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 reflexology pointsa few of the most common reflexology points of the feetreflexology points

 reflexology points of the feet

Foot Reflexology

is a "pressure therapy" and involves applying focused pressure to certain known "reflex" points located in the foot, which correspond to certain other areas in the body. This is as simple an explanation as for work that is far more valuable than any definition of itself. Some of the recognized benefits from receiving a reflexology treatment include increased circulation, relaxation, and release of tensions. Other benefits (for which clinical proof may not yet exist) discovered through my own use of this ancient tool include clearing of emotional debris, detoxification of organs, rejuvenation of tired tissues and cells, balancing of the auric field, grounding, and greater facilitation of any other energy method used.

No one really knows how old reflexology is, although there is substantial information to suggest it may have been used as long ago as 5,000 years, both in China and Egypt. There is a passage in the bible (in Corinthians, I beleive) that would seem to suggest that the early Christians knew about it. I always felt that the tradition of washing the feet and annointing the feet with oil carried medicinal significance, in addition to the traditional teachings associated with humility and being of service.

According to one text on the subject ("The Art of Reflexology" by Inge Dougans), modern reflexology springs from the research of Sir Henry Head of London, back in the 1890's. I found it interesting that the Russian emphasis, with regard to reflexology, was from a psychological point of view. From the Germans, around that same time period, came "reflex massage". In American circles, Dr. William Fitzgerald is credited as founder of "Zone Therapy", which is based on dividing the body into 5 zones on each side. Dr. Fitzgerald did not treat the reflex zones of the feet as particularly important, in contrast to the source of my own training.

The work of Eunice Ingham, whose work also dealt with "zone therapy" but with particular emphasis on working with the zones through the reflexes located in the feet.

Reflexology is easy to learn, and easy to do. I would encourage anyone with an interest in alternative healing modalities to study reflexology, and integrate it into whatever work you now do. I find that a brief reflexology treatment at the end of an energy session helps to balance, ground and detox on very deep levels. At other times, there may only need to be one reflex worked but it will correlate to the healing that is needed. It is such a versatile tool that it can be unobtrusively included with any other kind of work done, and is so enjoyable that most people are grateful for the inclusion, even if they do not consciously understand the interplay and interconnection between the modalities.

Reflexology Reseach includes:

Alzheimer's
* Alzheimer's patients saw a reduction in body stiffness and arthritis as well as alleviation of the illness's symptoms of restlessness and wandering following reflexology work.

"Old age converts to the New Age," Daily Mail, September 14, 1995

Amenorrhea
* Results of study: 95% of women who experienced amenorrhea found foot reflexology to be effective in alleviating symptoms.

Xiu-hua, Xu, "Analysis of 50 Cases of Amenorrhea Treated by Foot Reflex Therapy," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 36

Birthing
• Of 593 women who gave birth at Gentofte County Hospital (Great Britain) in 1988, 103 chose reflexology as an alternative to both pain killing drugs and to labor stimulating and inducing drugs. Of sixty-eight women who chose reflexology with no analgesic drugs, sixty one(89.71%) stated that reflexology had helped reduce pain., six (8.82%) felt no effect, and, one had increased pain in spite of reflexology treatment. Four of the sixty-one women who were helped by reflexology also required pain medication. Of forty-nine women who chose reflexology to stimulate labor, twenty-four gave birth without additional drug treatment. Fourteen women who were candidates for surgical delivery, received reflexology treatment between 30 and 60 minutes of birth. Eleven (78.57%) were then able to discharge the placenta. The other three had it surgically removed. All participants, except one, found the reflexology treatments extremely pleasant.

"Easier Births Using Reflexology." By Gabriella Bering Liisberg, "Tidsskrift for Jordemodre", No. 3, 1989.

• Thirty-seven of 64 pregnant women, who were offered free reflexology, completed the set course of ten treatments. The effects of reflexology on labor outcomes were perceived as outstanding. Some had labor times of only 2 hours, some 3 hours. The 20 - 25 year olds had an average time of First stage labor of 5 or 6 hours. The 26 - 30 year olds seemed to have the longest labors. In total, the average first stage was 5 hours, second stage 16 minutes, and third stage 7 minutes. This is compared to textbook figures of 16 to 24 hours' first stage, and, 1 to 2 hour's second stage.

"The Effects of Reflexology on Labour Outcome," Dr. Gowri Motha and Dr. Jane McGrath, Forest Gate, London, England

• FDZ- Reflexology: Birth, (12 pages) http://www.fdz.dk/english/research/reports.htm.

• Siu-lan, Li and Cai-xia, Shu, "Galactogogue Effect of Foot Reflexology in 217 Parturient Women," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), p. 14

• Sorrig, Kirsten, "Easier Births Using Reflexology, "Danish Reflexologists Association, Research Committee Report, Feb., 1995 (Originally published in the Danish daily newspaper "Berlingske Tidende," July 15, 1988)

• Xi Guang, Xi, "A Case Report: Using Foot Reflexotherapy to Cure Sequelae of Asphyxia with Buttocks Position Birth," 1994 China Reflexology Symposium Report, p. 33 (Tianjin)

Cancer
* Results of study: Reflexology modifies the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer. "87 patients participated in the study and each received a 10-minute reflexology foot massage (5 minutes per foot). The results revealed that the treatments produced a significant and immediate effect on the patients' perceptions of pain, nausea and relaxation when measured with a visual analog scale. The use of reflexology foot massage as a complementary method is recommended as a relatively simpler nursing intervention for patients experiencing nausea or pain related to the cancer experience. The results were so positive that the researchers recommend that further research using larger numbers of patients in controlled clinical trials into its effectiveness of reflexology in alleviating pain, nausea and anxiety in the management of these symptoms by the family at home is warranted."

Grealish, L. Lomasney, A., Whiteman, B., "Foot Massage: A nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer," Cancer Nurse 2000, June;23(3):237-43 (On-line review: "Reflexology Used for Cancer Patients," Internet Health Library, October 11, 2000)

* Results of study: 100% of the reflexology group benefited from an improvement in quality of life: appearance, appetite, breathing, communication (doctors), communication (family), communication (nurses), concentration, constipation, diarrhoea, fear of future, isolation, micturition, mobility, mood, nausea, pain, sleep and tiredness. Within the reflexology group, the participants reported an improvement in all components of the quality of life scale compared to 67. 5 in the placebo group. Nevertheless, this study would suggest that the provision of reflexology for palliative patients within the general setting could be beneficial. Not only did the patients in this study enjoy the intervention, they were also 'relaxed,' 'comforted' and achieved relief from some of their symptoms.

