How to Apply Reflexology to the Hands

Two Parts:Learning the Associated Zones on Your HandsApplying Reflexology Techniques to the Zones of the Hands

Reflexologists believe that there’s a "map" of the human body on our hands. Every part of the body, including your organs, is matched by a corresponding reflex point on your hands. Applying pressure to the reflex points on your hands stimulates nerve impulses that travel to the corresponding body area. These impulses produce a relaxation response. As muscles relax, blood vessels open, increasing circulation, which increases the amount of available oxygen and nutrients that get to cells in that part of the body. Although the scientific evidence for reflexology is very limited, some people have found relief with these techniques. Before trying to perform reflexology, you should learn some of the common techniques and corresponding zones to different parts of the body.

Part 1
Learning the Associated Zones on Your Hands

  1. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 1
    Look at a hand reflexology chart. Though this Part will describe some of the points on the hands that reflexologists associate with different parts of the body, some of the points can be easier to visualize with an actual hand reflexology chart.
  2. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 2
    Apply to the tops of the fingers for the head, brain, and sinuses. From the tip of each finger—including your thumb—to the first joint represents the head, brain, and sinuses.[1][2]
    • The center of the pads of your thumbs specifically represent the pituitary, pineal, and hypothalamus glands located in the center of the brain, which can make them beneficial for insomnia and other sleep issues.[3][4]
  3. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 3
    Apply between the first and second knuckles for your neck. The section of all four fingers and your thumb between your first and second knuckles corresponds to your neck.[5][6] Additionally, the zone for your throat is at the base of your thumbs, aligned with the webbing of your thumb.[7]
  4. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 4
    Apply between the second and third knuckles of each finger for your eyes and ears. Your fingers between the second and third knuckles represent either your eyes or ears depending on the finger. Your index and middle fingers are associated with your eyes, whereas your ring fingers and pinkies are associated with your ears.[8][9]
  5. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 5
    Apply to the upper portion of your palm for your upper chest. The chest, breast, lung, and bronchial areas are located just below the knuckles of the four fingers on the palm sides of both hands.[10][11]
  6. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 6
    Extend a line from your middle finger down the center of your palm. Just below the previous upper chest zone, picture four more zones descending down in line with your middle finger. Each of the four is about the size of a dime, and the fourth ends at the bottom of your palm. In descending order, these zones represent your:[12][13]
    • Solar plexus
    • Adrenal glands
    • Kidneys
    • Intestines
  7. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 7
    Apply to the outside of your palm (toward your thumb). Starting at the base of your thumb (the throat zone described above) and leading down to the bottom of your palm on the side closest to your thumb, you quickly descend through four thin zones. In descending order, these zones correspond to your:[14][15]
    • Thyroid gland
    • Pancreas
    • Bladder
    • Uterus/prostate
    • Note that the outside ridge of this same area represents your spine and spinal column. The spinal column is found along the side of the right and left thumb, reaching down to the wrist with the cervical spine located closest to the thumb, followed by the thoracic, lumbar, and sacral areas.
  8. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 8
    Apply to the inside area of your palms. Imagine a line running down the insides of your palms from your pinkies down to your wrists. There are three more zones here with each about the size of a nickel. The top zone on both hands applies to the arm and shoulder on the respective side of the body, and the bottom of the three zones on each hands corresponds to the respective side’s hip and thigh.[16][17] The middle zone on the left hand applies to the heart and spleen while the middle zone on the right hand represents the liver and gall bladder since these organs themselves are located on particular sides of your body.[18][19]
  9. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 9
    Apply to the wrist. Just beneath your palm on your wrist, you will find three more zones. The lymph system is located in line with your middle finger right where your palm ends and your wrist begins. Right next to this zone (in line with your pinkies), you will find the zones representing the testes/ovaries. Finally, beneath both of these zones in a long thin line, you will find the location corresponding to your sciatic nerve.[20][21]

