There are a few theories that all contribute to you benefiting from reflexology.
One theory is working with your peripheral nervous system, which branches into further systems that include regulating the homeostasis (balance) and the body at rest. By applying pressure your system reacts to this stimulus sending calm messages from the peripheral nerves in your hands, ears, or feet to the central nervous system, and signals the body to adjust the tension level.
The Zone theory:
Was developed by Dr. William Fitzgerald and found that your body is divided into 10 zones. There are 5 zones on the right side and 5 zones on the left side that go horizontal down the body from head to toe. He believed that pressure applied long enough would anesthetize the whole zone, and reducing tension in the nervous system relived congestion in the endocrine and circulatory systems.
The gate control theory:
When you are injured, pain messages start in the damaged tissue and travel along the peripheral nerves to the spinal cord and on towards the brain. The gate theory suggests that before the signals get to the brain they must go through “nerve gates” in the spinal cord that open and close either letting pain in or not. Reflexology works with your nervous system and connects well with the peripheral nervous system, so it may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.