The Yin and Yang of Chinese Reflexology – How Massaging Your Feet Can Improve Your Health

Here’s how pressing on your feet can heal your body and improve your health and vitality.

When I first heard about the ancient healing art of Chinese Reflexology, I was struggling with my health for a year, facing one weird ailment after another.

I worked for a web agency that specialized in developing websites for large corporations. My particular role was to meet with clients to identify their business requirements and then create a detailed “blueprint” of how a visitor would interact with the website.

The websites I designed were complex systems for online processes like flight reservations, bank transactions, and ecommerce. Working on such high caliber projects involved multiple stakeholders who couldn’t agree on what they wanted, so I also had to sooth egos and lead the group to consensus.

Once the requirements and specifications were nailed down, I then worked closely with a large team of designers, developers and quality assurance testers throughout the entire development process to ensure that the website blueprint was executed flawlessly.

I knew every detail of the website from what would happen when a user switched from English to French, to what happened if someone entered an invalid postal code. I pondered things such as: If the user is signed in to their frequent flyer account, but doesn’t have enough points to make a purchase, when and where should the error message be displayed?

My job required keeping thousands of minute details in my head, and working with groups that often had conflicting goals. The web agency competed for contracts based on low prices and impossible timelines, which made my job even more difficult.

However, because I was so good at it, I was always assigned the most challenging clients, projects with the tightest timelines, and websites with the greatest complexities.

Needless to say, I was stressed out, overworked and burnt out.

Did I mention I hated my job too? It all seemed so pointless and meaningless. I certainly wasn’t making the world a better place by deciding where the “Continue” button should be displayed on a webpage.

It only took a few years before this took a toll on my health.

And that’s when my boyfriend (now my husband) suggested I see his Chinese Reflexologist. After he made this suggestion, the first thing I said to him was:

“Reflexology? Isn’t that where they rub your feet? How is that going to help me?”

Back then, I didn’t believe that Chinese Reflexology could help me. Fortunately, despite my incredulousness, I went to see his Chinese Reflexologist. The downward health spiral stopped, my health improved, then flourished, and the rest is history :).

If you’re wondering how rubbing your feet can turn your health around, you’re not alone.

I’ve had many readers and students tell me they were also initially skeptical. But then they tried it, saw results, and were inspired to learn more.

So I’m going to explain how Chinese Reflexology works because you may encounter a sceptic who was like me, struggling with significant health issues. If they understand how this ancient healing art works, it might inspire them to give Chinese Reflexology a try. Maybe that person is you.

It all begins with yin and yang…

Chinese Reflexology is based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. At the very heart of this is the concept of yin and yang.

These two humble elements are the cornerstone of Chinese Medicine theory and Chinese philosophy because everything on heaven and earth can be categorized as either yin or yang.

If you look at a yin yang symbol, you’ll see that it’s made up of two elements that look like a couple of fish swimming around in a circle.

Yin is the black “fish” with the white dot. It represents female, cold, darkness, earth and substance. Yang is the white symbol with the black dot in it. Yang represents male, heat, light, heaven and action.

The way these elements change as you move around the circle has profound meaning. Where one begins, the other ends. As yin waxes, yang is waning. As yang waxes, yin is waning. The two elements are always in a state of dynamic balance.

You’ll also notice that nothing is exclusively yin or exclusively yang because there’s a little dot of each in each other. Life is like that too. Nothing is all good or all bad. Everything is not either black or white. If you look closely, you will see that it’s not so simple to divide one view as right or the other wrong. Life is many shades between black and white.

The relationship between yin and yang is also relative. What may be classified as yin in one context, would be classified as yang when considered in another context. For example, Wonder Woman would be yin when compared to Superman, who is yang.

On the other hand, if you were to compare Superman to The Hulk, his Clark Kent sensitivity would certainly classify him as yin when compared to the yang of The Hulk.

Finally, a very important idea about yin and yang is that they can’t exist without the other. They’re mutually dependent on each other. When you take away one element, the whole yin yang symbol collapses and loses its balance and harmony.

Yin and Yang Co-Exist in Your Body

Your body is comprised of yin and yang elements. At a high overview level, yin encompasses the substances and physical elements in the body, including blood, fluids and structures. On the other hand, yang encompasses the body’s qi (life force energy). It also represents the body’s processes.

The yang element—the qi—helps to direct the flow of the physical elements, the yin. Qi helps move blood through your blood vessels,
 air in and out of your lungs, 
lymph through the lymphatic system, and even food through your digestive tract.

In order for your body to be in balance, both yin and yang must be in balance.

Because yin and yang are mutually dependent on each other, one element influences the other element. If one is out of balance, the other will eventually be out of balance too.

But it works the other way around too.

If you improve one element, you can improve the other. And that’s how healing with energy can help heal the physical body. You work on the qi to work on the physical body.

When you strengthen and balance the yang (energy),
 this helps strengthen and balance the yin (physical).

This is the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to healing. It’s not about laser-focusing on one problem area in the body, or taking a pill to eliminate symptoms without addressing the root imbalance that led to the symptoms.

The TCM approach to healing, vitality and longevity is about bringing the whole body back into balance. This means restoring balance to the body’s yin and yang elements.

Over 2,000 years ago,
 Chinese Medicine practitioners identified 12 primary energy meridians that run throughout 
your body. They also run through your feet.

The body’s energy meridians are like a circulation system for blood. When energy is flowing smoothly and abundantly, then our bodies are in harmony and we experience wellness.

But if the flow of qi is disrupted, this can result in dis-ease because qi helps move the physical substances like blood, air, lymph and food.

One way to better understand this is to think of the meridians like a river. When a river is flowing smoothly, the ecosystem is in balance. If a twig lands into the river, a strong current can easily clear it away.

But if there’s more and more debris falling into the river, or if the current is weak, or there’s not enough water, then the river can’t flush away the debris as easily. Over time, things start to get murky and blocked.

This same principle applies to the body’s energy meridians. When qi is abundant and flowing as it should, your body is in harmony. And when it’s not flowing smoothly, 
that’s when problems at the energy level can shift to the physical level.

Chinese Reflexology works because your feet contain master control points for harmonizing and strengthening the body’s qi.
 Reflexology points on the feet connect to different areas of your body through the energy meridians.

When you massage a point on your foot, 
it stimulates the flow of qi and blood to the corresponding area of 
your body. 
The increase in qi helps to clear energy constrictions and blocks.

And because qi helps move the physical elements in the body, increasing the flow of qi results in an increase in the flow of blood. This brings oxygen to the area, and also helps flush away wastes and toxins.

Over time, if you massage your feet regularly and follow a structured approach for stimulating reflexology points, this harmonizes and strengthens the flow of qi throughout your entire body and its energy meridians. As the energy (yang) gets stronger and more in balance, this strengthens the physical body (yin), which supports the body’s natural healing process.

And that is how Chinese Reflexology can help improve your health and vitality!

If you’re curious to learn more Chinese Reflexology, enrollment is now open for this year’s Sole Mastery program. I teach this six-month online program once a year, and it includes a lot of personal support and guidance from me! Click here to learn more.