The Zone Theory

Zone theory is the basis of Reflexology. Zones are a system for formulating relationships between various parts of the body. They can be thought of as guidelines or markers which link one part of the body to another.

There are ten equal longitudinal (vertical) zones running the length of the body from the top of the head to the tips of toes. (See Fig. 2.1.)

On soles, the zones would look as shown in Fig. 2.2 above. Thus, each toe is a part of one particular zone.

2 / Foot Reflexology 17

It should be noted that a zone is not a surface marking. In fact, it runs through and through the body much like an arrow piercing from the front and emerging from the back. In other words, zones can be compared to slices of bread.

Fig. 2.3

Experience has shown that each big toe not only represents zone 1, but in a broader sense, also represents one half of the head (all five zones).

Fig. 2.4 : The big toe represents all five zones of the head

Dr. Fitzgerald propounded the theory that anything wrong in any part of a zone will affect the entire zone running through the whole length of the body. Sensitivity (tenderness or pain) in a specific spot on the foot points to the fact that something is wrong somewhere in the zone(s) in which the tender spot lies.

While Dr. Fitzgerald believed that a particular organ or a part of the body could be completely influenced through a toe (or toes) corresponding to the same zone(s), later experiments revealed that stimulation merely of toes did not always serve the purpose adequately. For a more certain treatment of various organs, specific parts of foot, along the entire soles, called for stimulation. This gave rise to the concept of lateral (horizontal) zones.

The main purpose of lateral zones is to help fix the image of the body onto the feet in the proper perspective and location. The lateral zones have been shown below.

On the fore-foot, at the sides you will find two prominent bones (designated as A and B in Fig. 2.5). On your sole, draw a transverse line passing through the tips of these prominent bones. This line is the shoulder line. The area of the foot from toe-tips to this shoulder line comprises horizontal zone 1 and contains trigger points for the organs of the head and neck.

Fig. 2.5

If you observe the sole of the fore-foot, you will find two mountain-like structures. These are called the 'balls' of the foot. These balls are of a much darker colour as compared to the middle of the sole. On your sole, draw a line passing through the lower borders of the balls. This is the diaphragm line. Diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. The area of the foot between the shoulder line and the diaphragm line comprises horizontal zone 2 and contains trigger points for organs of the chest.

Almost at the middle of the outer border of the foot is another prominent bone (designated as C in Fig. 2.5). On your sole, draw a transverse line passing through this prominent bone. This line is the navel or waist line. In anatomical terminology, this line represents the 'L4 (the fourth lumbar vertebra)' level. The area of the foot between the diaphragm and the navel lines comprises horizontal zone 3 and contains trigger points for most organs of abdomen.

If you observe the sole of the heel, you will find an oblong dark coloured area (designated as D in Fig. 2.5). The area of the foot between the navel line and the junction of the two colours of skin (i.e.,.junction of light coloured skin of mid-sole and dark coloured skin of the heel) comprises horizontal zone 4 and contains trigger points for the organs of the lower abdomen and the pelvis.

A fact that needs to be taken into account is that the organs that lie nearer the entire front surface of the body can more easily be reached through the trigger points on the upper surfaces (dorsums) of the two feet whereas the organs that lie nearer the entire back surface of the body can more easily be reached through the trigger points on the soles.

With the help of these four horizontal zones and the ten vertical zones (five on each foot) described earlier, you can most accurately determine or locate the trigger area for any organ whose correct anatomical position (i.e., the actual position inside the human body) is known to you.

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Responses

  • delinda
    What is the correct anatomical terminology for "balls of the foot"?
    8 years ago

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