The differences between Reflexology and Massage

Discussion of reflexology techniques, both generic and modality specific.

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The differences between Reflexology and Massage

Postby Dragonflies on Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:39 pm

I love this side-by-side explanation that the American Reflexology Certification Board gives about the difference between Reflexology and Massage: http://reflexology-usa.org/articles/differences.htm
Last edited by Dragonflies on Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The differences between Reflexology and Massag

Postby SpiritedJen on Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:06 pm

I'm not a Reflexologist but I thought that was a pretty good description. Maybe I should print it out and put it up in my office? LOL Clients ask me about reflexology often.<br><br>Do you find that a lot of people think that anyone rubbing on a foot is performing reflexology?
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Re: The differences between Reflexology and Massag

Postby Dragonflies on Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:17 pm

Do you find that a lot of people think that anyone rubbing on a foot is performing reflexology?


I do get the ocassional phone call for a "foot massage."   ;D I think Reflexologists spend a lot of time trying to educate people about reflexology.
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Re: The differences between Reflexology and Massag

Postby happyhands on Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:38 pm

I do spend a lot of time trying to explain what I do during reflexology and what benefits it brings. Some how or another people are slow to get it.
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Postby Jane Brady on Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:35 pm

Reflexology is so diferent that a foot massage!
I have been practicing Reflexology for 5 years now,and have helped people with their Eye sight, Depression, Insomnia, and Hormonal Balance. I believe that it is more intense than a massage. It's very detoxifing, especially if you use a firm pressure. I am currently teaching six therapist' s at my spa. Reflexology effects all the major organs, and circulation. There are many great books on the subject if you want to specialize in this. I believe that you should be very experienced and knowledable on refexology if you are to offer it to your clients. I have found that people looking for this therapy expect you to know your information and can tell them what or why their foot hurts.
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Postby Dragonflies on Tue May 16, 2006 1:53 pm

Jane Brady wrote:It's very detoxifing, especially if you use a firm pressure.

Research is now supporting that Reflexology is just as effective with a lighter touch. In fact, a new style of Reflexology has been developed with a much lighter touch and Reflexologists are having profound responses from their sessions without the pressure. :)

Edit: here it is Gentle Touch Reflexology™
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Postby Sharon on Tue May 23, 2006 4:41 am

Indeed there is a major difference between the two!

Some of my clients who are receiving their first tx are temporarily fooled by the warm up/relaxation techniques I begin with (although I do explain what to expect during tx beforehand- always)- and its always an eye opener for them if they experience zone-related 'twinges' as I work an area- that is one of those little gems of confirmation!

I would also agree that it does not always require firm pressure- depends on the feet sometimes too- for effective results. In 2003, during my practical final exam- the proctor (a lovely Irish woman in her 70's) stood over my shoulder and whispered ' Your technique is perfect my dear, but you will blow your thumbs soon using that much pressure!' She said it with a twinkle in her eye, and I will not forget it soon. I have since eased my pressure a bit, if only to keep my thumbs, and have not noticed any difference in tx results.

Hope this helps any who read it!
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Postby Dragonflies on Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:32 am

Sharon wrote:I would also agree that it does not always require firm pressure- depends on the feet sometimes too- for effective results. In 2003, during my practical final exam- the proctor (a lovely Irish woman in her 70's) stood over my shoulder and whispered ' Your technique is perfect my dear, but you will blow your thumbs soon using that much pressure!' She said it with a twinkle in her eye, and I will not forget it soon. I have since eased my pressure a bit, if only to keep my thumbs, and have not noticed any difference in tx results.

That's a cute story Sharon! I remember taking a "no pain, no gain" approach to Reflexology at first, and have since mellowed out with my pressure. :lol: Recently I received a Reflex session that was so deep I was in considerable pain. I had to ask repeatedly throughout the session for the Reflexologist to decrease her pressure because of my discomfort. Mind you, I'm no sissy when it comes to pressure on the feet either! :shock:
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No Pain, No Gain

Postby Qiwalker on Sat Jun 03, 2006 12:44 pm

This is a very common mindset in China where people don't feel they get a good treatment unless there is pain involved and the more pain the better the treatment. I've had to change my style greatly dealing with Americans, but still there are times when I just barely brush over an area and the client writhes in pain. I have found that the results are pretty much the same with a firm touch or a light touch, just as long as the client isn't in so much pain they can't relax and the light touch doesn't kill my thumbs.

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Re: No Pain, No Gain

Postby Dragonflies on Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:30 pm

Qiwalker wrote:but still there are times when I just barely brush over an area and the client writhes in pain.

Yeah, when a reflex is really sensitive you can just pass over it and the client is almost out of the chair. While other areas you wonder if a jack-hammer would be the way to go. :wink:

I've actually had a couple of clients who have adopted their own "no pain, no gain" motto and would prefer writhing in the chair to napping! I have to remind that type of client that I don't actually want them climbing out of the chair in discomfort. LOL.
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Postby askahealer on Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:35 am

Jane Brady wrote:Reflexology is so diferent that a foot massage!
It's very detoxifing, especially if you use a firm pressure.


