Reflexologists propose that when invisible forces or energy fields in the body are blocked or become imbalanced, the human immune system is weakened, and illness can result. This concept has been taken for granted for many thousands of years outside western culture, but nevertheless it is a foreign or at least not scientifically proven by western medicine standards.
There are several theories that explain the mechanisms behind reflexology, but none of these are scientifically proven, since there is no laboratory instrument which is capable of recording the different states of this invisible human energy field at the present.
According to the principles of reflexology, certain areas of the human body correspond to different parts of the body elsewhere, since the human nervous system projects its network circuits onto specific parts of the body such as the back, face, hands, and feet. By stimulating one of these reflected circuits, the human nervous system promotes healing by helping to increase the flow of vital energy to the part of the body which is being ill or imbalanced.
Reflexology treatments apply pressure to specific points or areas of the face, hands, or feet. Since areas of the face or feet correspond to different parts of the body, and applying pressure to these areas can affect the corresponding parts of the body.
Reflexology may also promote healing by releasing endorphins, which are natural pain killers in the body and can be much more gentle and effective than morphine. Reflexology could also stimulate nerve circuits, promote lymphatic flow, or help dissolve uric acid crystals.
For thousands of years, techniques similar to reflexology have been used in Egypt, China, Japan, and Vietnam. Around the world and throughout history, reflexology has been rediscovered and reinstated as a health practice time and time again by people around the globe seeking to deal with health concerns. Archeological evidence found in Egypt (2300 BC), China (2700 BC) points to ancient reflexology medical systems. In the West, the concept of reflexology began to emerge in the 19th century, based on research into the nervous system and reflex.
A technique called “zone therapy” was developed in the early 20th century by an American physician named William Fitzgerald. Dr. Fitzgerald suggested that maps of the foot could be used to diagnose and treat medical conditions. He divided the body into ten zones and labeled what he believed to be the corresponding parts of the human body projected on each foot. He proposed that gentle pressure on the appropriate foot could bring relief to the corresponding zone which needs treatment.
In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a nurse and physiotherapist, further developed these maps to include specific reflex points. Zone therapy was renamed to reflexology. Reflexology charts are diagrams of the feet with corresponding parts of the body. The right foot corresponds to the right side of the body, and the left foot corresponds to the left side.
Modern reflexologists use Ingham’s methods, or similar techniques developed by the reflexologist Laura Norman. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physical therapists, and nurses may also use reflexology to complement and enhance the effectiveness of their treatments.
In the 1980s, Professor Bui Quoc Chau, a Vietnamese acupunturist proposed a new reflexology system which includes more than 500 specific reflex points projected onto the human face. Since the face is in close proximity to the human brain and torso, the treatment can be more effective, and the effect can be more immediate. There is a legend regarding his discovery of this new reflexology system. In the Vietnamese language, the human face is called “guong mat” which literally means “a face with mirror like quality”. This very term led him to believe that there is a possible mirror projection of the human body onto its own face. Facial reflexology is called “Dien Chan” in Vietnamese and has become popular in Australia, Europe, and North America since the late 1990s.
Scientists have studied reflexology and have provided scientific evidence on the effectiveness of reflexology therapies without the use of traditional medication for many major health issues. Please visit the reference section below, for more information regarding the scientific evidence compiled by the faculty of the Havard medical school.
Herbal medicine, acupuncture, and reflexology are considered alternate medicine by Western medicine practice. A physcian practicing Western medicine may know nothing about alternate medicine since it is not taught and he or she may be discouraged to learn it. There are many reasons behind it and many may not be in the patient’s best interests. In the quest to find the right therapies and treatment for your illness, you may wonder why don’t more doctors use alternative medicine when the traditional treatment is ineffective ? Although alternate medicine is being used by many, too many mainstream doctors today become specialist that they treat the body parts and forget they are treating the whole body. This is fine for surgery, emergency or trauma but not for perpetuating good health.
The following chart shows an overview of where reflexology stands and some of its immediate benefits in the world of medicine known to men. Even though western medicine is the most potent, it is ineffective in the treatment of many illnesses which can be treated effectively with herbal medicine or reflexology. Vice versa, herbal medicine and reflexology simply cannot perform the role of western medicine in surgeries and emergency procedures. Of course, there are many other types of illnesses which cannot be cured regardless of the type of treatment.
A very important yet simple truth that is often ignored is this – it is not the doctor’s job to fight the war on disease. It is the patient’s own immune system that must win that war. The doctor’s job is to help the patient’s immune system and provide the tools with which it can fight. If he is not doing that for whatever reason, the illness will win in the end, and the patient will depart this world much sooner than later.
Links & References:
1. Reflexology: A report compiled by the faculty of Harvard Medical School.
Synopsis: Scientists have studied reflexology for the following health problems. Reflexology has been suggested for many other uses, based on tradition or on scientific theories. However, these uses have not been thoroughly studied in humans, and there is limited scientific evidence about safety or effectiveness. Some of these suggested uses are for conditions that are potentially life-threatening. Consult with a health care provider before using reflexology for any use.
2. New Acupuncture Method: Face Diagnosis and Cybernetic Therapy (1985).
Synopsis: Face Diagnosis and Cybernetic Therapy are based upon the reflection of the entire human body on the face. Face diagnosis is characterized by a system of diagrams drawn on the face – such that each diagram bears its network of classical channels and acupuncture points. This network of channels and points do not belong to the same system of classical acupuncture channels found on the face; rather, it follows a new and independent system of reflection pattern via diagrams. The new method has proved itself to be effective on a wide scale in a large field of therapy.
3. Facial Reflexology: A Self-Care Manual
Synopsis: Facial Reflexology, Product Image Healing Arts Press, an imprint of Inner Traditions, has given the reading public a fine book about facial reflexology. This is a Vietnamese system of facial acupressure. Also known as Dien Chan, the system was developed by doctors in Vietnam during the 1980s. It is a less invasive approach in its application of energy placement. There are thirteen basic summary diagrams. These locate the fifty-seven numbered facial points for the entire body. Instructions for a point-by-point approach to 200 common ailments is given. A comprehensive healing tool, this book will find a home with many readers. Muller excels in her book to give the reader much needed information that is helpful and healthful.
Author: Marie-France Muller, MD
4. The original developer of Vietnamese Facial Reflexology
Synopsis: Complete work of Professor Bui Quoc Chau and documented experiences from his students and patients regarding Vietnamese Facial Reflexology (mostly in Vietnamese text).