Part 2
Applying Reflexology Techniques to the Zones of the Hands

  1. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 10
    Locate the correct, corresponding area. Use a reflexology chart or Part One to find the zone that corresponds to the area of your body on which you want to work. Or you can simply work the entire hands, which reflexologists believe helps to promote overall wellness.
    • For instance, if you suffer from a sinus headache, then you would work on your fingers between the fingertips and the first knuckles since this zone represents the head and sinuses. This area may also help relieve symptoms of sinusitis, although no proven evidence exists.[22][23]
    • As another example, if you’re suffering from constipation, you would apply the techniques to the zones corresponding to your intestines, which is at the bottom of the palms straight down from your middle fingers.[24][25]
  2. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 11
    Use thumb-walking techniques. Place your fully extended thumb on the area you want to focus on. Slide the thumb back slowly while flexing the first thumb knuckle upward. Moving slowly and steadily move the thumb knuckle up and down, walking it over the reflex point.[26]
  3. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 12
    Use a rotating motion. Rest your thumb on the area you wish to manipulate. Maintain a steady touch and rotate your thumb in a circle on the area while slowly increasing pressure.[27]
  4. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 13
    Apply pressure after rotating. After performing a rotating motion, holding your thumb on the reflex point with medium pressure increases relaxation. Hold for a count of three.[28]
  5. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 14
    Integrate the different techniques. If you have chest congestion, for instance, you would isolate the correct zone on each hand (the top of the palm just below the last set of finger knuckles). Then you can use a thumb-walking technique across the zone. Finally, apply the rotating technique to smaller sections of the zone with a hold on the section before moving to the next.
  6. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 15
    Press firmly without causing any pain. As you increase pressure on portions of the hands, you should apply as much pressure as you can without causing yourself (or the person on whom you’re applying reflexology) any pain. The firm pressure will ensure that you trigger the reflex, but the action should never cause pain or discomfort.
  7. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 16
    Stimulate the zones on both hands. Reflexologists believe that it is important to stimulate the corresponding zones on both hands when applying the techniques.[29] For instance, do not work the fingertips (associated with the head) on just your left hand. Instead, work the fingertips on both hands.
    • Note that this isn’t the case for zones that are only represented on one hand—the heart of liver, for example.
  8. Image titled Apply Reflexology to the Hands Step 17
    Relax and drink plenty of water after your session. Much like a regular massage, reflexologists recommend that you drink lots of water after a hand reflexology session to help your body remove the lactic acid that builds up and is released during the session.[30][31] As your body flushes out this lactic acid (the 24 to 48 hours after the session), it is also normal to experience increased urination and bowel movements, as well as sweating and changes to sleep patterns.[32]
    • Lactic acid release is also responsible for the feeling of burning or tingling sensation in muscles that have recently been stimulated (such as by massage).[33]
    • You can also drink a sports drink containing electrolytes to help you hydrate.


  • While a darkened, quiet room is ideal for a session, you can do hand reflexology while sitting on a plane or at your desk at work.
  • When giving a hand reflexology session to a friend, have them sit across a table from you and place a towel underneath their hands and wrists so that their hands will remain relaxed.
  • Reflexologists suggest working the reflex points on both hands so that your body doesn’t get out of balance.
  • If you suffer from arthritis and it is painful for you to use your thumbs and fingers, you can use other objects to help you apply pressure to the reflex points. Although you can purchase reflexology instruments, they are pricey. You can get the same results by using common household items to apply pressure to your reflex points. Try squeezing or rolling a golf ball or any small, round object in your hand, such as a hair roller. If it hurts too much to squeeze, place the object on a flat surface and roll it underneath your hand, pressing down as hard as you comfortably can on the object.


  • Reflexology is a complementary healing modality. Don’t try to diagnose and treat yourself for any serious illness or condition. Get the advice of a licensed medical practitioner in addition to applying reflexology on yourself.
  • Don’t do hand reflexology if you have a hand injury. Instead, use another form of reflexology, such as foot or ear reflexology until your hand is healed.
  • Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as it could cause nerve or musculoskeletal damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Lotion (optional)
  • Reflexology instruments (optional)
  • Hand reflexology chart

Sources and Citations


Show more... (30)

Article Info

Categories: Conditions and Treatments