Hodgson, H. "Does reflexology impact on cancer patients' quality of life?," Nursing Standard, 14, 31, pp. 33-38

* Results of study: Foot reflexology alleviated anxiety and pain for twenty-three patients with breast and lung cancer. Researchers noted a significant decrease in anxiety for patients diagnosed with breast or lung cancer and a significant decrease in pain for patients with breast cancer. "This has important implications for nursing practice as both professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology. Reflexology is a simple technique for human touch which can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is non-invasive and does not interfere with patients' privacy."

Stephenson, N. L., Weinrich, S. P. and Tavakoli, A. S., "The effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and pain in patients with breast and lung cancer," OncolNursForum 2000, Jan.-Feb.;27(1):67-72

• "In Switzerland, many new nurses are taught this approach. When applied skillfully, a reflexology massage is pleasantly relaxing and able to diminish painful sensations in the body. Given the number of uncontrollable variables involved in the decrease of pain and the establishment of a feeling of relaxation, our small study has no scientific value. It was only intended to motivate nurses to look for ways to integrate aspects of alternative care in the management of terminal patients. … "Our purpose for using reflexology with these patients was to decrease their pain but we soon realized the beneficial effect of reflexology on the morale of patients and families. Something was being done for them. Patients expressed feelings of being less abandoned and the families expressed satisfaction at seeing that something painless existed that could aid their relative. In three situations we taught a relative how to use reflexology and the benefit seemed to have been as important for the relative as for the patient. … "Patients' comments about reflexology seem to show that it could be one way for them to feel this support and to have a helping presence near them in their last days."(Dobbs, Barbara Zeller, "Alternative health approaches," Nursing Mirror (England), Vol. 160, No. 9, Feb. 27, 1985)(Can Nurse 82: 39-41 (1986)\Reflexology\Dobbs-Zeller B\MeSH Terms:\ * Aged\ * English Abstract\ * Female\ * Foot\ * Human\ * Male\ * Middle Age\ * Neoplasms/physiopathology*\ * Pain, Intractable/therapy*\ * Reflexotherapy/methods*\ * Terminal Care\ PMID: 3634658, MUID: 86189470)

Cardio-vascular system See Heart
* Results of study: "The reflexology and foot massage control groups experienced a significantly greater reduction in baroreceptor (of the heart) reflex sensitivity,…" "the mechanism that maintains blood pressure and homeostasis by changes in autonomic outflow."

Frankel, B. S. M., "The effect of reflexology on baroreceptor reflex sensitivity, blood pressure and sinus arrhythmia," Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Churchill, London, 1997, Vol. 5, pp. 80-84

Cerebral palsy
* Results of study: Children with cerebral palsy who received reflexology work show an improved growth rate over those who did not.

Rong-zhi, Wang, "An Approach to Treatment of Cerebral Palsy of Children by Foot Massage," A Clinical Analysis of 132 Cases," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 26

Cervical spondylosis
* Results of study: Individuals with cervical spondylosis were found to experience a higher clinical cure rate when treated with reflexology than those treated with traction.

Shouqing, Gui; Changlong, Zhang and Desheng, Luo, "A Controlled Clinical Observation on Foot Reflexology Treatment for Cervical Spondylopathy,"1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 99-103


Chest pain
Margaret Berker, a qualified reflexologist and member of the British Reflexology Association conducted an interesting small-scale study at the Cardiac Unit of the Queen Elizabeth hospital , Birmingham, UK, into the effects of reflexology on a group of four patients suffering from chest pain.

The patients were obtained from a consultant; all had all experienced pain for periods ranging between 18 months and 13 years and, cardiac catheterizations revealed that none of the patients had any identifiable disease of the cardiac arteries. Furthermore, none of the patients had had reflexology treatment prior to the study, nor were they encouraged to believe that the treatment would 'cure' their condition.

Reflexology treatments were given weekly over a period of eight weeks and the patients were asked to keep a diary to record their chest pain before and after treatments which specified (a) the number of episodes, (b) the intensity of the pain and (c) the duration of the pain.

Analysis of the data revealed that all of the patients recorded positive results; three of the four experienced a complete relief from their original symptoms after nine months and the remaining patient reported a reduction in pain.

Children, mentally retarded
* Results of study: The feet of mentally retarded children were found to be of abnormal color and to show abnormal toe shapes as opposed to other children. Feng, Gu; Zhao, Lingyun; Yuru, Yang; Jiamo, Hao; Shuwen, Cao and Xiulan, Zhang, "Comparative Study of Abnormal Signs in the Feet of Feebleminded Children," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 9 - 13

* Results of study: Mentally retarded children were shown to improve significantly in height, weight, health states, social living abilities, and intellectual development when receiving foot reflexology as opposed to those not receiving treatment. (G)

Lingyun, Yuru, Zhao; Yang Yuru, Feng gu; Jiamo, Hao; Shuwen, Cao and Xiulan, Zhang, "Observation on Improvement of Feeble-Minded Children's Social Abilities by Foot Reflexo-Therapy," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 24 - 28

Constipation
* Results of study: Not only do constipated individuals evacuate their bowels more quickly when receiving reflexology work but individuals with normal bowel function do also.

Yuru, Yang; Lingyun, Chao; Guangling, Meng; Scuwe, Cao; Jia-Mo, Hao and Suhui, Zhang, "Exploring the Application of Foot Reflexology to the Preventions and Treatment of Functional Constipation," 1994 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, p. 62

Coronary heart disease
* Results of study: Symptoms of coronary heart disease (chest distress and angina) disappear and a drop in blood pressure of 25/5 is achieved in those receiving foot reflexology work, results better than those achieved with medication.

Zhongzheng, Li and Yuchun, Liu, "Clinical observation on Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease with Foot Reflexotherapy," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 38 - 41

Diabetes
• Results of study: Diabetic individuals provided with foot reflexology and hypoglycemic agents show a significant change in measures of the disease as opposed to those who received hypoglycemic agents alone where no significant change was observed. Wang, X. M., "Type II diabetes mellitus with foot reflexotherapy," Chuang Koh Chuang Hsi I Chief Ho Teas Chi, Beijing, Vol. 13, Sept. 1993, pp 536-538

• Results of study: For individuals diagnosed as diabetic, hypoglycemic agents work better for those receiving reflexology work and the individuals show "marked improvement" in measures of the disease. Zhi-qin, Duan et. al., "Foot Reflexology Therapy Applied On Patients with NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetic mellitus)," 1993 China Reflexology Symposium, p. 24

• King, Ma, "Clinical Observation on Influence upon Arterial Blood Flow in the Lower Limbs of 20 Cases with Type II Diabetes Mellitus Treated by Foot Reflexology," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 97 - 99

Dyspepsia
* Results of study: Foot reflexology work was found to be more effective than drugs in treating dyspepsia.

