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How Reflexology Differs From a Foot Massage

On the surface, reflexology and a foot massage can both look very similar. There are very good reasons for this: Both involve relaxation and should feel good. Both should have you feeling more relaxed and potentially help address a wide array of issues in your feet, and both should be done by trained professionals with ample knowledge of anatomy. However, the truth is that they aren’t the same – indeed, there are many more differences between the two than may meet the eye. Here’s an overview of the similarities and differences, as well as information on where you can get a great appointment in the Winston-Salem Area.

Foot Massage

If you’ve ever had a good foot massage before, you know what it is: a little slice of heaven. A foot massage is designed to take away the aches and pains that occur in one of the most abused parts of our body. Our feet obviously take a huge array of abuse during the day, as they keep us connected to the earth and moving from place to place. More to the point, our feet are extremely sensitive organs. They contain over 7,000 nerve endings, making them extraordinarily sensitive and able to feel quite a bit of pain. When your feet hurt, you know it, and there’s no way of getting around it without getting off of your feet as soon as possible.

A good foot massage can help to release much of this tension and pain, but it’s also about much more than that. There are a variety of health benefits to a foot massage, including helping to address bad circulation, stress release, arthritis, and other serious health conditions. A foot massage can also help you to deal with skin issues, like bunions.

Any friend can give you a foot massage, and this can unquestionably help you feel better. However, a professional masseuse will know the various spots and techniques designed to release the most pain and give you the highest levels of release.


Reflexology, on the other hand, is based on an ancient belief – one that is many centuries old – which holds that certain sections of our hands and feet correspond to areas of the rest of our body. This belief holds that massaging those specific sections can result in pain relief or stress relief in those specific areas.

There are specific, in-depth charts that show what areas correspond where. In theory, a trained reflexologist will be able to tell when something is wrong with certain areas. For example, if they were to sense tension in the center arch of your foot, that would mean you had a problem with your lungs. You would also be able to sense it as well, as that area would feel much more sensitive. By massaging the area in question, you would feel relief.

Some academic studies have been performed on this method of treatment, with the studies noting that some evidence does speak to available evidence as to its effectiveness. More study is needed, and it is worth noting that no one has claimed that this type of treatment can take the place of traditional forms of medicine. However, this method of treatment is non-invasive and typically very pleasant. Since there is no risk and it feels good, it is usually a therapy that is embraced.

The Similarities & Differences

Both a foot massage and reflexology involve massage, stroking, and potentially use of tools in order to rub your feet and help recipients feel better. Both are geared to help with stress relief, and both can help recipients feel more relaxed and at peace. As such, it is worth noting that the benefits of both of these treatments extend well beyond your feet and can help improve your overall sense of well-being.

However, it needs to be clear: both of these treatments are different, and they are most certainly not interchangeable. The training both practitioners receive is different, and while the background work is very similar, they come with different certifications and licensure requirements. Massage is generally accepted to be better understood and has more medicinal or physical therapy purposes, while reflexology is still tied to a more ancient form of healing that is not quite as utilized as more western forms of therapy or medicine.

The specific movements are also very different. In massage, practitioners will use their entire hands, elbows, and arms to their clients. Reflexology is very different: Its method of healing is usually primarily done with thumbs and fingers. Massage is applied to any area of the body, while reflexology has to work on very, very specific areas of someone’s feet or hands. Furthermore, while reflexology can (and should!) feel great, its primary benefit isn’t just relaxation – it’s also done to heal.

If you are looking for a fantastic reflexology appointment, a foot massage, or a variety of other relaxation methods to heal your body and soothe your mind, make sure to visit the Qi Massage & Natural Healing Spa in Winston-Salem. At the Qi Massage & Natural Healing Spa, we offer an array of services with your well-being in mind.

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