Living Well

Reflexology or massage?

livingwellThe Mountain Spirit Wellness building in Waynesville’s Frog Level area offers a pair of services that have the same goal — restoring comfort to hurting muscles and joints — but use different methods to get there. Masseuse Lynda Saffell and reflexologist Linda Neff took a few minutes to explain the benefits of their work and how they differ from each other.

Smoky Mountain News: How would you describe your field? 

Lynda Saffell: The body heals itself when you’re relaxed. When you’re stressed, the body doesn’t heal itself — it’s more focused on survival. In general it helps with that, bringing the stress level down so the body can heal itself.

Linda Neff: You’re working actually where the body is blocked or where there’s reflex points, which is similar to acupuncture points. You’re working to release those and release the tension in the body.

SMN: How do your fields differ? 

LS: Reflexology is about accessing specific reflex points in the body. Massage is more addressing the whole body system, even though you can sometimes focus on a specific area. It’s more flowing movements as opposed to working to some certain reflex points.

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LN: I work specifically on places that are needing help and those are identified by pain or aches. Massage uses the same thing, but in reflexology I’m either stimulating or I’m sedating.

SMN: How does your work benefit your patients? 

LS: Stress relief, recovery from injury, increased quality of life, maintaining physical functionality. 

LF: Improved circulation and nervous stimulation, injury recovery, increased energy, improved quality of life. 

SMN: Some of those benefits sound pretty similar. Why should a prospective client opt for one treatment or the other? 

LS: I think both are helpful. It just may be a personal preference. (For example), there are some people that are just more modest than others, and they have a hard time relaxing because they’re naked under the sheet.

LN: There’s so many modalities out there that not just one is recommended. It’s whatever the person find helps them. 

— by Holly Kays, staff writer

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