Zhi-wen, Gong and Wei-song, Xin, "Foot Reflexology in the Treatment of Functional Dyspepsia: A Clinical Analysis of 132 Cases," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 37

Emotional Needs (See also Mental Health)

A recent British study found reflexology to provide beneficial effects on "women experiencing a need for emotional support." Fifteen women received 30-minute reflexology sessions for eight weeks. The findings included: physical improvements, emotional improvements, self-esteem and confidence, motivation, touch, increase in relaxation levels, being heard and taken seriously, concentration improvements. (Trousdale, Peta, "Reflexology meets emotional needs," International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, November, 1996, p. 9)

Enuresis
*The purpose of the study was to clarify whether reflexology is a relevant treatment for enuresis nocturna, and to test a research design applicable to controlled experiments with reflexology. An unblinded method was used comparing a treatment group (1) receiving reflexology to a non-treatment group (2) keeping the same record of symptoms. At the start of the study, the volumes of night urine in the two groups were comparable. By the end of the study, there was no significant decrease in the volume of night urine in either of the groups. Two children in the treatment group and one in the non-treatment group became dry during the night in the course of the study. In conclusion, reflexology given as 14 treatment sessions over a period of four months did not result in a significant fall in enuresis nocturna in children aged seven to eleven years old. It must be concluded that the treatment result can not be distinguished from the conditions in the non-treatment group even though the average night diuresis in group one showed a slightly decreasing tendency while morning diuresis increased, in contrast to group two which exhibited a slight increase in night diuresis. As the total diuresis remained constant, this could be interpreted as an increased urinary bladder capacity, but in both cases the changes were far from significant.

Comment in: Ugeskr Laeger 1999 Apr 12;161(15):2224 Sietam KS, Eriksen L Forenede Danske Zoneterapeuter, Kolding.

Free radicals
* Results of study: Foot reflexology work was found to decrease the free radicals present in test subjects.

Shouqing, Gui; Changlong, Zhang; Jixai, Dong and Desheng, Luoof, "A Preliminary Study on the Mechanisms of Foot Reflexo-Massage &emdash; Its Effect on Free Radicals," 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 128-135

Headache
• Results of study: 19% of headache sufferers ceased taking medication following reflexology work.

According to a large nationwide research study undertaken in Denmark, reflexology treatment has a beneficial effect on patients suffering from migraine and tension headaches. The study was conducted at the Department of Social Pharmacy, The Royal Danish School of Pharmacy in co-operation with five reflexology associations. 220 patients participated with treatment being given by 78 fully trained reflexologist across the country.

Headaches remain the most common health problem amongst the adult population and it has been estimated that they are the reason for the loss of three mil-lion working days every year. Reflexology is renowned for its ability to help relax and calm patients and for this reason it was considered an interesting therapy to study for the treatment of tension headaches and migraine.

Of all the patients who took part in the study, 90 percent said that they had taken prescribed medication for their headaches within the month prior to the commencement of the study and, of them, 36 percent had experienced side effects from the medicines. 81 percent of the prescribed medicine in the acetvlsalicyclic acid and paracetamol group was taken at least twice a week and 72% of the stronger migraine medicines were taken at least once a fortnight which indicates that the majority of the patients were suffering from moderate to severe symptoms. 34 percent had taken medications for ailments other than headaches.

Three months after a completed series of reflexology treatments, 81 percent of patients confirmed that reflexology had either cured (16%) or helped (65%) their symptoms. 19 percent of the patients re-ported that they had been able to completely dispense with the medications they had been taking before the study.

The reflexologist also found that there was a strong link between headaches and the gall bladder, stomach, bladder, and endocrine hormone meridians. At the end of the study the patients who benefited from the treatment showed less stress on the reflex points for the ovaries, small intestine, bladder, stomach, liver and kidneys than they had experienced on their first treatment. The likelihood of successful cure was found to be greatest for: a) those patients whom the reflexologist found no stress on the reflex zones of the uterus or gall bladder, and b) younger patients who had suffered from headaches for a short period of time.

Brendstrup, Eva and Launsø, Laila, "Headache and Reflexological Treatment," The Council Concerning Alternative Treatment, The National Board of Health, Denmark, 1997

Heart See Cardio-Vascular System
Ten recipients of reflexology work and ten recipients of foot massage work were compared to a control group of four individuals in a single blind study. Frankel found that "The reflexology and foot massage groups showed significantly greater reductions in baroreceptor reflex sensitivity compared to the control group. This study found no significant difference in blood pressure after intervention. The frequency of sinus arrhythmia after reflexology and foot massage increased by 43.9% and 34.1% respectively."

Frankel, B. S. M., "The effect of reflexology on baroreceptor reflex sensitivity, blood pressure and sinus arrhythmia," Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Churchill, London, 1997, Vol. 5, pp. 80-84

Hospice / Palliative care

See Cancer: Hodgson, H. "Does reflexology impact on cancer patients' quality of life?," Nursing Standard, 14, 31, pp. 33-38

See Cancer: Dobbs, Barbara Zeller, "Alternative health approaches," Nursing Mirror (England), Vol. 160, No. 9, Feb. 27, 1985

• A recent study found that reflexology as applied to palliative care cancer patients did not warrant the hiring of a reflexologist to provide services. "While patients greatly enjoyed the treatments, there was no discernible defiance in outcome between those receiving reflexology and those receiving standard foot massage.… "Both treatments were administered weekly for six weeks by any one of three therapist, who had agreed standardised methods." (Cornbleet, Michael A.m "Research in complementary medicine is essential (Letter to the Editor), British Medical Journal, March 24, 2001)

Hyperlipimia
* Results of study: Individuals who receive foot reflexology show an improvement in symptoms of hyperlipimia (cholesterol and monoglyceride). Shou-qing, Gui; Xian-qing, Xiao; Yuna-zhong, Li; and Wan-yan, Fu, "Impact of the Massotherapy Applied to Foot Reflexes on Blood Fat of Human Body," 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, p. 21

Infantile Pneumonia
* Results of study: Infants who receive both medication and reflexology work recovered from infantile pneumonia more quickly than those who receive medication alone. Liang-cai, Pei, "Observation of 58 Infantile Pneumonia by Combined Method of Medication with Foot Massage, A Clinical Analysis of 132 Cases," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 34

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
"Reflexology does not help patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a study has found. The complementary therapy, in which points in the feet are massaged in a particular way to ease discomfort in other parts of the body, was assessed in a study published in the British Journal of General Practice."

