top of page

Reflections on the Application of Hand and Foot Sujok Therapy


Hand and foot Sujok therapy utilises acupuncture, moxibustion, or the application of seeds or magnets to stimulate the reflex points of the organs and meridians on the hands and feet, aiming to treat and prevent diseases. 


Jin Maorong

July, 2023

Like auricular acupuncture developed in the 1950s, hand and foot Sujok therapy is more effective and longer lasting in terms of its therapeutic effects, considering the larger area of the hand's reflex points in the cerebral cortex and its treatment outcomes.


In addition to the reflex points of the body's five organs (heart, liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys), large and small intestines, gallbladder, bladder, stomach, uterus, and brain, hand, and foot Sujok therapy also targets reflex points of the endocrine system, such as the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and pancreas. 

Moreover, it also encompasses the reflex points of the body's main fourteen meridians. If the efficacy of stimulating these points has been verified, it significantly enhances and expands the effectiveness and scope of traditional Chinese medicine treatments. In practice, it has been proven that the two sets of hand and foot reflex systems created by Korean professors Tae Woo Yoo and Jae Woo Park, although different, both have therapeutic effects on the human body and are highly effective.

I mainly use the hand and foot therapy system established by Professor Jae Woo Park, which he named "Sujok Therapy." "Su" means hand in Korean, and "jok" means foot. The most important aspect is that he established the reflex points of the thumb and big toe as the head and neck reflex points, the second and fifth fingers and toes as the reflex points of the upper limbs, and the third and fourth fingers and toes as the reflex points of the lower limbs. The palms and soles of the hands and feet are the reflex points for the organs of the chest and abdomen, and the backs of the hands and feet are the reflex points for the kidneys and spine. This reflex system, known as the main reflex system, is the primary and commonly used treatment system, which has been proven effective.
In addition, there is also an insect system based on the fingers, where the three segments of the fingers' palm side reflect the head and neck, chest, and abdominal pelvic regions of the body, while the back side of the fingers mainly reflects the spine and kidneys, and the reflex points for the limbs are on the sides of the fingers. 


There is also a mini reflex system that uses the distal joints of the fingers as reflex points for the corresponding parts of the same side of the hand and foot, which allows for more precise treatment points and accurate therapeutic effects.


Here's a discussion of my experience using hand and foot Sujok therapy, mainly for treating pain, sterile inflammation of the tissues, and swelling caused by musculoskeletal injuries in clinical settings. The key to hand and foot Sujok therapy's success is finding the tender points on the reflex areas of the hands and feet.



A blunt metal probe or a simple ballpoint pen can be used to find the points on the patient that strongly respond to pressure and use them as treatment points. Treatment methods include acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, seed application, magnetic patch, etc.


One 40-year-old man, a chef who works in a restaurant, has cervical spondylosis, left neck, shoulder, and back pain, and numbness and swelling feeling of the left upper limb; the diagnosis showed that the narrowing of the sixth and seventh cervical intervertebral foramina caused nerve root cervical spondylosis. I did not use traditional acupuncture and moxibustion to treat the acupoints, nor did I use manipulation of the muscles and joints to expand the intervertebral space and release nerve compression. Instead, I used a micro-needle of 0.16 x 15 mm to prick the tender points of the reflex areas on the back of the left thumb, the back of the left index finger on the hand San Jiao meridian, and the back of the left tiger's mouth on the left shoulder, which these points are the reflex of cervical intervertebral foramina, left shoulder and left upper limb, twice a week for five weeks. The patient immediately felt relief from neck movement, numbness, and swelling in the shoulder, back, and upper limb. The treatment was effective for up to two days, and after five weeks of treatment, the patient recovered, and there was no relapse in the next six months.


For lumbar disc herniation and intermittent claudication caused by spinal stenosis and numbness of the lower limbs, the cause of stenosis in the spinal canal can be due to disc herniation, thickening of the ligamentum flavum, osteophytes, and disruption of the lumbar vertebrae and joints. This makes treatment difficult, and the effectiveness may not be significant or long-lasting. However, using hand and foot Sujok therapy to prick specific parts of the lumbar vertebrae on the hands and feet, combined with traditional Chinese medicine's meridian treatment, can adjust the joints of the lumbar spine and release the anterior longitudinal ligament's tension, greatly relaxing the soft tissues around the lumbar vertebrae, eliminating soft tissue swelling and nerve root compression. This can achieve better results than other treatments. Many successful cases have accumulated experience in treating such patients. The tender points are mainly located on the sacral vertebrae on the back of the hands or feet and the sciatic nerve pain areas of the toes. I generally use buckwheat particles for acute periods and pepper particles for chronic weakness patients to reinforce and enhance the effect.


As mentioned above, hand and foot therapy greatly affect soft tissue injuries in the acute stage. I met two patients with Achilles tendonitis clinically. The heel and Achilles tendon attachment was painful, swollen, and difficult to walk. Find the tender point of the Achilles tendon reflex in the middle finger of the same side and apply a grain of buckwheat to relieve the pain immediately. After 16 hours of application, the pain almost disappeared.


