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Reflexology vs. Massage


The differences between Reflexology and Massage  By ARCB

 Some people confuse Reflexology with massage, but they are two different modalities–each with its own strengths. Both, like many other therapies, such as chiropractic, osteopathy, and other somatic practices, involve the use of the hands to apply their techniques. The aim with both Reflexology and massage is to enhance the well being of the client.


REFLEXOLOGY - 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.
MASSAGE - 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.

REFLEXOLOGY-  Only the footwear comes off, as only the feet, hands, and ears are touched.
MASSAGE - All the clothing comes off, as most of the body is touched.


REFLEXOLOGY - Uses small muscle movements primarily thumbs and fingers are used.
MASSAGE - Uses large muscle movement. Hands (either opened or closed) and sometimes feet, arms and elbows


REFLEXOLOGY - To improve the function of organs and glands, and all systems of the body. Works with the function of the body.

MASSAGE - Primarily to change the soft tissue directly stimulated. Works with the structure of the body.


REFLEXOLOGY - Total body relaxation leading to the balancing of all internal and external body systems; improving circulation via stimulation to the nervous and subtly energy systems.

MASSAGE -Local muscle relaxation or if the entire body is massaged then to muscular system improving circulation and reducing muscular tension.

It is not necessary for Reflexology practitioners to study working on a naked body when all they work on are the feet, and hands of a fully clothed person.

©1997 American Reflexology Certification Board

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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