New report says reflexology is not a legitimate scientific treatmentMassage 101 — By Steve Ibach on December 19, 2009 at 8:10 am
According to an abstract published on PubMed.gov today reflexology is said to have nothing in common with scientific naturopathic treatments. The abstract goes on to say,
“A host of alternative treatment methods are sold to us as reputable science on the “supermarket of naturopathy” nowadays. “Foot zone therapy”, also known as “reflexology” is one of them. Advocates of reflexology claim that certain zones of the feet are linked to internal organs; that “energy forces” run throughout the human body. According to the teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga, a network of more than 72,000 nerve tracts (energy tracts = meridians) is linked to a single, tiny point on the feet, where the energy ends. In reality, however, reflexology is an unconventional, alternative, paramedical and esoterical “outsider” method that has nothing in common with serious naturopathic treatments. Any scientific value to reflexology is to be denied. As opposed to reflexology, genuine, scientifically acknowledged naturopathic methods are not an alternative, but a supplement to modern medicine.”
In most states no training is required to practice reflexology. Anyone with a business license can open a practice providing this service. Massage therapy on the other hand, which is sometimes incorrectly lumped in with reflexology, is a scientifically based form of therapy with clinically proven results. Massage therapists usually have 500 – 1,000 hours of training in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, and pathologies in addition to training on specific techniques to manipulate soft tissue and joints to obtain therapeutic results.
Many massage therapists are working to separate the fringe paramedical services such as reflexology, and “energy work” from proven conventional massage therapy techniques. Once that is accomplished perhaps more physicians and others in the medical community will have confidence referring patients to massage therapists without the fear that the therapist will attempt to balance the patient’s “Qi” as part of their treatment for a rotator cuff or other diagnosed injury or disease.