One of the notable effects of hand and foot Sujok therapy is the treatment of swelling caused by lymphatic reflux disorders in the limbs. Patients with lymph node removal surgery in the axilla or groin area may experience swelling in the upper or lower limbs due to impaired lymphatic flow. Many patients seek massage and acupressure to help promote lymphatic drainage, but the results are not always satisfactory. However, I use micro-needle acupuncture at the reflex points of the hand and upper limb, or foot and groin area, along with the external application of white mustard seed, and achieve an immediate reduction of swelling on the same day. The sensation of swelling and the hardness of the tissues in the upper and lower limbs of the patients can be alleviated.


Hand and foot Sujok therapy involves applying ingredients or herbal seeds to the reflex points on the hands and feet at the affected areas for sustained therapeutic effects. Whether it's commonly used anti-inflammatory buckwheat or warm meridian-opening pepper, each application for 16 hours significantly reduces pain and improves joint mobility. Hand and foot Sujok therapy believes seeds have powerful energy and can germinate and root under specific conditions, growing into living plants. The seeds contain plant growth information and energy, which have therapeutic effects when applied to specific reflex points on the hands and feet. Moreover, it is a painless and harmless, purely natural therapy.


Furthermore, according to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine meridians, The Ren vessel is the sea of Yin vessels, and the Du vessel is the sea of Yang vessel. Using seed patches to stimulate the reflex points of the Governor Vessel and Conception Vessel can also have a good effect on promoting immunity, improving sleep, and increasing appetite. These effects are superior to traditional acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments. We can earnestly study, research, and develop hand and foot therapy and find more and better treatment methods for common clinical diseases, frequently occurring diseases, and refractory diseases. 


Therefore, I am grateful for the creative invention of hand and foot Sujok therapy by two Korean physicians, Tae Woo Yoo and Jae Woo Park. This has brought broad prospects for natural treatment and ideal therapeutic effects to patients.


My hand and foot Sujok therapy application are still in its early stages. According to Professor Jae Woo Park's discourse, hand, and foot Sujok therapy can also be combined with the Six Qi diagnosis and acupuncture for tonification and purgation. In addition to identifying and treating reflex tender points, there is also the diamond system for local energy channel analysis. Applying the diamond system can target local trauma or strain pain, as joint and muscle strain can sometimes affect local Qi and blood circulation. I hope that through understanding, mastering, and applying hand and foot therapy, clinicians can improve the effectiveness of clinical treatment.


However, it should be noted that although hand and foot Sujok therapy has achieved specific results in clinical practice, it is considered an alternative or complementary therapy and should not replace conventional medical treatments when necessary. Consulting a qualified healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment is essential.


Supporting case studies:

33-Year-Old Lady with Neck/Shoulder Pain

Here is today’s case for neck and shoulder pain and tension for a 33-year-old lady Ph.D. in IT, neck and shoulder both sides pain, heavy and tense.


First, I treat her with my fascia release tech for trapezius, scalene, MSC, deltoid, and shoulder cuff muscles. She felt the pain had gone and felt part of the tension released. But the neck and shoulder blades are still heavy and tense. 

I tried the Sujok therapy acupuncture on neck and shoulder blade reflex points on the thumbs and second joint of the metacarpophalangeal. The heaviness and tension gradually disappeared with the acupuncture needle inserted one by one. After 30mins, I finished the treatment with the patient's great satisfaction.

70-Year-Old Woman lower limb swelling

A 70-year-old woman underwent a hysterectomy and left inguinal lymph node dissection two years ago. Due to Obesity, the left lower limb has been swelling and pain on the inside of the left knee joint for two years.

The effect of many kinds of physiotherapy massage is not apparent.

She asked me for acupuncture treatment six months ago. Using Sujok Therapy, the middle finger of the left hand represents the metacarpophalangeal joint of the left lower limb and acupuncture at the proximal interphalangeal joint. The swelling sensation of the left lower limb disappeared Immediately, the pain in the knee joint was relieved. The curative effect is sustainable.

55 -Year-Old Male with disc herniation

Mr. Guo, male, 55 years old. Pain in the right hip and numbness and distension of the right lower limb. Magnetic resonance imaging showed disc herniation and compression edema on the right side of lumbar vertebrae 2 /3, which improved after a hormone injection half a year ago but has been recurrent in the past month.

Acupuncture and massage loosened the lumbar vertebrae and piriformis muscle. After around 15 minutes of walking, the patient felt pain and numbness in the right hip and right lower limb, and the numbness radiated to the perineal Sellar area.

After using Sujok therapy on reflex points of the right side of the lumbar vertebrae, right hip, located around the third metacarpophalangeal joint, the patient could walk for 30 minutes with the needles on and felt no pain or numbness.  During the walking, the patient felt the bottom of the pelvis slightly numb; I then tried the Sujok therapy acupuncture on the reflex point on the web between the 3rd and 4th phalanges, and his numbness went straight away.


Jin Maorong

With more than 30 years of experience in clinical diagnosis and treatment of Chinese and Western medicine, Jin Maorong upholds benevolence and professional medical treatment.

Graduated from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, attending physician of Shanghai Shuguang Hospital, university lecturer. New Zealand, Australian licensed acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner. Diagnosis and treatment of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine.

  • Graduated from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine 

  • Lecturer of International Fascial Joint Release Operation Technique 

  • Australian National Registered Acupuncturist Chinese Physician AHPRA 

  • Member of Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association AACMA 

  • New Zealand National Acupuncture Diploma NZQA 

  • Member of International Sujok Therapy Association 

bottom of page