I notice more and more that people are experiencing varying degrees of pain in the heart reflex area.

Can reflexology answer the question – why?

From the moment it begins beating until the moment it stops, the human heart works tirelessly. In an average lifetime, the heart beats more than two and a half billion times without ever pausing to rest. Like a pumping machine, the heart provides the power needed for life.

This life-sustaining power has, throughout time, caused an air of mystery to surround the heart. Modern technology has removed some of the mystery, but there is still an air of fascination and curiosity.

Your heart is about the size of your fist. As the body develops, the heart grows at the same rate as the fist. So an infant’s heart and fist are about the same size at birth.

(And, maybe that’s why there’s such a great connection to the heart through Hand Reflexology!)


The human heart is primarily a shell. There are four cavities, or open spaces, inside the heart that fill with blood.

Two of these cavities are called atria. The other two are called ventricles. The two atria form the curved top of the heart. The ventricles meet at the bottom of the heart to form a pointed base which points toward the left side of your chest. The left ventricle contracts most forcefully, so you can best feel your heart pumping on the left side of your chest – where the strongest part of the heart muscle is.

The left side of the heart houses one atrium and one ventricle. The right side of the heart houses the others. A wall, called the septum, separates the right and left sides of the heart. A valve connects each atrium to the ventricle below it. The mitral valve connects the left atrium with the left ventricle. The tricuspid valve connects the right atrium with the right ventricle.

The top of the heart connects to our largest blood vessels – the aorta, or main artery – which carries nutrient-rich blood away from the heart.

Another important vessel is the pulmonary artery which connects the heart with the lungs (carrying blood away from the heart and to the lungs) as part of the pulmonary circulation system.

The largest vein that carries blood into the heart is the vena cava. There’s a superior vena cava, located near the top of the heart. The inferior vena cava is larger and located beneath the superior.

The heart’s structure makes it an efficient, never-ceasing pump. From the moment of development through the moment of death, the heart pumps. The heart, therefore, has to be strong.

The average heart’s muscle, called cardiac muscle, contracts and relaxes about 70 to 80 times per minute without you ever having to think about it.

As the cardiac muscle contracts it pushes blood through its chambers and out into the vessels.

Nerves connected to the heart regulate the speed with which the muscle contracts.

You’ve probably noticed that when you run, your heart pumps more quickly, and, when you sleep, your heart pumps more slowly.

Considering how much work it has to do, the heart is surprisingly small. The average adult heart is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 11 ounces (310 grams).

Located in the middle of the chest behind the breastbone, between the lungs, the heart rests in a moistened chamber called the pericardial cavity which is surrounded by the ribcage.

The diaphragm, a tough layer of muscle, lies below. As a result, the heart is well protected.

Listen to the Lub-Dub

When you go for a checkup, your doctor uses a stethoscope to listen carefully to your heart. A healthy heart makes a lub-dub sound with each beat. This sound comes from the valves shutting on the blood inside the heart.

The first sound (the lub) happens when the mitral and tricuspid valves close. The next sound (the dub) happens when the aortic and pulmonary valves close after the blood has been squeezed out of the heart.

Pretty Cool – It’s My Pulse!

Even though your heart is inside you, there is a cool way to know it’s working from the outside. It’s your pulse. You can find your pulse by lightly pressing on the skin anywhere there’s a large artery running just beneath your skin.

Two good places to find it are

  • on the side of your neck
  • The inside of your wrist, just below the thumb.

Plus, we have 2 pulse points on the feet. One is on the dorsum, close to the crease of the ankle and the other is behind the medial malleolus (your ankle bone).

You’ll know that you’ve found your pulse when you can feel a small beat under your skin.

Each beat is caused by the contraction (squeezing) of your heart. If you want to find out what your heart rate is, use a watch with a second hand and count how many beats you feel in 1 minute. When you are resting, you will probably feel between 70 and 100 beats per minute.


