Reflexology, also called zone therapy, is a form of bodywork that uses acupressure on specific areas of the body that are associated with certain organs and systems. Like street signs on a map, these zones, or reflex points, are key routes for the practitioner to navigate to produce changes in the body. To find the gallbladder zone, you just need to put your right foot forward.
Get to Know Your Gallbladder
This pear-shaped organ, located on your right side, assists the lymphatic system in flushing toxins from your body. It also has an intimate relationship with your liver. In fact, according to traditional Chinese medicine, the gallbladder is the yang (masculine energy) to your liver’s yin (feminine energy), with the first linked to digestion and nutrient absorption and the latter regulation of essential fluids, like blood. The gallbladder is also associated with creativity and zest for life. So, with an imbalance in this organ, you're likely to suffer poor digestion as well as a lack of passion. Working the gallbladder zone can help restore balance by increasing circulation and clearing blockages in the body’s energy channels, or meridians.
Prepare Your Feet
Although it’s not necessary, washing your feet before you begin will help you relax. When ready, stretch out your legs and feet. Gallbladder 41 (GB-41) is located by drawing a line with your finger from the base of the fourth toe of your right foot up along the tarsal bones to the midway point on the top of the foot. From here, trace another line back to the base of your “pinky” toe. The intersection of these two lines forms a “V” shape. Mark the point of intersection at the middle of your foot with a finger.
Finger the Dip
Press down slightly with your finger just above the point of intersection and feel between the bones for a small depression. This is GB 41, the reflex point or zone for the gallbladder. Don’t worry if you can’t find the depression. As long as you’ve located the spot just above intersection, you’re in the zone. The gallbladder meridian, or energy channel, is actually located throughout this area, as well as up the side of the head and over the forehead.
Apply Gentle Pressure
The Chinese name for the gallbladder reflex zone is Zu Lin Qi, which translates to “foot overlooking tears.” This is because this point is quite sensitive, and pushing down too hard or fast might literally bring you to tears. Instead, press gently but firmly with your thumb on the spot for 30 to 60 seconds. Release and repeat a few more times, if you can do so comfortably, about three or four times a week for best results. As an added bonus, the proximity of the gallbladder and liver meridians in the foot means that applying pressure on GB 41 will also enhance Qi, the life energy force, and counter poor circulation and chronic headaches, if you get them.
Karyn is a seasoned herbalist, book author, columnist and freelance writer who specializes in holistic living and natural health. She has written for numerous magazines, including Natural Living Today, Real Woman, The Herb Quarterly, Your Health, American Fitness, Mother Earth News, Better Nutrition and Natural Pharmacy, and her books are published in seven languages. Karyn also blogs for Mother Earth Living.