"Thirty-four patients with IBS were recruited from four GP practices. The study was approved and carried out in consultation with reflexologists. Half the patients received six 30 minute reflexology treatment sessions. The other half saw heath care staff for the same amount of time but received no reflexology treatment. Patients were asked to record symptoms for two weeks before their first session, two weeks after and for a fortnight three months after their treatment had ended. Severity of abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhoea and bloating were measured but the Leeds team, led by Dr. Philip Tovey, said none showed reflexology made no positive difference."

Dr. Tovey of the School for Healthcare Studies at the University of Leeds, noted that "While due caution would be exercised in generalising from a single study, the nature of the data is such that clear conclusions can be drawn. However, more research is needed, not only to test these initial findings but also to extend the range of participants to, for instance, those newly diagnosed with IBS Reflexology in particular remains not just under-researched but almost un-researched - something that is quite startling given the extent of its use." (Reported December 31, 2001 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_1723000/17232900.stm)

Kidney function
* Results of study: Kidney function improves after the application of reflexology work. "Using colour (sic) Doppler sonography blood flow changes of the right kidney during foot reflexology were determine in a placebo-controlled, double blind, randomised (sic) study. 32 healthy young adults (17 women, 15 men) were randomly assigned to the verum or placebo group. The verum group received foot reflexology at zones corresponding to the right kidney, the placebo group was treated on other foot zones. Before, during and after foot reflexology, the blood flow of three vessels of the right kidney was measured using colour Doppler sonography. Systolic peak velocity and end diastolic peak velocity was measured in cm/s, and the resistive index a parameter of the vascular resistance, was calculated. The resistive index in the verum group showed a highly significant decrease (p</=0.001) during and an increase (p=0.001) after foot reflexology. There was no difference between men and women and no difference between smokers and non-smokers. Verum and placebo groups significantly differed concerning alterations of the restive index, both between the measuring points before versus during foot reflexology (p=0.002) and those during versus after reflexology (p=0.031). The significant decrease of the resistive index during foot reflexology in the verum (treatment) group indicates a decrease of flow resistance in the renal vessels and an increase of renal blood flow. These findings support the hypothesis that organ-associate foot reflexology is effective in changing renal blood flow during therapy."

(PMID: 14060981, UI: 99392031)Sudmeier, I., Bodner, G., Egger, I., Mur, E., Ulmer, H. and Herold, M. (Universitatsklinik fur Innere Medizin, Inssbruk, Austria) "Anderung der nierendurchblutung durch organassoziierte reflexzontherapie am fuss gemussen mit farbkodierter doppler-sonograhpie," Forsch Komplementarmed 1999, Jum;6(3):129-34 (PMID: 14060981, UI: 99392031)

Kidney and Ureter Stones
* Results of study: Lithotrity (external crushing of kidney and ureter stones) patients experienced less pain, began excretion of stones earlier, and completed excretion earlier than those who did not receive reflexology work.

Xiaojian, Ying, "Foot Reflexology as an Accessory Treatment after External Lithotrity a Clinical Observation of 46 Cases," 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 58 - 59

Kidney
A few years ago, researchers at Glostrop hospital, Copenhagen, demonstrated that reflexology can help relieve the acute pain suffered by patients with kidney stones. 30 patients participated in the study and were divided equally into three groups: one group received reflexology treatment, one group received placebo treatment and the remaining groups were used as controls.

If no pain relief was experienced within 5 minutes, the treatment would end for analgesic medications, but those who experienced a benefit within 5 minutes, treatment was continued for a further 10 minutes. The results showed that 9 out of the 10 patients in the reflexology group experienced complete pain relief after the treatment which lasted for over an hour and in 5 of the patients pain was relieved for 4 hours.

Medical doctors Niels Baekgaard and Vibe Hansen, who conducted the study, concluded that "Reflexology treatment of acute ureterolithiasis has a pain relieving effect" and when compared to Baralgin (a commonly administered analgesic), the findings revealed that reflexology actually works faster at alleviating pain although the effects last for a shorter duration.

FDZ Magazine 'Zoneterapeuten' No 6, 1993

Leukopenia
* Results of study: Foot reflexology work was found to be more effective than medication in effecting leukopenia, low white blood cell count. (A pathological level of white blood cell count) Ya-zhen, Xu, "Treatment of Leukopenia with Reflexotherapy," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 32-37

Mental Health
A reflexologist and a counsellor worked with 74 people (49 receiving reflexology and 25 receiving counselling) between May 1996 and August 1997. Findings: (1) A reported increase in relaxation levels and decrease in anxiety levels (except for 2 reflexology participants). (2) Release of tension through being able to talk led to greater relaxation, alleviating headaches and improving sleep. (3) Participants developed and increased awareness of tension and increased ability to change that state. (4) Improvement in emotional status, Fear, worry and despair were considered to have changed into more positive and fulfilling emotions. Greater progress when reflexology and counselling were offered together.

Peta Trousdell and Andrea Uphoff-Chmielnik, "Making connections: user perception of the effects of reflexology and counseling: an evaluation of a complementary health care project at Worthing Mind," September, 1997 (Copy of the report available from MIND Worthing, 8-10 Durrington Lane, Worthing, W. Sussex BN13 2QB, United Kingdom for 5 pounds)

Migraine headache
• "Foot reflexology is defined as massage of zones on the feet which correspond to different parts of the body. A medline-search yielded no literature in the field of foot reflexology. Indications for and results of foot reflexology have been extrapolated from case-descriptions and two pilot studies with small samples. One study (Lafuente et al.) found foot reflexology to be as helpful to patients with headaches as medication (flunarizine), yet foot reflexology was fraught with less side-effects than medication. In a second study (Eichelberger et al.) foot reflexology was used postoperatively on gynecological patients. The intervention group showed a lesser need for medication to enhance bladder tonus than did the control group. The literature describes foot reflexology as enhancing urination, bowel movements and relaxation." Foot reflex zone massage (Kesselring A, Institut fur Pflegeforschung, Bern.)