  • Your heart will beat an average of 100,000 times per day. In that time, it pumps more than 4,300 gallons of blood throughout your entire body.
  • A human heart is about the size of your fist
  • “Athlete’s heart” is a common term for an enlarged heart associated with repeated strenuous exercise. Athlete’s heart will beat as few as 40 times per minute. The average number of beats per minute in a non “athlete’s heart” is 70 beats.
  • Menopause increases a woman’s risk for heart disease.

What about Heart disease?

There are many types of heart disease. About 25% of all Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease.

The major types of heart disease are atherosclerosis, coronary, rheumatic, congenital, myocarditis, angina and arrhythmia.

Heart disease can arise from congenital defects, infection, narrowing of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure, or a variety of other disturbances.

What do some people recommend for a healthy heart from heart-healthy diets and “Grandma’s home remedies”

  • Regular exercise is probably the most important thing for a healthy heart.
  • A well balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables and cereals with natural fiber is highly advisable.
  • Daily use of lemon may help prevent heart problems as it avoids the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels.
  • Beet juice is measured the most effective for heart ailments.
  • Parsley is successful remedy that keeps the heart in a healthy condition. Parsley tea can be a healthy beverage.
  • Fresh grapefruit might be very helpful in the treatment of heart disease as it’s thought to tone up the heart.
  • Apples have heart-stimulating properties and fine in heart care. Apple juice and apple jam can be taken for care of heart.
  • Vitamin E is thought of as useful to supporting the oxygenation of the cells.
  • Smoking raises the chances of heart diseases so avoid smoking.
  • Intake of more salt should be avoided.
  • Excess intake of alcohol should be restricted for heart care.

What can Reflexology do?

Before you even think of anything else, if you have a heart disease or you think you might – go and see your doctor.

Reflexology is never a substitute for medical treatment.

Also, if you are not sure if reflexology will be helpful for someone who has a heart disease, you must first check with their medical professional.

Now, the reflex to the heart is found on the head of the first metatarsal, bilaterally. (The reflex area also includes the base of the proximal phalanx of the hallux and the metacarpalphalangeal joint – the MPJ.)

The reflexes to the lungs sit next to the heart on the heads of metatarsals 2-4. The heart and lungs are often grouped together because they work together to get oxygen, the fuel of the cells, into the blood.

And, pain is sometimes experienced in this area on the foot. Does that mean there are problems in the organs?

No… not at all. We’re not in the business of diagnosing and it’s dangerous to assume what you don’t really know. (That’s true in life as well!)

When my client experiences pain in a particular reflex area, yes, I am curious. But I know the body operates on many levels and that things are going on simultaneously on the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual levels.

Even though 1 out of every 4 people have a heart disease, there are many more who have experienced a “heart ache” or whose “heart goes out to everyone”.

Regardless of the “cause”, I do what reflexologists do. I detail the area and I stay within the client’s pain threshold.

If you’re providing the type of reflexology that’s most helpful to stress relief (western), it’s very important to create a session that is soothing and will be relaxing by inducing the parasympathic nervous system response.

Be firm, yet gentle with that heart reflex. Our hearts are heroic and hard working organs and they’re due the utmost respect – even on the distant reflex area.

But what if there’s a corn or a bunion on that reflex area?

Reflexology is not in the business of addressing foot pathologies either, that’s best left to others whose job it is.

Having said that, my experience based on what clients report (as a byproduct of the reflexology even though), I’m not treating the foot, many aches and pains dissipate or disappear completely.

Do their “heartaches” disappear too?

I can’t speak for them, but clients do report comfort. And, I’m sure that the presence of a compassionate person, whose main goal is to “listen to the feet” and to hold the space for healing to occurs, can have a profound impact on the body, mind, spirit.

Be kind and patient with the heart and nurture your own, it is working tirelessly on your behalf.

I invite you to try this – bring your hand to your heart right now and tell it how much you love it. If that’s seems too silly or hard to do – ask yourself why.

Is reflexology good for the heart? Yes, and if you check with a physician in cases of advanced or debilitating illness and they give you approval to work, absolutely.

Healing occurs on many levels and reflexology can be a gift to all.