What is a reflex? – A reflex refers to touching one part of the body and automatically getting effects in other parts of the body. This is analogous to a lightswitch on the wall turning on a light in the ceiling. As an example, when we touch specific areas in the feet, hands, and ears that relate directly to the “neck reflex,” we get an effect in the neck.

What is Reflexology? – Reflexology is a non-invasive, complementary modality applying specific touch techniques on Reflex Maps, resembling the shape of the human body, located on the feet, hands, and outer ears.

How Does Reflexology Work? – There are at least 15 theories. The primary theory suggests reflexology works through the nervous system.

One theory suggests that when an imbalance (tension, pain, stress, discomfort, illness, etc.) occurs in the body, a chemical made by the body (scientifically known as “Substance P”) accumulates around the nerve endings and hinders our “bio-electric” energy flow, one of the main energy sources that keep the cells of the physical body alive. By carefully applying a nurturing targeted pressure to “reflex maps” of the body located on the feet, hands and ears, circulation often improves which allows the blood to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the cells and carry more toxins away from the cells and out of the body, giving the body a “jumpstart” to balance and heal itself. Cool, huh?!

The extremities of our body have an extra rich supply of nerve endings. When health imbalances occur in our body, such as a stiff neck, blockages of different chemicals accumulate in the neck reflexes located in the feet, hands, and ears.

For the neck to feel better, blockage between nerve endings in the neck reflexes in the feet, hands, and ears must be eliminated. When full nerve flow is restored, the body can balance itself; in turn, the body is once again better able to heal itself.

Reflexology works for many reasons. Besides nerve supply being returned to normal, it is believed that different chemicals are released during reflexology.

One commonly known group of chemicals is called “endorphins,” sometimes referred to as the body’s natural opiates, in that they induce a sense of well being and have a natural pain-reducing effect.

Stress causes organs and glands to become either overactive or underactive. Reflexology helps the body to restore the proper balance. This means that if something is overactive, it will slow down to normal; if it is underactive, it will speed up to normal.

There are a series of very specific ways of touching feet, hands, and ears that are unique to the field of reflexology. Each of these techniques is designed to effectively break down blockages found in different parts of the feet, hands, and ears.

Reflexology vs. Acupressure – Reflexology is not Acupressure. Both Reflexology and Acupressure fall into the category of touch therapies called Reflex Therapies. However, each works under different energetic principles and reflex point locations.

Acupressure deals with over 12 long thin energy lines called meridians that run most of the length of the body. There are more than 800 pressure points along these lines. Fewer than 30 are found in each foot and hand with only one acupressure point on the bottom of the feet and only one meridian approximating the ear (in the crease behind the outer ears).

Reflexology, in contrast, has an entire Reflex Map of the body on the feet, a second complete Reflex Map of the body on the hands, and a third complete Reflex Map of the body on the outer ear.

Reflexology vs. Massage – Reflexology is not Massage. Massage utilizes touch with a major emphasis on integumentary, muscular, circulatory, and lymphatic systems using large muscle movement techniques such as effleurage, petrissage, friction, and tapotement.

Reflexology uses small muscle movement techniques (e.g., thumb walk, thumb roll, index finger walk, other techniques unique to the field of Reflexology). Reflexology uses these specific touch techniques on complete Reflex Maps of the body on the feet, hands, and outer ears. This not only helps the muscular, circulatory, and lymphatic systems but also profoundly affects the nervous system, which in turn affects virtually every system in the body. Additionally, in Reflexology, only footwear is removed with the client otherwise staying fully clothed.