So what is it?
Reflexology Massage, which is also known as the zone therapy, is an alternative medicine technique in which massaging, stroking, squeezing, pressing, rubbing and pushing on
very specific areas of the feet, hands, and ears.
It is applied to promote or stimulate beneficial effects to other corresponding remote parts of the body, such
as the vital internal organs (heart, liver, brain, stomach, bladder, sinuses, spleen, gall bladder, pituitary
grand, adrenal gland, pancreas, kidneys, ureter, colon, small intestines, thyroid, bronchial tubes, coccyx, lungs,
and appendix) and other essential systems (voice, neck, throat, eyes, ears, armpits, shoulders, arms, breasts,
solar plexus, sciatic nerve, diaphragm, and Peyer’s patches). The intent is to improve the subject’s overall
health of the body as a whole and the mind.
Claims for Reflexology
The American Association of Reflexologists claims that Reflexology Massage results in improved
blood circulation, detoxification of metabolic wastes, reductions of tension and the facilitation of the body’s
capability to heal itself. The Association also claims that Reflexology Massage is effective for back
pain, migraines, infertility, arthritis and a long string of other mind and body problems.
Since studies and research failed to reach clinical conclusions about the effectiveness of Reflexology Massage,
medical professionals of the Western persuasion have repeatedly expressed concerns that the belief in this practice
may dangerously delay treatments of potentially serious health conditions.
They have even resorted to calling reflexology’s claim to maneuver energy (gi) pseudoscientific as there is no
scientific evidence for the existence of life energy, crystalline structures, or energy pathways in the human
In the United States, the same medical critics and others disapprove of the lack of medical training and the
short duration of training such as it is. They further disparage over the fact that there exists no central
regulation for accrediting and licensing Reflexology Massage therapists.
Conversely, several European countries, among them Switzerland, require reflexologists to be trained and
licensed medical practitioners with a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.
However, based on ancient Chinese healing, reflexologists claim that the human body contains an invisible energy
field which is the life force or the gi and they insist that a blockage or an obstruction of this life force
prevent or puts off the body’s natural inclination for self healing and the improvement of health and
History of relexology
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat specialist and his partner Dr. Edwin Bowers are said to have
been the first to pioneer reflexology in the United States in 1913. Referring to their theory as “zone
therapy”, Drs. Fitzgerald and Bowers claimed that, in fact, imposing pressure at some very specific sites of the
body provides analgesic and anesthetic effects on other distant parts. This is exactly the thought behind
In the 1930s and 1940s, Eunice D. Ingham, a nurse and a physiotherapist, declared that the hands and feet are
particularly receptive and proceeded to diagram the entire body into associated impulse or reflex points on the
feet. By doing so, Ingham changed the previously spoken of “zone therapy” to “reflexology” or “reflexology
massage” and his charted reflexes are still followed today.
Whether Reflexology Massage truly attains the exact results it alleges to attain is, in my opinion, not all that
important. The more important issue here is the fact that a vigorous massage to the hands and feet feels so
very good, especially after a hard day’s work, that it must be therapeutic in one way or another.
Or maybe it just feels good and that’s OK too.
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