Blog

BOOK A RESERVATION

Form submitted successfully!

Many people confuse reflexology with a traditional massage, which is not the case. On the surface, reflexology vs deep tissue massage may seem similar because they both involve healing and relaxation. Both potentially help address a wide range of issues and they both should be done by trained professionals.

Yet, there are various types of massage and treatments, and understanding their differences will help you choose the most effective one that is tailored exactly to your needs. While there are some similarities between these two forms of body therapy, reflexology vs deep tissue massage differ when it comes to their major points. What are they?

Let’s explore!

Exploring The Difference Between Reflexology And Deep Tissue

Reflexology isn’t technically a massage, yet uses pressure on specific body points called reflexes, while deep tissue treatment is recognized as one of the most popular therapeutic massage types. There are many dissimilarities between these two methods of bringing relief to patients, although both focus on pressure on specific parts of the body. This is how we can list the major differences between reflexology vs deep tissue massage:

  • Purpose
  • Techniques
  • Targeted areas
  • Targeted patients
  • Benefits
  • Cost

Here’s an overview of the main differences between reflexology practice and deep tissue massage that you may find intriguing.

Purpose

While reflexology’s purpose is to improve the function of your organs, deep tissue treatment mostly aims to release tension throughout your stiff muscles and relieve the pain. Deep tissue treatment is a great solution to injuries to your joints, spine, and muscles, whereas zonal therapy aka reflexology is more internally based and aims to light up your mood and reduce anxiety or depression. You probably wonder how it is all done. Move on to the next part to learn how both treatments use different techniques in order to bring you their best results.

Techniques

Reflexology involves small muscle movements of the therapist’s hands, thumbs, and fingers, whereas deep tissue treatment uses large muscle movements of the hands, feet, arms, and elbows.

Zonal therapy generally uses only the fingers of the reflexology therapist to provide relief, while deep tissue therapists may include a variety of essential oils or lotions during the massage session.

In reflexology, the healing process is based on stimulating the nervous system through reflex points, while deep tissue massage cures by direct contact with muscle and connective tissue. What are the target areas of both forms of treatment?

Targeted Areas

Zonal therapy is applied to specific areas of the body, whereas deep tissue treatment can be performed on the muscles and connective tissue of the entire body, depending on the problem you’re having. Reflexology uses body maps that are on the feet, hands, and face, whereas deep tissue massage doesn’t.

While a deep tissue massage can be assisted by a reflexology treatment, reflexology includes the feet, hands, and face only. Zonal therapy promotes a response in an area removed from the stimulated reflex point, whereas deep tissue massage focuses on a local response in the muscles and connective tissue.

Targeted Patients

Zonal therapy has a positive effect on emotions and relieves stress, whereas deep tissue treatment uses deep pressure on the body zones for patients suffering from chronic muscle tension or areas that ache or feel contracted.

Among many types of therapies, deep tissue treatment is useful for areas of hypertension, such as a stiff neck or sore shoulders, while reflexology is a more universal type of therapy and improves general health and well-being, even if you don’t have any current health problems.

Benefits

Reflexology improves the function of the organs through reflexive stimulation, whereas deep tissue massage therapy changes the tissue through direct stimulation. For example, according to zonal therapy, tenderness on the side of the heel can be a symptom of dysfunction in the pelvic area, and your little finger symbolizes… the small intestine!

The benefits of reflexology are improved blood circulation, relaxation, and stress reduction, while deep tissue massage can reduce chronic pain, release muscle tension, and correct poor posture.

Deep tissue massage specifically targets the trigger points that cause muscle knots and pulled muscles, whereas reflexology stimulates your body’s nerve function and increases your energy levels.

Cost

Deep tissue massage pricing is usually from $95 to $160, while reflexology treatment can cost between $60-90 for a fifty-minute massage session, or $30-50 for a 25-minute one.

These prices vary depending on the country, the experience of the licensed massage therapists, and the medical facility or SPA centers. The cost also strictly depends on your choice of a massaged area. If a reflexology session includes feet, hands, and the face, the package will have the highest price, similar to a deep tissue full-body massage option.

Which One Is Better for Me?

Before choosing which of the two types of therapy is the better option, you need to take a few factors into consideration. Reflexology is a great choice if you’re looking for a holistic approach to healing, while deep tissue treatment focuses on easing muscle tension and bringing pain relief.

Keep in mind that it’s always crucial to consider medical conditions that these treatments may possibly exacerbate and to consult with a professional therapist. Both reflexology and deep tissue massage might result in several benefits. It all comes down to personal preference and discussing your health condition with trained practitioners. By choosing the right form of treatment, you will not only relax and improve your overall well-being but also may be able to solve several health issues.

If You Have Digestive Problems…

Reflexology! Zonal therapy can bring relief from stomach bloating, constipation, and other digestive problems you may be having. Keep in mind it can take time to find the cause and bring back a state of balance.

According to zonal therapy, there are specific pressure points connected to our stomach. A series of reflexology sessions can help increase blood flow and stimulation to the digestive system and decrease stress in that area. With stress reduction, your body will start to heal itself.

If You Are Suffering from Severe Headaches and Migraines…

Reflexology! While deep tissue may be a good therapy option when you suffer from tension headaches, reflexology is believed to help cure headaches of many different sources.

There are a few studies that have looked into how stimulating pressure points on the head can relieve tension headaches. Some research also shows that stimulating pressure points is an effective treatment for migraine relief.

If You Have Chronic Pain and/or Sports Injuries…

Deep tissue massage! Deep tissue treatment is a form of massage generally used to treat musculoskeletal problems, such as pain and sports injuries, and is therefore popular among athletes.

During the session, a therapist will apply sustained pressure using slow, deep strokes. This way they will target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissues and help break up scar tissue. This way your pain in muscle and tissue will be significantly reduced.

If You Are Suffering From Muscle Tension…

Deep tissue massage! Deep tissue massage targets chronic tension in muscles that lie deep in your body. During this type of therapy, strokes, pressure, and friction go across the muscle grain.

Muscle adhesions can block circulation and cause tension. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking them down to restore movement and release tension. Deep tissue sessions are especially useful in helping with chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.

References:

Quinn C, Chandler C, Moraska A. Massage therapy and frequency of chronic tension headaches. Am J Public Health. 2002 Oct;92(10):1657-61. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.10.1657. PMID: 12356617; PMCID: PMC1447303.

-Xu JH, Mi HY. A randomized controlled trial of acupressure as an adjunctive therapy to sodium valproate on the prevention of chronic migraine with aura. Medicine (Baltimore). 2017 Jul;96(27):e7477. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000007477. PMID: 28682918; PMCID: PMC5502191.

-Majchrzycki M, Kocur P, Kotwicki T. Deep tissue massage and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for low back pain: a prospective randomized trial. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014 Feb 23;2014:287597. doi: 10.1155/2014/287597. PMID: 24707200; PMCID: PMC3953439.

-Uryzaj R, Kuklinska A, Cabak A. THE EFFECT OF DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE ON TENSION REDUCTION IN THE STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS OF THE SUPERFICIAL BACKLINE. Polish Journal of Sports Medicine. (2016). 32. 157-163. 10.5604/1232406X.1223275.