Reflexology Research

Reflexology is about connecting energetic reflex relationships in the body. The most commonly known is foot reflexology. Other reflexology areas include: the ears, spine, hands, and face. The reflex zones "correspond" or reflex to regions and organs throughout the body. By touching specific areas on the foot, the abnormalities or imbalances in the corresponding distant organs are stimulated.
Remarkable pictographs from Ankhmahor's Tomb and Khentika's Tomb at Saqqara memorializing two viziers to Teti, 6th dynasty appear to represent manipulation of fingers and toes. These pictographs suggest the intention of a therapeutic form of reflexology.
Cutting edge science has come to reflexology research and the impact of "reflexological stimulation" on the body. Singaporean researchers have demonstrated studies that reflexological stimulation causes physical relaxation and in one study that it impacts heart function. The studies use "chaos theory" to quantify results and create an understanding of the mechanism of action at work in the application of reflexology.
The Department of Electronics and Computer Engineering at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore with S. S. Iyengar from the Department of Computer Science at Louisiana State University have conducted three reflexology related studies.
Reflexological stimulation was measured by electroencephalograph (EEG) in two studies and electrocardiograph (ECG) in the other. (The EEG measures brain activity and the ECG measures heart activity.) In each study, the data was quantified using complex computer analysis to create a broad picture of how the body works during reflexological stimulation. During a typical ECG assessment, the activity of the heart is plotted over a period of time producing a "linear" wave-like pattern. A heart abnormality experienced by an individual, however, may not take place during that ECG test. Quantifying "non-linear" analysis of the ECG allows more complex data from the ECG to be assessed. With the use of a computer's brain power to correlate such information, the application of non-linear quantification techniques allows assessment of potentially useful information missed during a "linear" measurement. As an example, use of such assessment "has been used in medicine to detect some cardiac arrhythmia such as ventricular fibrillation."
This kind of assessment allows a breakthrough in measuring the effects of reflexology. (N. Kannathal, Joseph K. Paul, C. M. Lim and K. P. Chua, "Effect of Reflexology on EEG - A Nonlinear Approach," The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 32, No. 4, 641-650, 2004: PMID: 15481653)
In one study of eight individuals, an EEG was taken during a normal resting condition and then under reflexological stimulation of the brain reflex area of the hand, the upper one-third of the thumb. Specifically, "we conclude that reflexological stimulation, from the signals and systems point of view bring the brain-mind mechanism to a lower dimensional chaos indicating a state of 'order out of disorder.'... "We expected this, as reflexology claims to de-stress and bring relaxation to the brain." (N. Kannathal, Joseph K. Paul, C. M. Lim and K. P. Chua, "Effect of Reflexology on EEG - A Nonlinear Approach," The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. 32, No. 4, 641-650, 2004)
The research confirms the health benefits of the ancient art of reflexology.

Author's Bio: 

As an alternative health practitioner and teacher for over 30 years, I make my living by following my heart and listening to the unseen. My teaching and private practice moves me into states of serenity while acknowledging and holding the shadow and suffering. Years of study, teaching and counseling have developed my conscious communication process to assist others with their transformation and awakening.
For me, awakening is a process of remembering and expansion, an unconditional viewing of the duality, celebrating duality as an experience that co-exists with oneness. My spiritual awakening parallels my practical world. I teach only what I have lived. My eclectic background as social worker, artist, teacher, mother, and healing arts practitioner offers a foundation for my continuing quest. My moment-to-moment inspirational evolution continues to intrigue and support my mystery of being. My teaching specialties include: Biodynamic Craniosacral, Polarity Therapy, WelSpring Vibrational Medicine, Reflexology, Reiki and Personal Transformational Seminars.