Heydenreich A., Institution: Abteilung Neurologie, Wilhelm-Pieck-Universitat, Rostock."Treatment of migraine with controlled reflex methods and stimulation therapy," Schweiz Med Wochenschr Suppl, 62: 88-93 (1994) Authors:. [Review] [0 refs] [German] Zeitschrift fur Arztliche Fortbildung. 82(24):1247-9, 1988.

MeSH Terms: English Abstract; Female; Flunarizine/therapeutic use; Foot*; Genital Diseases, Female/surgery; Headache/therapy; Headache/drug therapy; Human; Massage/methods*; Postoperative Complications/therapy; Reflexotherapy/methods*; Urination Disorders/therapy

Multiple sclerosis
Following a number of reports by reflexologists of MS patients benefiting from reflexology treatment, a small scale study was initiated backed by the Grampian branch of the Charity Action and Research for Multiple Sclerosis (GARMS) and the Scottish Institute of Reflexology.

GARMS provides regular hyperbaric oxygen therapy and physiotherapy for people with MS, and volunteers were asked to participate in reflexology study. Fourteen were assigned to a treatment group to receive a one hour reflexology treatment every week, and 13 patients were selected to act as a control group (one member dropped out leaving twelve who completed the study in the control group)

At the commencement of the study, participants were asked to asses nineteen of the most common symptoms as either minor, major or not applicable. The assessment was repeated after 6 weeks and 12 weeks when the participants also noted whether their symptoms had improved, worsened or not changed. The control were assessed using the same form at the same intervals as the treatment group, and both the treatment and control groups were asked at the time of the assessment whether on not their medication or diet had changed to assess possible external factors.

After 6 weeks, a significant number of people in the treatment group showed an improvement in their symptoms, and most of these improvements were maintained. During the second 6 week period, however, many of the participants had lost some of the improvements they had gained in the first 6 weeks; but after 18 weeks, the results revealed that those patients in the treatment group experienced some improvements in 45% of the symptoms compared to a much lower rate of 13% in the control group.

The results indicate that reflexology does offer some therapeutic benefit to MS patients especially in the first 6 weeks of treatment, although the treatment sessions need to be regular, and the benefits seem to diminish after twelve weeks.

Joyce M, Richardson R. Reflexology helps multiple sclerosis. JACM July 1997 10-12 (www.internethealthlibrary(

Pain of kidney and ureter stones
* Results of study: Reflexology work reduces the pain of those with kidney and ureter stones.

Eriksen, Leila, "Clinical Trials of Acute Uretic Colic and Reflexology," Reflexology: Research and Effect Evaluation in Denmark, Danish Reflexologists Association, Kolding, Denmark, 1993, p. 10

Mental Health (See also Emotional Needs)
"It is clear by the end of the research period that a significant number of participants had experienced many positive effects from the reflexology treatments." The findings of a study of "those in need of emotional support" were reported by Mind Affiliated Local Association Worthing in a publication titled "Making Connections, User Perception of the Effects of Reflexology & Counselling: an evaluation of a complementary health care project at Worthing Mind." Mind Worthing is an affiliate of national charity Mind.

• The study was conducted at a day centre or a drop-in centre. "The people included in the study were all in need of emotional support." They ranged in age from 18 to 65. Forty-nine individuals participated in the reflexology project and twenty-five in the counselling project between May 1996 and August 1997. "Most of the reflexology sample received reflexology once a week for eight weeks, and each treatment lasted thirty minutes. Qualitative data collection included "Confidential profiles" (individual responses to questions) and "Focus group questions" (responses gathered in groups of four to eight individuals).

• Findings from participant responses included: Improvement in physical aspects, significant improvement in emotional state, improvement in ability to concentrate, increase in motivation for a significant number of participants, significant increase in confidence and self-esteem levels, improvement in communication and ability to articulate ideas more effectively and readily, "importance of being touched during treatment in a safe non-intrusive / abusive manner," and reduction of medication by several.

• Reports of benefits by the centre's staffs were noted: "Both services (reflexology and counselling), it was reported, have in addition (to positive feedback from members) helped to alleviate pressure on staff and avert crises because some members becoming more relaxed and at ease as a result of having had reflexology and/or counselling."

• Assessment of cost-effectiveness included questions related to the cost of not providing reflexology and/or counselling services. At issue were expenses related to the cost of typical interventions such as psychotropic medications or consultation with a GP or Psychiatrist. Adverse outcomes for individual were noted to potentially include "psychiatric breakdown, attempted suicide, physical / sexual abuse of children, and inappropriate health care seeking behaviors."

(Trousdale, Peta and Uphoff-Chmielnik, Andrea, "Making Connections, User Perception of the Effects of Reflexology & Counselling: an evaluation of a complementary health care project at Worthing Mind," September 1997

Milk secretion in new mothers
* Results of study: Women who have recently given birth lactate earlier and more satisfactorily when given foot reflexology work. Siu-lan, Li, "Galactagogue Effect of Foot Reflexology in 217 Parturient Women," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996 p. 14

Neurodermatitis
* Results of study: Foot reflexology helped individuals with neurodermatitis avoid the side effects of drug therapy such as fatigue, sleeplessness and gastrointestinal symptoms. Zhi-ming, Liu and Song, Fang, "Treatment of Neurodermatitis by Foot Reflex Area Massage (with a test group of 15 and a control group of 15)," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 16

Nervous exhaustion
Recent research from China suggest that reflexology may be particularly helpful for patients suffering from nervous exhaustion.Twenty patients with a history of neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion) which had lasted between 1 &endash; 8 years were given a course of reflexology at the department of physiotherapy, 52884 Military Hospital.

The patients' chief symptoms were dizziness, insomnia, memory loss, indigestion and headaches. All had previously received long term medical treatment none of which had helped them.The reflexology treatments focused on the areas of the feet relating to the adrenal gland, kidneys, bladder, sinus, brain and heart. Those patients who suffered from associated digestive problems were also treated to the areas of the feet relating to spleen, stomach, duodenum and celiac, while those patients who suffered from headaches had the areas of the feet relating to the cerebellum and trigeminal nerves treated.

The reflexology treatments were given daily over a period of seven days and the results were quite remarkable:40% experienced complete 'cure', further 35% had greatly improved, and a further 15% had mildly improved. Only 10% showed no change at all to the treatment.

Duan Shuang-Feng. Foot reflexology in neurosism: Clinical Observation of 20 cases. Presented at the China reflexology symposium in Beijing (July 1993). Reflexology research reports (Association of Reflexologtists) 2nd edition

Post surgical pain
* Results of study: Post surgical patients who receive foot massage and medication report "significantly less" agony than those on painkillers alone.

