To the unfamiliar, reflexology might sound like nonsense. Relieving ailments in the lungs or heart just by pressing on a certain spot on your foot? It's easy to be skeptical. But reflexology is an ancient practice that many people swear is effective, and it's unlikely to do any harm. Reflexology may even help ease symptoms related to the kidneys. If not, you'll get a nice DIY hand or foot massage out of it.
Making Reflexology Work for You
Reflexology practitioners say that specific points on the hands and feet correspond to other parts of the body, and that putting pressure on those points relieves health problems in the corresponding organs. Targeting the kidney pressure points may help ease urinary issues, encourage kidney stones to pass and clear toxins out of the blood – at least according to reflexology theory.
Don't attempt reflexology at home if you're pregnant, as it may trigger contractions in some women, and don't use it as a substitute for seeking medical treatment. The practice may or may not relieve some kidney issues, but it's not a substitute for a doctor's expertise.
Finding the Kidney Zone: Feet
According to reflexologists, the kidney zone is nearly smack dab in the middle of the foot – and, rather conveniently, it's shaped like a kidney bean. But you don't need to know the exact outline of the kidney zone in order to effectively perform reflexology on the foot. It's in the same location on both feet.
To locate the area, first get into a position that allows you to comfortably view the bottom of the foot. Trace one finger down the underside of the middle toe and down to the center of the foot. Use another finger to find the center of the arch of the foot, then draw that finger across the foot. Where the two fingers meet is the kidney zone. It's small, only about the size of the top half of the thumb.
Finding the Kidney Zone: Hands
Once you've located the kidney reflexology zone on the feet, finding it on the hands should be a snap – literally. Bring the thumb and middle finger together as if you were going to snap them. Find the crease where the bent thumb meets the palm. The kidney zone is located there, about an inch above the wrist on the fleshy base of the thumb.
Manipulating the Kidney Zones
The reflex points on the left hand and foot correspond to the left side of the body, and vice versa. If only one kidney is affected by an ailment, focus on the reflex points just on that side of the body. Otherwise, split your attention between both sides.
Practice reflexology at set times each day or whenever symptoms related to the kidney issue flare up. A trained reflexologist uses specific movements to address different issues. At home, don't worry about being so precise. Simply use a thumb to press into and rub across the kidney zones on the feet and hands, repeating the movement for a few minutes at a time. Use pressure that's firm but not painful.
Kathryn Walsh has been writing about health, wellness and beauty for nearly 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including USAToday.com, Mamapedia and Livestrong.com.