Most people hate taking prescription medicines. Unfortunately, the magic wand only exists in circuses and movies. There are times when we want to acquire a magic wand, scream abracadabra, and witness our pains and stress go away. Alas! That is not possible. The closest we can get is getting help from reflexology massage. 


What Is Reflexology Massage?

A massage therapist is a person sent by God to rid people of pain, anxiety, and stress. One of the many magical spells cast by a professional therapist is the reflexology massage. 


It is based on applying pressure to specific points on your hands, ears, and feet that are believed to affect the rest of the body. The points are believed to correspond with other parts of the body. A masseuse who has specialized in reflexology is known as a reflexologist. 


The Theory Behind Reflexology 

Reflexology is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In TCM, the human body is believed to work by the flow of vital energy known as qi (chee). A blockage of the flow of qi leads to imbalances throughout the body that manifest as diseases. 


Therefore, the main aim of the treatment is to restore this flow to cure the patient. One effective way of doing this is reflexology massage. Experts have identified specific points on the hands, ears, and feet that correspond to other body organs. When a professional massages, these pressure points send energy flowing through the body until it reaches the desired area.


Health Benefits Of Reflexology

The question here arises as to why people get reflexology massages. 

Well, the advantages of a reflexology massage are instant and long-lasting. Once you get a reflexology massage, you will surely crave more. The most significant therapeutic benefits imparted by a reflexologist are discussed below:


reflexology massage


Say Goodbye To Stress And Anxiety 

The number of suicides and self-infliction has hiked up in the last few years—the only cause of this alarming increase is the rapidly mounting mental pressure. The youth of today is surrounded by unescapable swarms of anxiety and stress that constantly pull them down. 


Thus, anxiety and stress reduction are the dire need of the hour. Prescription medicines can resolve the issue, but they take a toll on your liver and kidneys. Therefore, a reflexology massage is an effective way to ease out your head. 


Generalized Anxiety

Benson relaxation and foot reflexology are effective in treating generalized anxiety and for women undergoing an abdominal surgical operation.


Heart Patients

A reflexologist can tune down the anxiety and stress levels in patients undergoing coronary angiography by using foot reflexology


Another study revealed that hand reflexology can also be beneficial for decreasing anxiety in angiography patients.


It was found in a randomized controlled trial that reflexology massage leads to a reduction in Visual Analog scale anxiety. It was concluded that a 20-minute massage for four days can significantly reduce stress in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients. 


Hospitalized Patients 

Cancer patients are at the most significant risk of falling prey to anxiety and depression. The risk multiplies if the patients are admitted to a hospital. Thus, it is now recommended that hospitalized receive massage therapy for anxiety control. It is not just any massage; reflexology massage is the way to go. It is proved that reflexology allows patients to cope better with the disease while reducing stress/anxiety. 


Child-Bearing Women 

Women undergoing childbirth are also prone to depression and anxiety. Research reveals that foot reflexology massage is an effective nursing intervention to reduce stress, fatigue, and depression in women undergoing vaginal delivery.


Post-partum depression and “baby blues” are widespread. These symptoms of gloom, despair and anxiety negatively affect the health of the mother and the baby, too. Data suggest that the anxiolytic effect of reflexology can be utilized in post-partum women.


Kidney Patients 

A 2016 study suggests that reflexology massage is an effective method to reduce fatigue in patients undergoing hemodialysis. Foot reflexology was superior to back massage and allowed the patients to sleep better.


A meta-analysis concluded that foot reflexology improves sleep and decreases fatigue.


Flush Out Inflammation And Pain From The Body 

Another aspect where reflexology boasts of its superiority is pain management. The enhancement in the flow of qi kicks out pain and chronic inflammation from the body. Reflexology is pretty effective for different types of pain.


Heart Surgery 

Be it a coronary angiography or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), patients have to go through a hectic ordeal of pain. Surgeons report that chest tube removal post-heart surgery is a painful procedure. The pain from this particular procedure can be effectively reduced using foot reflexology.


Foot reflexology is considered a productive, cost-effective intervention in managing CABG pain


Neuropathic Pain

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which nerve conduction from the spinal cord to the rest of the body is compromised. This leads to a number of symptoms, including burning, tingling, and neuropathic pain. Treating this type of condition is an uphill task. However, a randomized controlled trial found that foot reflexology massage reduces neuropathic pain and improves mobility and walking ability.


A 2019 clinical study has revealed that foot reflexology can be a cost-effective and safe way of alleviating neuropathic pain in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Another study in the same year (2019) concluded that foot reflexology can reduce pain caused by Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).


Chronic Pain

Foot reflexology can be introduced as an analgesic strategy for managing chronic pain. A study found that foot reflexology sessions can reduce chronic pain in children.


Chronic low back pain is frequently encountered by people from all walks of life. It is the leading cause of work holidays. Fixing your hurting back is a slow process that requires you to go to the moon and back. However, with the magic reflexology, you can run like a cheetah again!


According to a study, foot reflexology appreciably reduces the physiological parameters and relieves patients instantly.