"Foot Rubs Easing Pain," Third Age. com, December 4, 1998

Post surgical recovery
* Results of study: Researchers demonstrated that reflexology enhances urination, stimulates bowel movements and so aids recovery. Patients who received reflexology also showed a much less need for medication than patients in the control group.

Kesselring, A. Fussrelszonemassage. Schweiz med Won\chenschr suppi (Switzerland) 1994, 62, pp. 88-93

Pre-menstrual syndrome
* Results of study: Reflexology improves the symptoms of 46% of those suffering from PMS. Oleson, Terry and Flocco, William, "Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms Treated with Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology," Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1993;82(6): 906-11

(Hyperplasia of the) Prostate Xiao-li, Chen, "Hyperplasia of Prostate Gland Treated by Foot Reflex Area Health Promoting Method (with a group of 90 study participants)," 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, October 1996, pp. 32 - 33

Psoriasis Xi-guang, Xu and De-zhao, Liu, "Treatment of Psoriasis with Foot Reflexology," 1994 China Reflexology Symposium Report, p. 91 (Tianjin, China)

(Male) Sexual dysfunction
* Results of study: Reflexology was found to be 87.5% effective for men experiencing impotence and 100% effective for other male sexual dysfunctions.

Jianhua, Sun, "The Comparison of Curative Effects Between Foot Reflexology and Chinese Traditional Medicine in Treating 37 Cases with Male's Sexual Dysfunction," 1996 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, p. 75

Sinusitis
"Reflexology massage" was found to be as effective as nasal irrigation for alleviation of chronic sinusitis in a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine study. Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing reports that "After two weeks of daily treatment, more than 70 percent of those who practiced either form of nasal douching reported improved symptoms. But surprisingly, the group that practiced reflexology massage - where pressure is applied to the feet or hands but may produce changes elsewhere in the body - appeared to fare equally well. The unexpected results for this technique may prompt further research." ("The Saline Solution?, Self Healing, January 2002, page 2)"

• "Reflexology massage" was utilized as a control in the testing of two nasal irrigation study groups, nasal irrigation with a bulb syringe and nasal irrigation with a nasal irrigation pot. One hundred fifty individuals were randomly assigned to one of the three groups. "Groups one and two performed daily hypertonic saline irrigation for two weeks with one method (bulb syringe or nasal irrigation pot) and then switched to the other method for the following two weeks. Irrigation devices were collected and cultured after two weeks of use. Group three (the control) performed reflexology massage daily for two weeks. Data was collected prospectively including pre-treatment Medical Outcomes Study Short Form, pre and post-treatment Rhinosinusitis."

• "Overall, 36 percent of subjects reported decreased use of sinus medication (decongestants, antihistamines, pain relievers, and nasal sprays) during the study with no measurable difference between the three groups. Conclusions: The study demonstrated that daily nasal irrigation with hypertonic saline offers patients an inexpensive treatment protocol that improves chronic sinusitis symptoms. During the study, a number of patients decreased or eliminated medication.The choice of preferred irrigation protocol was likely linked to the randomization among patient subjects. It is unclear whether the improvement found in patients in the reflexology massage group reflects a therapeutic, placebo, or combination of effects. All the findings highlight the complex interactions of managing chronic sinusitis symptoms."

(Diane G. Heatley MD, Glen E. Leverson PhD, Kari E. McConnell RN, and Tony L. Kille (the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, WI) "Nasal Irrigation for the Alleviation of Sinonasal Symptoms," presented Monday, September 25, 2000, at the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery Foundation Annual Meeting/Oto Expo, being held September 24-27, 2000, at the Washington, DC Convention Center) (http://www.askdrbob.com/archives/reference/sinus.htm)

Toothache
* Results of study: Reflexology reduced the pain of 66% toothache patients and eliminated the symptoms of 26%. Xue-xiang, Wang, "Relieve (150 Cases of) Toothache with Foot Reflexotherapy," 1994 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, October 1994, p. 132 - 135

Urinary tract stones
* Results of study: Individuals who have received lithotrity (external mechanical impact on kidney or ureter stones) expel the fragmented stones more quickly following foot reflexology work.

Yue-jin, Zhang; Jing-Fang, Chung and Bao-rong, Ju, "Observation of the Effect of Foot Reflex Area Massage on 34 Cases of Calouli of Urinary Tract," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), 1996, China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 46

Urinary tract infection
* Results of study: Individuals with kidney infection who receive foot reflexology and medication recovered more quickly than those who used medicine alone. Yu-lian, Zao, "Clinical Observation on Treatment of Infection of Urinary Tract by Foot Massage," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), 1996, China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 17

Uroschesis (retention of urine)
* Results of study: Reflexology work was found to be more effective and safer than the standard treatment of catheterization in patients with uroschesis, retention of urine following surgery. Cailian, Lin, "Clinical Observation on Treatment of 40 Cases of Uroschesis with Reflexology," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 52 - 53

Employee sick days
* Reflexology work saved a Danish employer US$3,300 a month in fewer sick days for employees in addition to improving the work environment. Eriksen, Leila, Reflexology: Research and Effect Evaluation in Denmark, Danish Reflexologists Association, Denmark, August 1995, pp. 15 - 16

Resource info source: www. Reflexology - Research .com, a detailed and informative site to visit!

Reflexology

Left foot. Right foot. Feet. Feet. Feet. Oh, how many feet you meet!
Dr. Seuss

Was the good doctor talking about reflexologists? We may never know. But reflexologists, indeed, meet a lot of feet.

Reflexology is a holistic healing method in which the thumb, finger and hand are used to apply pressure to reflex areas of the feet in order to decrease stress and bring the body into balance. When the body's systems are at optimal functioning, self-healing is enhanced. Although some practitioners include the hands and ears in their treatment, the foot, with its greater quantity of sensitive nerve endings, is considered the most amenable to this modality.

The basic philosophy of reflexology is that the foot holds reflex areas that mirror and connect to all parts of the body. Practitioners employ a system of zones and charts to pinpoint these areas. In addition to improving function in the connecting area, the technique promotes overall relaxation and facilitates improvement in circulation and elimination systems. Reflexology lends itself to various levels of expertise, from rejuvenating home footrubs to adjunct treatment in serious illness. The technique can be applied in almost any environment and does not require any equipment.

