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An example of a reflexology chart, demonstrating the areas of the feet that practitioners believe correspond with organs in the "zones" of the body.

An example of a reflexology chart of the Hand, demonstrating the areas of the hand that practitioners believe correspond with organs in the "zones" of the body.

Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of

[5] Concerns have been raised by medical professionals that treating potentially serious illnesses with reflexology.the body on the feet and hands. five on the right and five on the left.[1] A 2009 systematic review of randomised controlled trials concludes that "The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition. One claimed explanation is that the pressure received in the feet may send signals that 'balance' the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce stress and pain."[3] There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work.[4] Another tenet of reflexology is the belief that practitioners can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body through the manipulation of the feet. which has no proven efficacy.[5] . crèmes or lotions. who cite a lack of scientific evidence and the well-testedgerm theory of disease. a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body.[6] Contents [hide]        1 Claimed mechanisms of operation 2 Use by population 3 Regulation of reflexologists 4 Criticism 5 See also 6 Notes 7 External links [edit]Claimed mechanisms of operation Reflexologists posit that the blockage of an energy field. with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body.[7] These hypotheses are rejected by the general medical community. the feet being the primary area of application. gland and organ of the body. hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas. invisible life force. which correspond to every part. or Qi. and that by manipulating these one can improve health through one's qi. could delay the seeking of appropriate medical treatment." [2] The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as: "A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet. reflexology relieves tension. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools. can prevent healing.[4] Reflexologists divide the body into ten equal vertical zones. improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.

[10][11] Ingham claimed that the feet and hands were especially sensitive. (1872–1942). over the years. The roots of Zoku Shin Do go back to China over 5000 years ago. and mapped the entire body into "reflexes" on the feet. nose. The Cherokee tribes of North America practise a form of reflexology that they pass from generation to generation.[citation needed] Reflexology travelled across India. Fitzgerald claimed that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body. Africa. The early Taoists are described as having originated many Chinese health practises. although there are also more recently created methods. or reflexology.4% of the Danish population had used reflexology at some point in life and 6.6 % of the Norwegian population in 2007 had used reflexology within the last 12 months. but the practise was taken in a new direction with a new theory of claimed meridians. [13] . as much as 5000 years ago. an ear. A national survey from 2005 showed that 21. and China.Various versions of reflexology have been practised. the practice of acupressure using the fingers turned into the practice of acupuncture using needles. and throat specialist.[5] [edit]Use by population Reflexology is one of the most used alternative therapies in Denmark. Fitzgerald. a nurse and physiotherapist. M. and Dr.D.1% had used reflexology within the previous year. The most common theory is that the earliest form of reflexology originated in China.[8] The precise relationship between the ancient version practiced by the early Egyptians and reflexology as we know it today is unclear because different practices involving the manipulation of the feet in an attempt to affect health have been used throughout the world. This is the foot portion of the Japanese massage technique. Edwin Bowers. Japan. Traditional East Asian foot reflexology is known as Zoku Shin Do in Japan. [12] A study from Norway showed that 5. This has been documented on four continents: Asia. Europe. Reflexologists in the United States and the United Kingdom often study Ingham's theories first. It was at this time that "zone therapy" was renamed reflexology. The Chinese concept of meridian therapy is a fundamental part of the claims of reflexology. Ingham (1889–1974). In China. and North America. The precursor of current reflexology was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H.[citation needed] Many changes took place in zone therapy.[9] Reflexology was further modified in the 1930s and 1940s by Eunice D. The belief in the reflex points still existed.

As with other pseudosciences without any proven effect beyond placebo. of central regulation. 'crystalline structures. (The same applies to all other disciplines being "regulated" by the CNHC. if patients rely on them and delay or even reject effective medical treatment there can be significant health risks. Registrants must have full public andprofessional liability insurance and additional annual courses are a condition of re-registration. no evidence of the efficacy of any of the techniques of reflexology is required for such registration. as there is no scientific evidence for the existence of life energy (Qi).[14] Usage in popular culture: An episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (1-02 Alternative Medicine) (February 7. reflexology is now regulated on a voluntary basis by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).) [edit]Criticism Common criticisms of reflexology are the lack of evidence for its claimed effects. In addition. Reflexology's claim to manipulate energy (Qi) has been highly controversial. and the short duration of training programmes. 'energy balance'. 2003) featured a segment on reflexology.' or 'pathways' in the body.[edit]Regulation of reflexologists In the United Kingdom. or of medical training provided to reflexologists. [edit] . or of a scientific or demonstrated basis for its theories. accreditation and licensing. Note: As registration with the CNHC is voluntary anyone may still practice the discipline and describe themselves as reflexologists.

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