Reflexology is identified as a safe, non-pharmacological intervention to help manage pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients.


Delivery And Menstrual Pain

The gift of motherhood is undoubtedly the most precious one. The pain, however, is unbearable. Most men’s attempts to manage uterine pain are futile, but not reflexology. Reflexology can effectively lower uterus pain, and foot reflexology can reduce the pain associated with labor.


A 2018 study concluded that massage and reflexology are instrumental labour pain management methods. Another study found that ear, hand, and foot reflexology is effective in managing Premenstrual Syndrome.


A meta-analysis suggests that this unique and technique-specific reflexology massage reduces pain and improves sleep.


Elevate Your Mood By The Touch Of A Reflexologist 

Our efficiency largely relies on our mood. A bad mood is linked to poor work efficiency and self-satisfaction. To improve your work performance, you ought to be in a pleasant mood. 


Ignoring the negativity around you is one way of improving your mood; getting reflexology is another. Swedish massage and foot reflexology have been found to be equally effective in improving mood.


Scientists have discovered that your mood is linked to electric waves inside your brain. Depressive thoughts can seriously affect your mood. A study concluded that aroma foot reflexology effectively decreases depressive mood states in older women with osteoarthritis. 


Touch therapies such as reflexology are considered pleasurable additions to palliative care in patients. Classical massage can also play a positive role in improving mood disturbances.


The reduction in stress and weaning off of a depressive state can mean a great deal in mood improvement. As reflexology culminates in new strength and energy, boosts in mood are expected. Therefore, all those who feel down must go for a reflexology massage.


Boost Your Immune System 

It is a proven fact that massage boosts the immune system. The main reason for this effect is the improvement in blood circulation. The improved blood flow carries immune cells that help you fight foreign invaders.


Stimulating different pressure points can also bring balance to your immune system. Foot reflexology can potentially relieve you of colds and flu, too. Foot reflexology massage is believed to improve the circulation of lymph fluid that carries antibodies to fight bacteria. The enhanced lymphatic flow is the key to boosted immunity. Reflexology for Lymphatic drainage (RLD) is a unique technique that improves lymphatic drainage.


A study found that aromatherapy massage boosts immune function in pregnant women, while another study found reflexology massage efficient in kickstarting the immune system in middle-aged women.


The Lung reflexology point on your foot is identified as an essential point. Massage, on this point, is believed to be therapeutic for colds and to fortify your body’s defence systems against bacteria and germs.


Improve Your Fertility

Complementary and alternative medicine is usually used to improve fertility (along with other medical treatments). Acupuncture and reflexology are frequently advertised as effective fertility-boosting options, and even fertility clinics promote the use of these modalities.


According to a randomized controlled trial, sham reflexology massage can be beneficial in inducing ovulation. This means that foot reflexology can play a part in improving female fertility. Another study claims that self-massage may also boost fertility and increase the chances of conception. A study suggests foot reflexology is also linked to increased breast milk production in premature infant mothers.


Massage therapy can bring about several positive changes in the body. Reflexology massage is expected to improve fertility, but the procedure should be adopted only when it is safe and effective.


Menopause is a state of deranged hormonal levels in the body. The imbalance in hormones manifests itself as depression and anxiety. According to a study, reflexology massage helps menopausal women restore hormone balance and reduces depression. 


Is Reflexology Safe?

In general, reflexology is a pretty safe procedure and can be carried out on seriously ill and hospitalized patients. This noninvasive complementary medicine treatment does not require any special equipment or environment. The skill of the reflexologist is the primary concern here. 


It imparts plenty of health benefits. However, you should discuss it with your doctor if you are suffering from any of the following conditions:

  • Deep venous thrombosis or blood clots in the leg veins 
  • Foot ulcers 
  • Gouty arthritis 
  • Open/gaping wounds on hands and feet 
  • Epilepsy 


Reflexology massage may aggravate hand/foot issues like cuts and gout; therefore, it is important to seek permission from your doctor before using reflexology massage.


Side Effects 

Many people are concerned about any side effects associated with a reflexology massage. Though rare, some people have reported the following side effects following a reflexology massage:


  • Temporary tenderness in hands and feet 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Increased emotional sensitivity 


The effects are only short-lived and go away on their own.


The Difference Between Reflexology And Foot Massage 

Even though massage therapists and reflexologists work on the same region (i.e. the foot), the aim of the procedure is different. A foot massage aims to improve the circulation of the massaged area and provide localized pain relief.


On the other hand, reflexology treatment promotes healing responses in corresponding organs.


Take-Home Message 

Reflexology massage is a unique massage technique that aims to restore the flow of qi in the body. Traditional Chinese medicine identifies specific points (pressure points) on the ears, hands, and feet. These points correspond to different body organs, and stimulating them will lead to healing and repair.


Reflexology massage’s most evident therapeutic effects include pain relief, stress relief, immunity, fertility, and mood boost. You can feel a new wave of energy after a reflexology massage. The procedure is entirely safe. However, individuals with hand/foot abnormalities (DVT, wounds, and gout) should be a little conscious while getting a reflexology massage.