Footprints of Time
Reflexology has a modern history of scientific and medical study, and an ancient one of cultural practice. From the early civilizations of the Far East and Egypt to tribal communities of the Americas, hand and foot work has been a time-honored healing method. According to American physician William Fitzgerald, developer of zone therapy, some form of pressure point treatment was in use 5,000 years ago in India and China.2 Japanese reflexologists trace their branch of sokushinjutsu to a therapy used in India and brought to China by Buddhist monks, then on to Japan in the 2nd or 3rd century B.C. As early as 4th century B.C., China had its own form of foot therapy and medical diagnosis through observation of the feet.3

Early archaeological finds also give us clues to reflexology's origins. An Egyptian tomb wall carving, dated around 2350 B.C., depicts doctors working on the hands and feet of patients. Statues of Buddha in China and Japan, and Vishnu - the Hindu god - in India show markings of specific areas on the feet. Historically, it is said that Cleopatra worked on Marc Antony's feet, and the Bible talks of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.4,5 In North America, native healers may have inherited the use of zone therapy and footwork from the Incas and their Peruvian ancestors.6

Zone therapy reportedly was in use in 16th century Europe, but it wasn't until the 19th century that the base roots of scientific investigation of pressure points began with the work of British and German physicians investigating the nervous system and reflex actions.7 In 1913, Fitzgerald and his colleagues, finding that pressure to some parts of the body had an anesthetizing effect on other parts, developed a systematized mapping of longitudinal zones in the body. The 10 zones, ending in the fingers and toes, illustrated these reflex areas with their corresponding connections, as well as physical conditions influenced by the connection. Fitzgerald discovered that pressure on one part of a zone could affect other parts of the body within that zone. In 1917, collaborating with Dr. Edwin Bowers, Fitzgerald published his findings in Zone Therapy: Relieving Pain at Home.8,9 According to Kevin and Barbara Kunz, co-directors of the Reflexology Research Project and authors of six books on reflexology, at this same time in Russia a colleague of Pavlov, V. M. Bechterev, coined the term reflexology. The Russian take on reflex therapy is that "the afflicted organ is receiving the wrong instructions from the brain," with the goal of treatment being to interrupt the instructions.10

Fitzgerald's zone work was further developed by Dr. Shelby Riley, who added horizontal zones across the hands and feet to determine individual reflexes. Eunice Ingham, a physical therapist and associate of Riley, refined zone therapy into foot reflex therapy through extensive research with hundreds of clients.11 By focusing on the foot, "she observed that congestion or tension in any part of the foot mirrors congestion or tension in a corresponding part of the body."12 Ingham developed an anatomical model in which organs of the body were mapped out on the foot. Her findings, published in 1938, resulted in more precise identification of reflex points and gave us the framework of foot reflexology as it is known today.13

One of Ingham's students, Doreen Bayly, started a reflexology school in England, then expanded to Europe.14 Another follower, German physiotherapist Hanne Marquardt, established an instructional program for professionals that she called Reflexotherapy of the Feet (RFT), choosing not to use the term reflexology. Her goal was to elevate the techniques from basic knowledge to a professional level within the medical field. Marquardt's efforts in Germany and throughout Europe have resulted in the routine use of RFT in hospital and rehabilitation settings there.15

Mirrors, Maps and Magic
Reflexology is viewed primarily as a stress reduction or relaxation technique. Although this may sound simplistic, the effects of the treatment can be profound. Neurologically, the activation of receptors in the hands and feet changes the tempo and tone of the body by sending new messages into the system, which responds by becoming homeostatic. In essence, the foot or hand becomes a conduit for sharing information throughout the body.

Kunz and Kunz explain how this works: "Pressure applied to the feet generates a signal through the peripheral nervous system. From there it enters the central nervous system where it is processed in various parts of the brain. It is then relayed to the internal organs to allocate the necessary adjustments in fuel and oxygen. Finally a response is fashioned that is sent on to the motor system. This message is fed forward to adjust the body's tone or overall tension level. If applied properly the tone will reset itself to a lower operating tempo. A lower operating tempo means a lessening of stress and less wear and tear on the body's systems."16

In Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, author Sandy Fritz also speaks to the mechanisms of reflexology. Rather than delving into the theory of mirror image, she examines the physiological results of footwork. Noting the extensive nerve distribution in the feet and hands, and the large portion of sensory and motor area of the brain devoted to these body parts, she states, "It would seem logical to assume that stimulation of the feet would activate the responses of the gait control mechanism and hyperstimulation analgesia. Body-wide effects are the result." Additionally, lymphatic movement would be stimulated by compression on the major plexuses of the lymph system in the hands and feet, and the release of endorphins and other endogenous chemicals would be triggered by stimulation of nerve endings that correlate with acupressure points.17

Throughout the recent development of reflexology, various theories have been proposed as to how it works. Some practitioners take the view that treatment opens up blockages of chi, or vital energy. Others focus on the process of detecting and breaking down "crystals," areas that feel like gritty sand. Kevin Kunz noted that some of Ingham's earlier writings referred to the presence of crystal deposits in the foot. But he discounted this approach, saying that within our current fund of knowledge, we know healing takes place through communication in the nervous system. "We see it," he remarked, "as more important to get the body communicating with itself."

Treatment
Prior to beginning actual therapy, reflexologists conduct a visual assessment of the physical condition of each foot: skeletal structure, tissue, nails, skin and temperature. This is followed immediately by palpation, with equal pressure applied throughout, to detect abnormal areas.18 "You can see where the body is trying to protect itself," said Kunz, whether the skin is white, splotchy or red; how the muscular skeleton is working; how the person walks; where there is pain and sensitivity. Disturbance in a zone can be identified both through visual assessment and the patient's reaction of pain, referred to by Kunz as a stress cue. This overall assessment is not to be taken as a medical diagnosis. Marquardt points out that pain in a zone, such as the stomach, could indicate a number of disorders. As well, some organs in the body are overlapping, and thus would overlap on the feet.19

Reflexologists use illustrations of the 10 vertical zones of the body as well as anatomical charts of the foot for orientation to reflex areas. Not all charts are exactly alike and each body is characteristically different. "I work with what I consider a three-dimensional image of the body," said Kunz. "Charts are okay, but you also have to take into consideration that the body is not flat. You have to consider zones as well." While stress may not be indicated in one part of a zone, it may show up in another part of that zone. Anything in a zone can affect another part within the zone. Each person will exhibit their own unique stress patterns, and the application and effects of their treatment will vary. "We use some standardized techniques," said Kunz, "but we are working on a surface which is very irregular." The body can habituate to one pattern, so changing routine keeps the stimulation fresh.

