Most people cannot tell the difference between reflexology and massage. They can still go for either and assume that they still got a good time or massage. Reflexology is all about specific areas. No clothes come off just your pair of shoes.
Applied to specific areas (usually feet, hands and ears) To promote a response from an area far removed from the tissue stimulated via the nervous systems and acupuncture meridians. Applied to the whole body; muscles and connective tissue locally for local benefit, or when applied to muscles located all over the body, benefits the entire body.
Only the footwear comes off, as only the feet, hands, and ears are touched. All the clothing comes off, as most of the body is touched.
Uses small muscle movements primarily thumbs and fingers are used. Uses large muscle movement. Hands (either opened or closed) and sometimes feet, arms and elbows
To improve the function of organs and glands, and all systems of the body. Works with the function of the body. Primarily to change the soft tissue directly stimulated.
Works with the structure of the body.
It is important to note that reflexology is not a type of massage. It is a discipline on its own. The main area of focus is the reflex zone. This is the zone that is networked to other parts of your body. When you touch the reflex zone, you send a message to the whole body.
Reflexology, although it’s often combined with massage, is technically not a form of massage. It’s a separate practice that applies pressure to reflex zones on your feet, hands or outer ears to affect your entire body.
What’s a reflex zone? Simply, it’s an area connected to other parts of your body. You have reflex zones on your feet, hands and ears. The basic theory underlying applying pressure to reflex zones is that the pressure affects the nerves, which then carry signals to other parts of your body. Reported benefits include relaxation and improved lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. These benefits help relieve the effects of stress, which in turn helps your body find balance and heal itself.
How does that differ from massage? Many of the benefits are the same. However, massage is the manipulation of soft tissue, while applying pressure to reflex zones isn’t an attempt to manipulate soft tissue. Also, reflexologists who aren’t also massage therapist are limited to touching your feet, hands and ears.
So that you are not confused it is important that you know what to expect from the reflexologist. They will first of all establish if reflexology is what you need. This is done by going through your health history and asking you a few questions. If reflexology is for you then they will explain how it works.
What Can I Expect in a First Reflexology Visit?
reflexologist talking to a patient.The practitioner will conduct a brief health history, checking in case reflexology may not be the best choice of therapy for you.
The practitioner will explain how reflexology works and what to expect in the session. The reflexologist also informs you that reflexology does not treat specific illnesses and is not a substitute for medical treatment. You may be asked to sign a consent form.
It is okay, and even expected, for you to ask questions. You should feel comfortable communicating with the reflexologist. If the practitioner is not forthcoming with information, or is dismissive of questions or concerns, this could be a “red flag,” and you have every right to terminate the appointment.
Starting the session
The practitioner may choose to work only on the feet, or the hands, or the ears, depending on your specific health issues. Some problems respond better to the reinforcement of work on all three—hands, ears, and feet.
Everyone’s needs are different—for example a patient in the hospital may have IV’s and multiple tubes and wires, so a reflexology session may be limited to the feet by necessity.