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Reflexology Restrictions


Contra-indications to Reflexology


Working the pituitary gland can help bring fever down

Infectious illness

It is sensible to avoid treating people during the infectious stage, to avoid risk of cross-infection

Foot infections and damaged areas on the feet

Some conditions such as verrucas, small cuts should be covered with a waterproof dressing and direct touch should be avoided.

With severe conditions such as bad varicose veins or open sores treatment on the hands is more appropriate


With the doctors consent reflexology can help in the run up to an operation; it can bring increased resilience during the operation, and can aid in post-operative recovery. Post-operative treatment should be gentle at first

After a meal

A light meal does not usually cause problems, but it is advisable for both client and practitioner to avoid a heavy meal before treatment


It is wise to avoid treatment during the first three months, as a spontaneous miscarriage may involve the practitioner through no fault of their own. Great care is necessary with known unstable pregnancies, either giving a light relaxation treatment, declining to treat, or requesting doctor’s approval for treatment. Otherwise reflexology is beneficial

Drugs and alcohol

This is difficult as the therapy is blocked from doing it’s job properly. A very light treatment should be given so as not to overload the body

Venous or lymphatic inflammation, deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis

Many reflexologists will avoid treating these conditions. Others will treat them with great care and with appropriate medical liaison.

Atrophy or gangrene of the legs or feet

Reflexology can be beneficial for atrophy, but gangrene should not be treated, unless hand reflexology is given


Treatment is very helpful

Heart conditions

Treatment can be beneficial, with doctor’s agreement


Very light careful treatment


Ulcers and ovaries should be touched only briefly and lightly when a client is menstruating, avoid causing flooding


Even tiny babies can benefit providing a feather-light touch is used, and the treatment lasts only a few minutes. Touch and duration should be adjusted according to the age of the child.


Specialised training or experience is desirable if treating severe psychological disorders, and this should only be undertaken with medical supervision


There is no evidence whether or not reflexology can encourage a cancer to spread, but most practitioners feel that this is unlikely. Treatment can be valuable at all stages of the illness, to help reduce pain, counteract the side-effects of drug and radiation therapy, and increase general reilience. Reflexology can be particularly helpful in the terminal stages of the illness.

Unstable blood pressure

Reflexology is very balancing and the condition responds well. Regular monitoring by a doctor is advisable

Internal bleeding

Treatment is contra-indicated until the problem is diagnosed and brought under control by a medical practitioner

Rare or unusual conditions without the consent of the medical practitioner

Many practitioners experience clients who are unwilling to tell their doctor they are receiving reflexology. One solution is to ask them to sign a disclaimer form saying that they had been advised to notify their doctor that they are receiving reflexology

Acute undiagnosed pain

The client should be referred to their medical practitioner immediately


Treatment is beneficial, but care must be taken when handling the feet, the client should be closely monitored by their doctor as a change in medication levels may be necessary

Elderly patients

Benefit tremendously from short light treatments


Can be beneficial, but treatments should be short and light so as not to overload the system. Most reflexologists would not use gloves unless there was broken skin


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