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 is applied to promote or stimulate beneficial effects to other
corresponding remote parts of the body such as the vital internal organs
and other essential systems. The intent is to improve the subject’s
overall health of the body as a whole and the mind.
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 Associations 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
pathways in the human body.
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 wellness.
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.
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.