Reflexology vs Massage
Updated: Apr 5
If you are experiencing pain or tension in your body, the best way to relieve your body from them is through physical therapy. Two of the best ways to do this are through reflexology and massage. Both offer significant health benefits beyond just relieving your body from physical pain. However, most are not familiar with reflexology or confuse it with foot massage, so they miss out on its many benefits. It is essential to know the differences between reflexology and a massage so you can choose the best option depending on what your body needs.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a form of massage therapy that focuses on applying pressure on specific reflex points on the foot or the hanvikd corresponding to specific organs and areas of the body. For example, the tips of the toes are linked to the head, while the balls of the foot correspond to the heart and chest areas.
Reflexology is based on the healing philosophy and theory that when a person becomes sensitive or experiences tenderness upon applying pressure on a reflex point, the life flow or energy of the connected organ has been blocked, or it has a weakness or imbalance that needs attention. By applying pressure to those points, the therapist can heal or alleviate the pain or ailments and remove the energy blockage between the pressure point and the organ.
What is a massage?
Massage therapy is a general field of health science that manipulates tissues to make the muscle relax, relieve tension in the area, and improve blood circulation in the body. Thus, it can be applied to any part of the body and focuses on the overall improvement of a person's health and well-being.
As one of the oldest healing traditions, massages include many benefits such as reduced muscle tension, improved blood circulation, improvement of skin tone, recovery of soft tissue injuries, and more. Aside from physical healing, massages are also known to manage anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
How do they differ?
Reflexology vs Massage, while it is like a foot massage, reflexology is a more specific type of massage that uses pressure points. Also, unlike foot massages, reflexology can be applied to the hands and ears. Massages, on the other hand, are used on the entire body. They also differ on what the therapist uses to massage your body part.
In reflexology, therapists use their thumbs and fingers to target the pressure points and apply small muscle movements strategically and accurately. In massage therapy, they use their whole hands and elbows.
Massaging methods can also vary, such that some massage therapists use rubbing, kneading, stretching, heated stones, and more. In both therapies, the therapist ensures the pressure they are exerting is not too much or too light.
When to get a reflexology
A research that surveyed over 170 studies on reflexology found that it had many benefits to different types of patients. For example, it significantly improved the physical and psychological concerns of chemotherapy patients, neuropathy patients, hemodialysis patients, and patients with post-operative recovery, phantom limb pain, and depression. This research emphasizes how helpful reflexology is for addressing area-specific pains and problems.
Thus, if you have headaches, sinus problems, digestive problems, or issues with any vital internal organ of the body, reflexology is a better option than a massage. The application of repeated pressure and manipulation of nerve endings in reflexology is more target-specific and area-focused.
Nevertheless, addressing the issues of multiple internal organs through reflexology can also cleanse the body of toxins, boost the immune system, and promote overall healing in the body.
When to get a massage
If your whole body or a part of your body is sore from working out or doing heavy physical labor, you should get a massage. You can also get a massage if you just want to relax your whole body or a general muscle group. A massage works mainly with the external structure of the body and is therefore helpful in targeting larger muscle areas and groups.
Both reflexology and massage have great health benefits, but by knowing their differences and more specific advantages, you might prefer one over the other. A massage is generally for relaxation, while reflexology is for addressing possible internal health problems.
Whether you have a serious health condition or just looking to relax, both therapies are safe to try if you talk to your doctor before seeking treatment and the service providers are credible and certified organizations.