoning?" is that it's a complex discipline. Just as is the case with any expert you'd see, there's much more to it than meets the eye.

In order to achieve all the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of foot zoning, you'll want to go to an expert.

Typically, a foot zoning session will last for 45 to 60 minutes. Most people will need multiple sessions over the course of two months in order to establish restorative processes in the body and detoxify the systems.

After this two-month period, you and your practitioner can determine a schedule that works for you and your health issues.


Woman massaging her foot

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Reflexology and foot zoning are very closely related. However, reflexology tends to focus on one system of the body that might be suffering, while foot zoning focuses on multiple zones per session and involves the entire body.

Foot zoning involves treating the body in its entirety, meaning that practitioners generally frown upon partial zone treatments.

Reflexology does involve many of the same concepts as foot zoning. It involves the application of the appropriate pressure to specific areas of the feet. These are meant to correspond to different organs and systems of the body.

Reflexologists use foot maps to guide what they do and how they heal. The left foot is supposed to correspond to organs on the left side of the body, and the right foot is supposed to correspond to organs on the right side.

Reflexology doesn't use points all over the body but focuses on the feet, ears, and hands. Most of the work they do involves the feet.

Because reflexology and foot zoning are based on the idea that the entire body is connected, and points on the feet are strongly linked to other parts of the body, those who employ these practices say they indirectly affect the rest of the body as well.

Things You Should Know About Foot Zoning

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There are many things worth knowing about this practice, in addition to the answer to the question: What is foot zoning?

The good stuff

There are a few things you should know when you ask the question:

What is foot zoning? In addition to actually knowing what it is, it helps to know about the actual benefits that it might create.

Some of these benefits may include the following:

  • Stronger immune system response
  • More seamless digestive processes
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased uptake of oxygen
  • More balanced hormones
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Higher energy levels
  • Pain relief and quicker recovery from injuries
  • Revitalized nervous system
  • Release of toxins
  • Peaceful and relaxed feelings and better overall sense of well-being

As you can see, there are quite a few physical and mental benefits that can come with foot zone therapy. Of course, we have to include these benefits in any comprehensive answer to the question: What is foot zoning?

How to prepare for a session

There are a few things that you should know about actual foot zoning sessions, in addition to a simple answer to the question: What is foot zoning?

First, you should do the appropriate legwork to find a good foot zone practitioner. That might include asking around for recommendations.

A good foot zone therapist has a strong understanding of foot zones so that you can receive the maximum benefits from sessions with him or her.

You need to make sure that you're working with the most qualified person possible, just as you would do if you're looking for a doctor.

Before your session, make sure that you hydrate your system well. Your energy systems work through a communication system that depends pretty heavily on water. You should also make sure that you eat something healthy since your body will need energy to heal.

Foot Zones

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In order to get an actual picture of how foot zoning works, you might want to know a little bit more about the actual foot zones.

Longitudinal zones

There are 10 equal vertical, or longitudinal, zones running through your body, from the top of your head to the bottom of your toes.

If you look at the soles of your feet, each of your toes is going to be a part of one particular zone. However, each of your big toes can be divided longitudinally into the five zones that represent that side of the body as well.

Part of foot zone theory is that anything wrong with any part of a zone is going to affect the entire zone. Practitioners see this throughout the length of the body.

Sensitivity, tenderness, or pain in a specific spot on the foot may tell you that there's something wrong in some other part of the zone.

Lateral zones

However, more recent discoveries have shown that it's really not that simple. Some experiments showed that stimulation of the toes didn't always serve the intended purpose.

In order to treat certain organs, practitioners needed to stimulate parts of the foot along the entire soles; this gave rise to the concept of horizontal, or lateral, zones.

As you've probably guessed, lateral zones divide the foot horizontally, with lines perpendicular to those of the longitudinal zones. Basically, practitioners project an image of the body onto the foot. The foot is then divided using three lines: the shoulder line, the diaphragm line, and the pelvic line.


If you look at your foot from the bottom, vertically, you can map it out. The shoulder line is right below the toes, separating the toes from the balls of the feet, or the soles of the forefoot.

The diaphragm line is right below the balls of the feet, and the pelvic line is right above the heels of your feet.

Corresponding trigger points

The area above the shoulder line, which includes your toes, corresponds to trigger points in your head and neck. Between the shoulder line and diaphragm line, or the balls of your feet, correspond to these points in your chest and arms.

The area between your diaphragm line and pelvic line correspond to trigger points in the abdomen and legs. The heels of your feet correspond to points in your lower abdomen.

If you want to go into more complex foot zoning and reflexology, practitioners work with other zones and lines as well, which correspond to different vertebrae, as well as other organs and trigger points.

However, this is beyond a basic understanding of foot zoning and would probably require some pretty intensive study on your part.

​​What Is Foot Zoning: Don't J​ust Put a Sock on It

Now, you've seen that there's so much worth knowing about foot zoning, beyond the scope of the question: What is foot zoning?

It's truly a complex subject, and it takes a lot for a person to become well-versed. However, it's definitely worth it when they learn, since they can help so many people.

It's truly amazing how the regions of the body are connected.

Many people wouldn't intuitively think that areas of the feet would have that sort of connection with other areas of the body, but many people believe this to be true.

At the very least, it's worth giving a chance; however, it's important to keep in mind that foot zone practitioners aren't doctors and therefore can't prescribe medications, diagnose you, or treat specific diseases.

So what is foot zoning? It's a discipline that may help people with all sorts of ailments, and a well-kept secret that more people should use to their avail. Foot zoning and reflexology may really help to improve a person's quality of life!

What do you think of our answer to the question, what is foot zoning? Share your opinion in the comments section!

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