It’s more than just a foot massage. Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them creates real benefits for the person’s health. Many people confuse reflexology with foot massage, but there are essential differences between these therapies. A massage therapist giving a foot massage will manipulate muscles and other soft tissues to improve circulation, relieve pain, and heal injuries in the area or to induce overall relaxation. Reflexology, on the other hand, uses a targeted, pressure-point massage to restore the flow of energy throughout the body. The treatment usually focuses on the feet, but it can also include the hands and ears.
According to the Mayo Clinic, studies by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health suggest reflexology can reduce pain, anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia. It also delivers many of the benefits of more traditional bodywork. “Reflexology can be like a deep-tissue massage,” Colin explains. “You can hit all those reflex points and still make the treatment feel relaxing. The treatment typically lasts approximately 40 minutes, but it can last up to an hour. During the session, you’re clothed and lying down.