Thai Reflexology: Discover Its Origins and Healing Powers

by Anna Bennington on September 13, 2017

At Hippie Pants we are always working to educate and promote every aspect of Thailand, beyond just the clothes that we sell. Thailand is a major destination for those seeking alternative healing and health benefits, with Thai massage having quickly become one of the most popular and influential massage techniques in the world. The tradition is over 2,500 years old, and has become a very visible part of Thailand’s culture and image. The Thai Ministry of Health even oversees and regulates the ancient practice so that it is held to the same standard across the country, and assuring people continue to flock to Thailand to be educated by experienced practitioners. Body massage techniques, however, are only one aspect of this amazing therapy. Thai foot reflexology is a centuries old practice that focuses on the feet to heal the entire body. For those who don't know much about reflexology it can be an entirely new way to find comfort and healing.

feet recieving thai reflexology massage

Thai foot reflexology was created over the centuries as Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Japanese techniques gradually influenced its development, and its exact origins are unclear. By the time Buddhism arrived in Thailand, massage was already an important pillar of local medicine. The temples were places of education, where medicine and massage techniques were taught to both monks and outsiders. Becoming an expert took years of study and practice.

Reflexology focuses on the feet as a channel for healing the entire body. The basic principle of reflexology is that the feet are a map of the entire body, and by relaxing specific parts of the feet other parts of the body can be healed. According to acupuncture theorists the feet have 7,200 sensory nerve endings, and each of these nerve endings can communicate with different organs. Specific areas of the feet, called reflex areas, can be stimulated in order to heal corresponding internal organs.

foot reflexology reflex area illustration

The main logic behind reflexology is that by stimulating these nerve endings the body can find balance. The therapist uses their hands and fingers as well as a small wooden implement. It isn’t always the most comfortable experience, but getting the body in tune is the most important thing! Recipients are often in awe of how much more relaxed and calm they feel afterward.

Traditional Thai massage and foot reflexology make for a brilliant combination, targeting the entire body holistically. The massage balances the mind and external body while reflexology stimulates the internal organs, producing an incredibly deep and unique sense of relaxation and well-being.

thai foot reflexologist using stick to target reflex area

Beyond relaxation and balance, reflexology also helps with blood circulation, as well as mental alertness. It disperses the built up calcium and uric acid crystals in the body. It can also help with a variety of conditions such as stress, chronic pain, allergies, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, and digestive and gastrointestinal problems.

The most traditional place in Thailand to learn foot reflexology is Wat Pho in Bangkok, home to the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School. If you’re visiting, don’t forget to try both types of massage (traditional and reflexology) and share your experience with us!

If you found this post interesting be sure to like our Facebook page as well as our Instagram for more posts about Thai travel, tradition, and culture!


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