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Reflexology vs Massage - What's The Difference

I would love to clear the air about the difference between the two modalities Reflexology vs. Massage.

Reflexology technique is using the thumbs and fingers primarily, applying small muscle movements, while in massage therapy the technique consists of large muscle movements utilizing the hands, and elbows.

  • Reflexology it can be applied to the hands, feet, and/or ears; massage is used on the entire body.

  • While massage works with the structure of a body, reflexology’s purpose is simply to work to improve gland, organ, and systems functions.

  • Reflexology’s goal is to promote a response from the soft tissue stimulated through the nervous system and the meridians. In massage therapy the treatment is whole body and benefits the entire system.

  • The benefits from reflexology are a also total body relaxation improving circulation through stimulating the nervous system and the energy systems of the body. As the nerve endings sit at the bottom of the feet. Balancing all of the internal and external body systems, while massage offers the benefit of a more localized muscle relaxation or if the entire body is massaged, the benefit is an allover increase in circulation and reduced muscle tension.

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of Reflexology as an example

Samuel C. University of Portsmouth; 2011. An Investigation into the Efficacy of Reflexology on Acute Pain in Healthy Human Subjects. [Google Scholar]

Another systematic review conducted by Ernst, Posadzki, and Lee (2011) critically evaluated the effectiveness of reflexology in the treatment of human conditions. Twenty-three RCTs met their inclusion criteria, with 8 suggesting that reflexology had beneficial effects.

Basically confirming that reflexology effectively impacts physical and psychological concerns. Some of the benefits include:

  • Pain, nausea, vomiting and anxiety eased for chemotherapy patients

  • Depression reduced

  • Phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients and hemodialysis patients experience relief

  • Post operative recovery patients experience a reduction of pain and

  • Blood flow to the feet, brain, kidneys, and intestines increased

  • Inflammation in the body

  • Poor sleep

  • Management of high blood pressure

  • Diabetes management

The feet and hands are integral to the tension and stress the rest of the body feels, so reflexology offers an easy way to break up the stress signals and reset the body’s equilibrium or homeostasis.

One minor point I would like to make that the studies do not stress is the wonderful relaxation after a Reflexology session.

Allowing a feeling of lightness of being. Book your appointment and you can be the judge.

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