Reflexology points proven by studies

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Pressure massage of the foot reflex zone points can alleviate many organic complaints
A pressure massage of the foot reflex zone points should alleviate many organic complaints. While the foot reflex zone massage is controversial among conventional doctors, the procedure has long since found its way into naturopathy. Since the beginning of the 20th century, people in the USA and Europe have been using acupressure-like technology on their feet, which is probably based on ancient Indian knowledge. Small studies prove the positive effects of foot reflexology.

Foot reflex zone points depict organs The foot reflex zone massage is similar to the treatment concept of acupressure. If the practitioner feels that a reflex zone has hardened, hurts or is generally noticeable, this is an indication that there is a problem with the associated organ. The targeted massage on the affected foot reflex zone should then send a stimulus to the organ and initiate the healing process. This is supposed to stimulate the metabolism and blood circulation. For example, in the case of digestive problems, especially the midfoot is treated. "This is an alternative medical treatment principle that was practiced thousands of years ago in China, India, Egypt and some Indian tribes," explains Margarete Hermanns, a naturopath from Graefelfing, to the news agency "dpa". "It is based on the theory that the human body is reflected in the feet, with each part of the body coupled to a specific location on the foot. "

For thousands of years, knowledge about foot reflexology therapy has only been passed on orally. It wasn't until around 1913 that the American doctor William Fitzgerald systematized the treatment method after he observed the indigenous people of his country how they alleviated illnesses and pain by pressing and massaging certain points on the foot. He then conducted studies to find out which point was connected with which organ. "Based on this, he divided the body into ten longitudinal zones, which he transferred proportionally to the feet," Rainer Stange, chief physician of the naturopathy department at the Immanuel Hospital in Berlin, told the news agency. Later, the division was supplemented by transverse zones, so that a grid was created, which accurately reproduces the foot reflex zones and can be used as a coordinate system in therapy. Most foot reflex zones are located on the soles of the feet, some are also arranged on the sides and on the back of the foot up to the ankle.

Special grip and pressure techniques for the treatment of the foot reflex zone points
The side view of the foot resembles the silhouette of a seated person. "The toes are the head area, the forefoot with the ball of the shoulders and chest, the midfoot the abdomen and back, the heel the pelvic area and so on," explains Hermanns. The right foot represents the right half of the body and the left foot represents the left half of the body. The reference points of all organs, muscles, nerves, bones and joints are mirror images of where they are in the body.

In the mid-20th century, the American Eunice Ingham developed the basic grip and pressure techniques that were further developed and supplemented by the German naturopath Hanne Marquardt. "They work with the fingertips, especially the thumb and forefinger," explains Reinhard von Neipperg, chairman of the International Teachers' Association for Reflexology Therapy on the Foot, according to Hanne Marquard, to the news agency. where the strength should come from the arms. "

Treatment with foot reflexology begins with the finding. The reflex zones are checked for hardening, pain and other abnormalities. The intensity and type of the handles depend on the diagnosis and the aim of the treatment. Slow and soft grip sequences are used, for example, to calm organs or to relieve acute pain. Clamp and strong grip techniques serve, among other things, to stimulate and strengthen the functions of body parts. "The spectrum of diseases and complaints in which foot reflex zone therapy is used and shows positive effects is wide," reports von Neipperg. Examples of gastrointestinal complaints, painful conditions, metabolic disorders and joint diseases can be cited. Like the Bund Deutscher Heilpraktiker eV, a session generally lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, and a total of six to twelve applications are usually required.

Study situation on the effectiveness of foot reflex zone therapy “You can always see that foot reflex zone therapy works in practice. In conventional medicine, however, it is still controversial, "reports Stange. The research situation is still poor. A reflex foot-body connection has not yet been proven. One theory says, for example, that the special connection is through nerve pathways or energy flows an electromagnetic resonance phenomenon has been repeatedly discussed as the cause, and no anatomical or scientific evidence has yet been provided for the assignment of the foot reflex zones to certain organs.

Nevertheless, positive effects of foot reflex zone therapy on certain clinical pictures could be proven in smaller studies. For example, researchers at the University of Innsbruck demonstrated increased blood flow to the kidneys when the associated reflex zone was stimulated. This promotes detoxification.

Another study demonstrated the effectiveness of foot reflexology therapy for knee problems. Researchers at the University of Jena showed that pain and functional impairments in moderate knee arthrosis can be alleviated by the targeted treatment of the assigned foot reflex zone. As part of the study, the subjects received 12 treatments for the foot reflex zones assigned to the knee over a period of six weeks. In order to check the effectiveness, the researchers also recorded six weeks before and eight weeks after the treatment as comparison periods. On the one hand, they carried out continuous surveys of the patients about their subjective pain sensation. On the other hand, the scientists used several survey methods to measure the pain intensity. The mobility of the knee was also examined.

"Both aspects showed significant improvements during and after foot reflex zone therapy: the pain intensity decreased by more than two thirds and the mobility (flexion) of the knee joint could be improved by twelve degrees," said Professor Christine Uhlemann from the University Hospital Jena, Department of Naturopathy 92 percent of the study participants said that their condition had improved. "These are really astonishing results, because in fact we have for the first time provided clear evidence of the effectiveness of foot reflex zone therapy." (Ag)

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