Why are many Catholics against reflexology?


Hi all,

I trained to become a reflexologist in the past as I wished to help alleviate the stress my mother was going through. I have had reflexology done in the past and found it to be very effective. Reflexologists believe (and proven) that there are reflexes on the soles of your feet that are connected to every organ of the body. By pressing on these points, one can improve circulation to these organs and promote balance. Reflexology is a complementary therapy with no negative side effects. Why are some Catholics against it? (I understand why reiki or transcendendal meditation is dangerous as one calls on another god, but not reflexology).

We are told to put our faith in God alone for healing - then why do Catholics undergo dangerous operations and take toxin filled drugs, if only God can heal?


You might be confusing Catholics with Jehovah’s Witnesses.


I have never tried reflexology and from what you’re saying it sounds harmless. As long as there’s no big life-explained philosophy behind it.


Do you have a source for “many Catholics” being against reflexology? I don’t know of a single one who is against reflexology conducted from a medical perspective (or acupressure, which is much the same thing).

We would be against any practitioner who introduced elements of “new age” into the reflexology, such as discussions of new age spirituality. This would obviously be something beyond “there are reflexes on the soles of your feet connected to your bodily organs”.


Yes I am a little confused. I am referring to a comment a Catholic made in which I was told to stay away from New Age therapies as only God can heal.


I went to a generational healing mass. A speaker told the crowd to avoid the following - reiki, reflexology, transcendendal meditation, yoga, Pilates and kinesiology. She said we would never heal, or that our prayers would never be answered as we were dealing with dangerous new age practices.


Reflexology is based on the concept of Qi (Chi, Ki)…it is NOT compatible with Christianity. Yes only God can heal…we also live in an imperfect fallen world…things aren’t what they should have been. But there’s hope b /c Christ has risen and our life with Him in heaven will be perfect. You can’t achieve perfection here. Everyone has some sort of genetic problem…it’s just reality.


Some people are wary as they can not understand how pressing on a foot can relieve headaches, stomach disorders etc. The healing is described by some as ‘energy healing’ as scientifically it can be difficult to prove how it. Other reflexologists say that pressing on nerves and reflexes promotes healing.


I guess it’s just a reflex. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::rofl:

Sorry, couldn’t resist.


This is all well and good but…where’s the scientific proof? Double blind studies with control groups? Peer reviewed studies published in journals? It’s unethical to take people’s money without proof that this works.


If people are practicing it because they believe it has some spiritual element, that would be a problem. If it’s strictly done from a physical standpoint I don’t see an issue at least in theory. It might be BS from a medical standpoint but there’s nothing there that would inherently conflict with Christianity.


How do you know it is based on chi energy, and not reflexes and neurons? Ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, Japanese and Native Americans practiced their own forms reflexology as they discovered the healing power in reflexes of feet. Are they are all condemned? Different continents and nationalities have had different approaches to health. I think the drug companies in the states are the worst sinners if all.


I’m happy to be proven wrong. If at some point they can scientifically measure that refelxology works, then by all means I will promote it.

Pharmaceutical companies can certainly be unethical and think about money over health but sometimes a drug is the answer…sometimes diet and exercise aren’t enough to control diabetes so Metformin is used. There isn’t anything wrong with that. And yes, everything will have a side effect…even the “natural” herbs that are used in the alt health industry. If it’s strong enough to have an effect, then it’s strong enough to have a side effect. Everything we use and ingest is made of chemicals, even water.


A lot of Catholics, as well as non-Catholics are skeptical of reflexology and other alternative medicine models they see as unproven or even “quackery”.

As a practitioner, go right ahead. Over time, your profession will either be discredited or proven.


The nerves and reflexes hypothesis would be acceptable to Catholics.

The “chi” and “energy” and stuff like that would not be.

We have this debate also over things like Pilates and yoga. I used to take dance, and Pilates and all of its variations was understood to basically be a muscular exercise similar to all the other exercises we did in dance. It was not based on principles of energy running around in your body, it was based on the physics of muscles.

Yoga always gets debated because it originated out of a non-Christian religious context, and people who practice it fall all along the spectrum from practicing it as pure exercise to practicing it with all the religious trimmings.

Some Catholics take a very bright-line approach to everything and will just condemn a practice (or a book, movie, art work etc) entirely because it can be used or viewed in a non-Catholic way, rather than looking at whether the good parts of a practice (or book, movie, art work etc) can be applied within a Catholic way. They are usually looking for rigid rules and want to be extra careful they don’t somehow drift into a sin.

If you are confused about your own personal approach to reflexology, please speak to a priest. I am also presuming that the “speaker” who went on about this at the healing Mass was not a priest or a deacon because you said “she”, so that would mean she is not capable of serving in those roles. I am wondering why this person was permitted to speak on Catholic teaching at a Mass in the first place when that role should be reserved to the priest or deacon when it’s a Mass.


I’m really grateful for all the advice and answers on this forum. I called my local parish on Friday but they haven’t gotten back to me (I’m based in Dublin and I’m guessing they’re busy as Pope Francis is in town!).

I really don’t care if it is ‘quackery’. I only practice on my family and I don’t make claims to cure anyone. My parents really enjoyed it and claim it significantly relieves tension and stress. I just don’t want to put myself or my family in spiritual danger. The scientific side doesn’t bother me, the spiritual side does.

The woman at generational healing mass put the fear of God into me however. I have a huge interest in alternative therapies - anything that promotes healing without drugs or side effects appeals to me. I don’t fully understand how reflexology works but I don’t call on any powers or energy…I just press the appropriate reflex points.


Reflexology has no scientific basis. It’s basically just massaging the feet. My advice is that you study to be a doctor or nurse if you want to heal people. I’m not saying every drug is equally effective, and a lot of what modern medicine does is ineffective. But, consider my friend who lived through breast cancer, and my other friend who had a brain tumour removed. They received actually effective interventions.

Go for the proper training instead of the easy route. A few weekends studying reflexology doesn’t compare to properly studying to be even a personal health care aide. To me, reflexology is bunk. I tried it too, by the way. It doesn’t get to a diagnosis even.

I fell for reiki, health supplements which I spent $500 on when I had no income, colonics, massage, and all the nonsense when I was desperate. Turns out I needed something corrected via endoscopy, and all that alt health delayed me from proper treatment. It’s sinful to do that to somebody. You may think it’s complementary to medical care, but you will end up diverting people away from their proper medical search.


Thank you Tis Bearself. I’m not even sure who she was! It was a mass held in a house and she spoke to the people in house before the priest said mass. The priest and this lady travelled together in order to heal people. She claimed she had a gift and that images came to her mind - of demons and the devil. She was able to tell people what their sins were before they told her, and How To avoid the sins.


Good grief, was this even a legit Catholic Mass? This whole thing does not sound right.

In general, be very wary of a priest saying Mass “in a house” unless the “house” is a diocesan approved shrine (I actually know of some that are - they’re houses of saints or of people on the path to sainthood), or there is some good reason like you are in a remote area with no church available or the church just burned to the ground or something. Priests in good standing usually find a church to host them for a Mass. The whole “lady sees demons” business also does not sound at all normal for faithful Catholics. I would avoid this sort of thing.


Curious, would this speaker be John Gillispie? He is a healer in Ireland that deals a lot with generational sin. I read his book the The Miracle Ship where he grouped just about everything as a New Age practice. Acupuncture, reflexology and fortune telling in the same sentence. :roll_eyes:

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