The Various Points of Comparison Between Acupressure and Reflexology

Reflexology and acupressure are both pressure point bodywork modalities but are different from one another. They are both ancient practices that were used by our ancestors as body touch forms of healing but are still widely used in many cultures and countries.  A lot of people cannot tell the differences between the two and confuse one for the other. But if you wish to know the points of comparison between them, then the following given points will be of use to you.

comparison between acupressure and reflexology

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is an Asian bodyworks therapy which is based primarily on Chinese medicine theories and believes the body’s energy or qi runs through meridians which are channels spread across the body. These channels or meridians have twelve main organs associated with them along with eight extra or helper meridians.  Along these meridians lie certain points which can be stimulated with acupuncture needles during an acupuncture session.

Some of the techniques that can be applied in this practice include thumb pressure, finger pressure, pressure using a foot, heat through an herb called mugwort, pressure using arm or elbow, scraping tools made of stone or bone, plastic or glass cups containing vacuum pressure etc. An acupressure session may also involve stretching the body, stimulating points, holding points and thereupatic massaging of the points or meridian channels.

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology on the other hand is a technique which is used on feet, hands or ears rather than on the whole body in comparison to acupressure.  This technique believes that micro maps of the human body reflect each organ or gland, body part or internal organ on these extremities.

There are many forms of reflexology and some of them include ayurvedic reflexology, Taiwanese reflexology, zone therapy, gentle touch reflexology, chi reflexology and many others.  What makes this practice different from acupressure is the fact that it is not exclusive to Asia.

Reflexology was developed by Drs William Fitzgerald and Edwin Bowers and involves the manipulation of the feet, but to a lesser degree as well as the hands and ears.  It is said that specific zones on the feet correspond with various glands, organs and body parts. When a person or professional uses reflexology, then he /she presses the specific areas of the foot which corresponds with the problem area of the patient.

From the point of view of the patient or client, these techniques may be very similar but from the point of view of the practitioner, they are very different. In both practices, patients remain fully clothed and their shoes are removed for comfort while the treatment method is going on.

While both the techniques are rooted in Asian tradition, reflexology practitioners believe that they tap into the flow of chi by manipulating the feet, reflexology is more of a recent development. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine do not offer reflexology treatments. The pressure points in reflexology tend to be different from those used in acupressure.