I can sure testify to that and feel that some reflexologists think harder is better. I was sent into a major healing crisis because I happened to choose such a reflexologist once.

In my own work as a reflexologist, I've hardly ever had to use hard pressure. This may be due to the fact that I also use Reiki, which helps relax the body and attune the person to what needs to shift for them.

In any case, I think a too-hard pressure is not more beneficial, just more painful. Again, just my opinion. I've never had to hurt my partners in healing to help them detox and heal.

My rule is to stop short of any need they have to flinch. If they flinch, I've gone too far. By starting very light and gradually increasing pressure in trouble areas, I can avoid unnecessary discomfort.
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Postby Carolb on Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:40 pm

*Always remember, as a Therapist -
- Knowledge is POWER, if you are educated, skilled and have good intentions a gentle touch is usually all that is required.
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Postby lunabelle on Wed Jul 05, 2006 7:02 am

I am a little different and I give a deep reflexology session. I personally expect a bit of a healing crisis and I tell my clients to expect it. Not everyone experiences a healing crisis, it depends on the state of their health.

For example, my mother is a shift worker, she was a smoker, drank a lot of beer, doesn't eat properly and is going through menopause. The day after her first session she experienced sweats, hot flashes and had to stop what she was doing and lay down outside on a few occasions to feel better not to mention having to pee constantly. Her system was dumping toxins which it needed to do. I tell my clients to listen to their bodies and let themselves heal after a session. I realize that our society has made it nearly impossible for people to take time out to let their body rebalance but I still encourage it because that's what I believe in. On a side note, my mom has since quit smoking, drinks much less and joined a gym and does pilates and she is a different person.

If I'm working on a person with chronic pain or fibromyalgia I warn them to expect to have increased pain the day following and to take it easy and sleep a lot because it's a necessary stage in the healing process. Not everyone is willing to do this but I am looking for the clients that want to improve and some are.

I think it's great that there are therapists that don't believe in a firm pressure because different clients that are looking for different things in their sessions.

I am also a firm believe in energy work and receive reiki sessions for myself on a regular basis. Energy work can be done along with firm pressure or light pressure.

I look for firm pressure in a session for myself. I want to feel the effects during and after my session.
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I've had both

Postby askahealer on Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:53 am

I posted on a different thread about one particular reflexology treatment where I was sick for three days afterwards. It may be that some people require such a drastic detox to feel that they have made progress but it definitely is not my preference. But this was way back when I was just starting out and had heard a lot about how a reflexologist really has to dig in there to get results so it was a very valuable experience for me in that it taught me what I did not want in the future. Actually, I've had two sessions like this and the second one sealed it for me. Though I had no drastic detox with the second experience, I also did not enjoy a second of it and saw no positive benefit afterwards.

In the absense of a life-threatening condition that makes rapid detox necessary to avoid death or the shut-down of some major system, I believe healing can be accomplished with a more gentle reflexology treatment but I also believe different people have different needs.

I believe we are all drawn to what we need and that sometimes, we don't know what we want until we see the opposite. That's the case with me. I thought deeper meant better but in my case, that time anyway, deep was too deep and I truly believe it caused me more pain than was necessary for healing.

I believe a lot of it has to do with the reflexologist and their level of instinct and connection with each partner in healing that they treat. I've done sessions where the pressure was more firm but they are few and far between. Most of the time, it just isn't necessary. When a person truly needs the evidence of a strong detox, or in those cases where a more immediate and full detox is needed to clear out a potentially damaging congestion quickly, an intuitive reflexologist can pick up on that and deliver more firm pressure in those cases.
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Postby lunabelle on Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:20 pm

I think that having nausea for three days and not having any tender reflexes are two extremes. I'm sorry you felt as sick as you did.. three days would be too much for me too, especially not having a chronic condition of any kind to recover from.
I don't think I could apply enough pressure with my fingers and thumbs alone to initiate that kind of response if I wanted to.
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Extreme reactions

Postby askahealer on Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:54 pm

Who knows, maybe there was some health crisis flushed out that I didn't even know was there but I still believe it could have been flushed out in a more gentle manner. That would have been my preference, even though it might have taken more sessions to accomplish and taken longer to achieve the healing.

To each his or her own. If it works for someone, that's great.

It's good that you alert people that your sessions are firm and could induce more detox than they might be used to with someone who used a lighter touch.
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Re:no pain / no gain

Postby petedose on Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:58 pm

When the client comes in I let them know of the pain tollerance. 0 being no pain ,d 10 being unbearable I tell them to not let me go past a six then I check with them what there pain level is thru out the session, an I know either add or lessen the presure
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Re: The differences between Reflexology and Massage

Postby jennifersullivan on Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:30 pm

But I thought reflexology and foot massage therapy were more or less the same!! :o Though I flinch very often, I prefer the firm touch method! I have felt that it gives me the feel that I'm under a treatment, and that soon all my aches and weariness will be taken off! Strange but true! :grin:
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Re: The differences between Reflexology and Massage

Postby pueppi on Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:48 am

jennifersullivan wrote:But I thought reflexology and foot massage therapy were more or less the same!!


Glad you found this thread and hopefully understand the differences now! :)
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