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Study And Research Of

Complementary Alternative Medicine


Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a medical products and practices which are not part
of standard health care and not utilized by medical professions (MedlinePlus, Complementary and
Alternative Medicine). CAM is becoming more popular in USA, UK, Canada, and Australia since
scientific evidence support effectiveness of CAM (Woodward et al., 2009; Oldendick et al., 2000).In
UK, 20% of people use CAM and expend more than 1.6 billion pounds (Khan et al., 2006) and 2/3 of
Americans who suffer from chronic pain use CAM therapies (Stephenson & Dalton, 2003).
Research on people perception of CAM:
A Study was done by Oldenfdick et al to examine CAM use, user satisfaction, and involvement of
physicians in the use of CAM. A sample of 1584 residents in South Carolina aged from 18 and older
were selected by random digit dial techniques and a questionnaire was administered. The
questionnaire included items on subjects general health, specific health condition, use of alternative
therapies in the past 12 months, the perceived effectiveness of CAM therapy, whether their
physician or any medical care professionals had recommended them to use CAM, if not whether
they informed their physicians of CAM therapy use. Additional two more questions were asked: 1. if
they recommend a family member or a friend to use CAM, 2. if they had bad experience concerning
the use of CAM therapies. The results showed that 44% of them had used CAM therapies for the
past 12 months, more than 60% viewed CAM to be very effective, and 89% would recommend CAM
to others, 57% of them did not acknowledge their physician about their use of CAM therapies which
is a serious issue since such therapies could interact adversely with prescribed treatments. And also
increasing age and higher education were significantly associated with CAM therapies (Oldendick et
al., 2000).
Examples of CAM therapies:
Examples of CAM therapy are Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbal medicine, and Reflexology. Foot
reflexology has been used to treat variety of conditions such as stress-related conditions, pain,
headache, gastrointestinal tract problems, and menstrual problems.
Foot Reflexology:
Foot Reflexology is safe non-invasive complementary therapy that involves applying pressure on
specific areas of the feet which corresponds to different body, organs, and glands (Li, C.Y et al.,
2009l; Wright et al, 2002). The physical act of applying specific pressure using the thumb, finger and
hand techniques to these reflex areas can enhance nerve communication, harmonize body's
physiological function and produce relaxation thus allowing body to return to state of balance and
well-being (Li, C.Y et al, 2009l; Wright et al., 2002,The Healing Art of Reflexology). There are a lot of
theories behind reflexology such as electromagnetic theory of healing, the pain gait control theory,
the endorphin release, the subtle energy/meridian theories, the neuromatrix theory of pain, and
many more. Still the exact mechanism of reflexology effects on human body homeostasis is not
definite yet.
History of Foot Reflexology:
Reflexology has been used in china in 3000 B.C and it was used in conjunction with acupuncture
(Stephenson & Dalton, 2003). In 1913, Dr. Fitzgerald, ear, nose, and throat specialist brought
reflexology to USA. He noticed that applying pressure to certain areas in the foot or hand produced
some effects on some parts of the patients body and after that he divided the body into 10
longitudinal zones. Then he introduced zone therapy in several hospitals. (Stephenson & Dalton,
2003, The Healing Art of Reflexology). After that Ingham, a physiotherapist continued working on Dr.
FitzGeralds findings. She noticed that applying zone therapy on post-operative patients speeded up
the bodys natural healing (The Healing Art of Reflexology). She introduced the foot reflex chart and
developed the traditional reflexology (Deborah, 1997).
Foot Reflexology in practice:
Most reflexologists prefer working on the feet since they are larger, sensitive and easily accessible
(Deborah, 1997). The individual will sit comfortably on a chair. Then the reflexologist will start to
work on the foot with specific techniques to stimulate reflex areas in the foot (The Healing Art of
Reflexology).