Close-up Of A Calm Young Woman Receiving Reiki Treatment In Spa

The Ultimate Guide to Reflexology Massage

Ever feel the desire to hit the reset button on your body? 

From daily stress to pent-up anxiety to chronic pain, there is a lot of nasty stuff our bodies tend to hold onto. Sometimes a simple release is all we need to feel back on track.

Reflexology experts believe that they have the answer – and that your reset button is found on your feet. 

This specific form of pressure therapy focuses on the over 7,000 nerve endings present in each of your feet to stimulate healing. It has been used for centuries to reduce stress, boost well-being and alleviate many different types of ailments.

So, what’s the deal with reflexology massage? Here are all of your questions answered. 

What is reflexology?

In short, reflexology works to heal the body by activating pressure points in the body – mostly on the foot, and sometimes on the hands or ears. Expert reflexologists can put pressure on specific areas to help reduce pain and stress and offer a long list of other benefits. 

How does reflexology work?

The impact of reflexology can be looked at through the lens of ancient Chinese medicine and modern science. 

Versions of reflexology have been practiced in China for thousands of years. The practice is based on the belief that the flow of energy – or qi – significantly impacts a person’s overall well-being. When reflexology experts apply pressure to trigger points, they work to combat qi blockages and support the healthy flow of energy throughout the body.

Western medicine finds that many nerves connect the skin to internal organs. The body’s nervous system can adapt to outside stimulation, which can create adjustments to more internal systems. For example, certain types of touch can relax the central nervous system, which calms the mind, slows heart rate, etc. 

What is reflexology good for?

Similar to other forms of trigger point therapy, reflexology is connected to improving several health issues. While it is not a scientifically-proven medical treatment, studies have shown that it can be an effective complementary practice to include in tandem with other solutions.

Here are a few possible results from regular reflexology:

  • Reduce feelings of stress or anxiety
  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Lift mood and boost overall morale

Some patients have even experienced more specific health improvements:

  • a boost to their immune system
  • Clearing up chronic sinus issues
  • Quickly recovery from colds, viruses and infections
  • Support balanced hormones
  • Fertility boost
  • Reduce arthritic pain
  • Improve digestion
  • Induce labor (with the doctor’s approval)
  • Improved quality of life during cancer treatment

While there need to be more studies on reflexology to support these claims, several patients are believers in the widespread health benefits of the treatment.

How is reflexology different from a foot massage?

Some tend to confuse reflexology with a standard foot massage, but the two are not equal. While parts of reflexology massage may focus on the foot, the point is not to relax the foot. Instead, it is to stimulate connection to other body parts, whether bones, joints or organs.

A foot massage, in comparison, is less complex, specific and strategy-driven.  

Is reflexology safe to try?

.For many people, reflexology is a completely safe practice. For others with the following health issues, it’s recommended to ask a doctor before booking your appointment:

  • circulatory problems that involve your feet
  • History of blood clots
  • Gout
  • Any current fungal infections on the foot
  • Open wounds
  • Thyroid problems 
  • Epilepsy

In general, if you have any chronic or current conditions impacting your feet, you should talk to your doctor first. 

Close-up of young woman having reflexology

What are the benefits of reflexology?

While the impact of reflexology isn’t proven, there have been compelling results in studies of this practice in connection with several types of health issues. Whether the immediate benefits come from the relaxation of a strategic massage or something deeper-acting, patients leave their appointments feeling calmer, less stressed, and well-taken care of. 

Here are just a few of the benefits of reflexology:

  • Reflexology is a safe, non-invasive treatment that can create relief for a long list of health issues. 
  • Reflexology can offer surface-level benefits along with a more profound impact. Regular massages can boost mental wellbeing and give your body and mind a break from stress and anxiety.
  • Regular reflexology can relieve chronic pain or discomfort by relaxing muscles and easing the mind. This has been helpful for cancer patients, people in labor, and those experiencing unpleasant skin sensations and back pain.
  • Some patients also believe they have experienced other specific benefits from reflexology, like reducing constipation and improving their digestive system and chronic sinus issues.

Things to know before reflexology

Are you interested in booking your reflexology appointment? Here are some things to know before you contact a reflexologist.

How much does a reflexology massage cost?

An hour-long reflexology appointment price can range from about $40-$100. Depending on the company, they may offer deals when you sign up for a multiple-appointment series. Many patients say they experienced the most benefits when undergoing five or six reflexology sessions.

Who should try a reflexology massage?

As long as you have no foot-related issues, reflexology could be a great option. Many people appreciate the general boost in well-being and relief from stress or anxiety without having to use additional medication or other time-consuming, unpleasant treatments. 

What to expect from a Reflexology massage?

Reflexology sessions usually start with a conversation and consultation covering health conditions, goals and desired outcomes. The expert reflexologist will tailor their massage to this information and can explain their actions at your request. Some pressure points may feel intense but shouldn’t inflict severe discomfort. 

After the appointment, you should be able to enjoy some short-term benefits like that ever-lovely post-massage bliss. 

Ready to hit the reset button with reflexology massage? Check out all of the reflexology massage options in your area on ClassPass!

Amanda Rouse is a freelance writer and content strategist living in San Clemente, California. When she’s not actively dodging writer’s block, she’s probably trail running, doing a crossword puzzle, or falling off of waves (She soon hopes to call this “surfing.”). Follow her and send her funny reels on Instagram.
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