I’m often asked this question in class, “which foot is it best to start a reflexology session on?” I love this question because it means that the student is thinking about a strategy.
I have my preference and I’m sure that you have yours. But why? Is it better to start on the left foot or start on the right?
Right away, I can tell you that the reflexologists who work both feet alternately do not have this dilemma. They do a bit of work on one foot and then they quickly move to the next, and back and forth they go. They may still have a plan for where to begin, but it won’t hold the same import as those of us who work the first foot entirely before going on to the next.
Did I hear an audible gasp? As a profession, reflexologists tend to be attached to their reflexology protocols. To many, the way they learned is the only way it’s done. Okay, if it “ain’t broke”, don’t fix it.
It would be easy to say that I start on one foot because that’s how I was taught. And, that it’s worked for me and countless others. Thousands and thousands in fact because my instructor taught for many years, I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years and many of my teacher trainees are now teaching my method.
But really, I think that the best explanation for choosing the starter foot is, preference.
Let’s look at the options – there are only two.
Starting with the right foot (as many do), since most of us are “righties” (meaning right-handed), it’s this side of the body that often holds the most tension. So, why not start of the side that may need the most attention? Good plan.
In Indian and Asian healing practices, the right-side of the body represents the yang energies, the masculine, the outward reaching, the upward moving.
And, the left side of the body represents the denser yin energy, the feminine, the inward and downward moving.
Now, I know I might be comparing apples and oranges here because these concepts are found in the eastern philosophies of both Ayurvedic and Oriental healing modalities and are not inherent in reflexology.
But, I’ve studied both Ayurveda (via Polarity Therapy) and Oriental Medicine (via Acupressure and Shiatsu) and they have definitely influenced my practice. So, when giving a reflexology session, I usually do start with the left foot, the “inward moving” or “receiving” side.
Do I always start on the left? No, not always. There are clients who have so much going on on the right side of their body that I will begin the session on the corresponding foot because I feel that the work is needed there the most.
The beauty of reflexology is – it’s not brain surgery. The body gets what the body needs. Unlike Ayurveda and Oriental medicine, where direction, and calculations rule most everything, in reflexology there is no absolute right or wrong direction, no right or wrong foot, no right or wrong protocol.
I’m not saying that how you work doesn’t ever matter. I’m saying that changing the order won’t hurt, negate or compromise to the point of negligence, the reflexology session. The one thing that I’ve learned through studying thousands of hours of different bodywork techniques is that reflexology is uniquely different. It simply and exquisitely taps into the body’s inherent wisdom so that the body can use the support it receives from reflexology to heal itself naturally.
My best advice is to say: follow your instincts. The body will get from reflexology what the body needs. I trust that above all else because that’s what I’ve observed over and over again with countless clients, students and even myself.
So pick a foot and get started.