Frequency is also important to reflexology treatment. "That's the way the Chinese work," said Kunz. "Their thing is frequency - every day, six days, for a two-week period, then analyze the results and go on with another two-week period." Following a reflexology session, self-help can be used to continue stimulation. Foot stimulation devices are a good resource for home use as well as treatment sessions. "Marquardt," said Kunz, "refers to them as 'foot toys.' The feet should have some toys. I call it Disneyland for the feet. It doesn't have to cost much. You can put a golf ball in a sock, tie it up and you have a roller. Anything to cause stimulation has a beneficial effect." Marquardt recommends foot devices be used for 10 to 15 minutes, twice daily, as a reinforcement during treatment intervals, or for several weeks following completed treatment. For overall general benefit, these aids can improve blood supply to the legs and feet and enhance body awareness.20

Reactions are common in reflexology treatment as the body works to return to its normal state. They are usually brief in duration and are followed by the person feeling they have reached another level. "When the body decides to clean house, it cleans house," said Kunz. There may be sudden detoxification, as in bowels and urine moving more quickly or frequently, or sudden displays of emotion. Unresolved past illnesses may surface and then resolve. "If there are things embedded in the body," said Kunz, "it comes out." The person may even have a sensory experience called "phantom toe," in which the toe feels longer than it is.

If a reaction is severe or persistent the practitioner should take care to offer only a supportive presence and not attempt to provide counseling. In these situations, referral to a professional is recommended. "I've had people go back in time during the sessions," said Kunz. "Sexual abuse is the strongest - a return to it. The person suddenly has this deep thing come out and sometimes it's pretty dramatic."

Contraindications
Some contraindications for reflexology work are obvious: an open sore, wound, bruise or other trauma to the foot. With any medical condition, the practitioner should confer with the treating physician before determining if reflexology is appropriate and safe. Conditions that are definitely contraindicated include: acute or chronic inflammation of the venous or lymphatic system; highly infectious diseases; aneurysms; foreign bodies located in close proximity to vital organs and systems; phlebitis (unless approved by physician); conditions requiring surgery; and sudden fever.21,22

As with many bodywork modalities, controversies arise when talking about the use of reflexology with certain diseases and conditions, such as cancer or pregnancy. With encouraging results already in, researchers and practitioners are continuing to pursue the scientific knowledge necessary to affirm or negate safety and efficacy of this modality. In some cases, these studies may indicate restrictions regarding specific areas, or as in the case of high-risk pregnancy, a restriction for a specific duration of time. Cancer was once contraindicated for massage, and we now see many forms of massage and bodywork being used in various ways to relieve symptoms and improve health in both active and remitted cancer cases.

"Using reflexology," said Kunz, "we're stressing the body in essence. The effect is mostly positive, but it can be negative. I start out gradually with anyone. I want to see where the person is, and the body has to condition to my signal. I go case by case and I work with the medical system - I don't fly solo."

The Reflexology Movement
Ingham started a grass-roots movement in this country when she traveled around teaching her method of foot reflexology. Her first students and supporters were ordinary people with unresolved health problems.23 The practice became widespread before being picked up by the professional field and landing on the desks of regulatory boards. Licensing rules and regulations, a persistently contentious subject for massage therapists and bodyworkers, have hampered the progress of reflexology. In some states, reflexologists cannot practice without a massage license. These regulations have resulted in well-trained reflexologists being barred from practicing in their home state. "We're seeing the devastating results of this," said Kunz. "Basically people much like your 'mom and pop operations,' many practicing for generations, are put out of business. It's devastating to the field of knowledge, and it's not serving the massage community very well. It's like saying we have one field - massage. Both the practitioner and consumer are not served by this approach. A reflexologist is better off in an unregulated state." These restrictions can also affect research. "A study can't take place," said Kunz, "if the reflexologist is not allowed to practice in that state. The patients don't get benefits either."

Reflexologists continue to push for state and local regulatory acceptance, with current efforts aimed at Florida and New York, among others. The impact of achieving recognition as a professional therapy is evident in Europe and Asia, where reflexology has been embraced by the medical system and is standard in hospitals and clinics. According to Kunz, England went through an act of parliament to establish reflexology as a professional treatment, and the Chinese now have a 6,000-member reflexology association, consisting primarily of physicians. Reflexology is used in Chinese clinics and hospitals, and is encouraged nationally as a way to boost health.

On the other side of the coin, reflexology has easily made its way into salons and spas. In addition to massage therapists, licensed cosmetologists and manicurists are permitted to work on the hands and feet,24 thus are free to offer reflexology as a relaxation and balancing technique. Massage and bodywork practitioners across the board are also incorporating reflexology in their work, combining it with other approaches such as aromatherapy and color therapy, or adding it to specialized work, like pregnancy massage.

Reflexology is used by those specializing in the field to support healing for a variety of complaints - digestive disorders, skin problems and asthma, to name a few. Acute and chronic pain (headache, toothache, pain associated with chronic diseases, etc.) respond well to reflexology and treatments can be used as first-aid relief. Use of reflexology in the home has increased with the availability of self-help books and foot stimulation devices. For parents, reflexology can provide a safe and effective technique for soothing their young one's emotions and promoting sleep. The elderly, especially, benefit from receiving reflexology, not only to relieve discomfort but to provide much needed human touch.

"It's a wonderful craft that can be used a lot of different ways," said Kunz.

Walk On
Kunz and Kunz have suggested that "foot work is an archestructure, a physical demand within the nervous system that creates the impetus for whole cultures to practice the activity."25 In our current society, feet are boxed in a shoe, deprived of the stimulation they need and for which they were created. Some American feet never even see the sunlight, much less travel naked on a forest floor. "The feet carry the body," said Kunz, "in more ways than one. Constant feedback from the feet is needed in order for the body to make the proper responses." There is no challenge for the foot in walking on flat surfaces. Feet crave stimulation and they were built for a variety of surfaces. Kunz pointed out that some shoe companies are now developing textured footbeds. The Japanese are also addressing this basic need by creating foot pathways to stimulate every part of the foot. "This comes from taki fumi," said Kunz, "to step upon bamboo. Here we call them stroll pathways. The idea is that you stroll along and as you do you are strengthening the system. It's great exercise and gives you more endurance."

Traveling Full Circle on The Path of Life
A Navajo woman came to Kunz to have her feet worked on. With a kind of Mona Lisa smile on her face, she said, "The tribe wanted me to try the new medicine, but I wanted to try the old medicine first."
By Shirley Vanderbilt

 
 
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