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What are the Pros and Cons of Reflexology Therapy?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Reflexology therapy is the manipulation of the hands, feet, or ears to improve health through one’s chi or life force. Like any alternative medicine, reflexology has both pros and cons. For example, some people claim the therapy improves their physical and emotional well being. Another pro of this alternative medicine is that it is not at all invasive and has few known side effects; it is essentially a light massage. One con, however, is that the therapy is not scientifically proven to mentally or physically improve a person’s health. In fact, reflexoligsts as a whole have not agreed on how the therapy works.

Reflexologists believe that by touching a certain part of the hand or foot, they can promote healing in the corresponding body part. This was previously known as zone therapy and other names, dating back hundreds of years. Many believers in this type of therapy claim to feel less stressed and healthier after a therapy session. Sometimes they may even feel tired and contribute the fatigue to their body detoxifying due to the reflexology therapy. It is generally recommended to drink extra water during the 24 hours after therapy to help the body detoxify.

Unlike herbs and some other alternative medicines, reflexology therapy has virtually no potential to cause ill side effects. Some reflexogolists claim that feeling more fatigued than normal is usual because the body is working to make itself healthier. Other than this, however, someone who undergoes reflexology therapy either benefits or does not, and usually does not need to worry about the therapy conflicting with other medicines. This is sometimes an attractive factor for people who have tried many potential solutions to their health problems, but have not found one that works well. For these people, they can try the therapy for a moderate price, then continue or drop it it as they see fit.

Reflexology remains a type of medicine that is not scientifically proven to work beyond the placebo effect. There is also no scientific evidence that chi or a life force exists. Due to this, reflexology is largely considered a pseudoscience.

While unproven alternative medicines seem to work for some people, it can do more harm than good if relied upon as a primary medicine. People with potentially life-threatening diseases or conditions should see a conventional doctor rather than a reflexologist. Reflexology therapy can still be used in conjunction with conventional medicine, but it is highly recommended to use conventional medicine as the primary medicine to not delay necessary treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Sep 14, 2013

@anamur-- I don't think that reflexology treatment is to cure any disease. I think of it as a prevention method. I believe that keeping the flow of energy regular in the body can prevent illnesses.

By serenesurface — On Sep 13, 2013

I think it's fine for people to get reflexology therapy for relaxation of body and mind. But I agree with the article that this therapy should not and cannot replace mainstream medicine.

My friend's mom decided to treat her diabetes with holistic therapy. Of course, it didn't work and she almost went into a coma. They barely got her to the hospital in time.

By stoneMason — On Sep 12, 2013

I won't deny it, I thought that reflexology was a scam and only had it done at the insistence of my friend. The treatment did not last long and felt quite relaxing. The next day though, I woke up so sore! My whole body was aching and I felt so tired!

After a few days, the aches and fatigue went away and instead I felt very energetic and positive.

I'm convinced that reflexology techniques work because how can something so simple and mild cause such detox symptoms if it didn't work? It definitely works and I plan on going for more sessions soon!

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