Using Reflexology To Treat A Client With Acute Headaches
November 18, 2020

Thai Foot Reflexology Case Study

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist for fifteen years and have studied a variety of bodywork modalities. Thai Foot Reflexology is considered a bodily energy therapy in which acupressure is applied to certain points on the foot to stimulate targeted healing. Reflexology can help alleviate multiple ailments, including chronic tension, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, among other conditions.

In the traditional Thai medicine philosophy, there are three key essences of life: mind, body, and energy.  It is the energy which holds the mind and body together.  Like the Chinese concept of chi (or qi), or the Indian concept of prana, the Thai foot massage is based on century old, carefully mapped sen lines that are like roads delivering energy throughout the body.  Problems can arise in the mind and body when there is imbalance in the sen flow (1).

The soles of the feet represent the end of the road for 7,200 sen lines that lead back to all parts of the body.  There are zones of the foot that correspond with organs and systems of the body.  Practitioners use a foot reflexology map during a Thai foot reflexology massage to balance key sen lines that travel to targeted body areas.

Reflexology map

Client Story and Treatment

Recently, a healthy 45-year old female client came in for an appointment, complaining about a nagging headache radiating from her forehead and temporal area.  She did not want her head touched because of a recent face lift procedure.  I suggested she try a foot reflexology massage, as it can greatly help treat headaches.

I had her lay face up comfortably in a quiet peaceful setting.  Likewise, I asked her to calm her breathing as I set the intention of the session to be helpful in reducing her headache. I then washed her feet with a cloth soaked in warm peppermint infused water.  While I would be working on her lower legs, ankles, and feet, there would also be specific focal areas to help relieve her headache.

Focal points for the headache included:

  1.     The joining area in the webbing between the big toe and the second toe
  2.     The joining area in the webbing between the pinky toe and the fourth toe
  3.     The outside area and tips of the pinky toe
  4.     The tips of each big toe

The first area of focus, the webbing between the big and second toes, was aimed at reducing general headache pain.  The second and third locations, around the pinky toe, were for getting at temporal issues.  The fourth focal area, the tips of the big toes, encouraged the calming of the nerve path back to the frontal (forehead) area.

All ten toe tips were thoroughly worked, as they related back to areas of the head.  Working the medial toes (the two big toes) helped sen flow to medial head locations like nose and third eye.  Similarly, improving flow in the lateral toes (two pinky toes) helped lateral head locations like ears and temples (2).  The toe tips corresponded with upper body areas, while the heels related to the lower body areas.


Immediately following the reflexology session, my client noticed a significant reduction in her headaches, describing the pain as very faint.  In addition, she also felt relaxed. 

I suggested she gently massage the tips of her feet, especially in key areas, for 5-10 minutes a day over the next few days.  I followed up with her three days after the treatment and she said all signs of her headache went away!  😊

Kathy Sadowski

MS, RA (Registered Aromatherapist), LMT


  1.     Salguero, C.P. (2007). Thai Massage Workbook.  Basic and Advanced Courses.  Findhorn Press. Scotland, UK.
  2.     Dougans, I. (1996).  The Complete Illustrated Guide to Reflexology.  Therapeutic Foot Massage for Health and Wellbeing. Barnes & Noble Books.  New York.

1 reply on “Using Reflexology To Treat A Client With Acute Headaches”

relative says:

Awesome aгticle.

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