Reflexology bears a resemblance to acupressure, except that it focuses almost entirely on the feet and hands as the recipients of the therapeutic action. A wide variety of techniques, in addition to pressure, are used to flush out toxins and rejuvenate the body; these include linear percussion machines, ice/heat, intra/ultra sound, noncoherent/coherent (Low Level Laser) light, magnetism, piezo/micro amp electricity, and vacuum cups/boots.
Moreso than most other
healing techniques, reflexology has been exhaustively tested in studies
of many various designs, and its practitioners have carried out
considerable scientific investigation into its mechanism of action in
terms understandable to (and acceptable by) modern Western scientists.
The consensus is that reflexology's mechanism involves a
photo-bioelectric effect, which has been extensively studied in other
contexts and is well understood. As published by the Reflexology
Association of America (quite awhile ago!), the dynamic
photo-bioelectric effect of the "Reflexology Mechanism of Action" is
best understood in light of the theorem reproduced in the box to
Although its claims as far as cause and effect might be open to
argument, the underlying scientific postulates are sound and have been
observed in a myriad number of examples in different contexts. The
Modern Institute of Reflexology's site probably explains the therapy in its most
scientific terms but which are understandable to any intelligent lay
The results of the successful application of reflexology to current medical problems have been published in many peer-reviewed journals. A very conclusive report showed that reflexology enabled postoperative patients to use less than half of the analgesics required by the control group. A notable feature of this paper is that the background of reflexology is presented in a short summary, and its effect on pain perception is clearly explained in terms of the currently accepted mechanism of pain modulation, referring to reflexology's generation of slow-transmitting C-fibers, which then carry pain signals instead of the usual fast-transmitting A (δ) fibers. The C fibers also act by impeding the transmission along A fibers, in accordance with the gate theory of pain transduction. It all makes perfect scientific sense. In fact, the global ability of reflexology to warm certain predictable areas of the body, as quantified by infrared detection, was recently reported. In fact, a web site is devoted solely to disseminating the results of reflexology research.
The Reflexology Association of America is the body that sets standards, educational requirements, and other milestones which qualify a practitioner to claim to be a practitioner (or a higher designation). There are also two organizations which test, accredit, and set standards for the practice: the American Commission for Accreditation of Reflexology Education and Training (ACARET) and the American Reflexology Certification Board.
International Council of Reflexologists - email