Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sole Therapy?

Also known as zone therapy, reflexology was "founded" by a Connecticut based ENT (ear, nose & throat) doctor William H Fitzgerald (1872-1942) so writes the author in yesterday's Straits Times (Solely Therapeutic, June 11 page A37).

His "work" was further expanded upon by an American physiotherapist Eunice D Ingham (1899-1974) who came up with the sole maps you will now see posted on the walls of reflexology shops. (I never knew this!)

The theory behind reflexology is that good health supposedly depends on good energy flow in the body. During illness, energy flow to a particular zone is disrupted and hence alters the proper functioning of organs in that zone. This shows up as tender spots on the the sole where affected organs are mapped. One can then "treat" virtually any organ since they are found easily on one's sole.

There seems to be no evidence behind reflexology though, as randomized controlled trials done on headaches, asthma, dementia, diabetes, foot swelling in pregnant women, headaches, post surgical pain, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, menopausal symptoms and the common low back pain were all found to be ineffective.


Ernst E (2009). Is Reflexology An Effective Intervention? A Systematic Review Of Randomised Controlled Trials. MJA 191(5): 263-266.

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