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What is Foot Zone Therapy?

Foot zone therapy can target the small intestines to promote proper digestion.
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  • Written By: KD Morgan
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Foot zone therapy, also known as reflexology, dates back thousands of years to ancient Egypt and India. The theory of meridians, which is used in this technique, can be found in ancient China as well. The Incas, Mayans and Native American Shamans also practiced similar techniques.

After centuries of remaining a tool of holistic healing, foot zone therapy was rediscovered in the western medicine world by Dr. William Fitzgerald, (1872-1946). He was an American physician, specializing in the nose and throat. He theorized an electrical channel (meridians) running throughout the body.

After 26 years of intense research, a Norwegian physician, Dr. Charles Ersdal, was able to chart the physical anatomy and how meridians relate to the foot. He was able to include the blood system, the lymphatic system, the musculature system as well as the brain. This in turn validated foot zone therapy and it became a legitimate system of healing by the 1980’s.

In the mid 1980’s, the knowledge of foot zone therapy was being integrated with ancient meridian healing and it continues to be refined as new generations of practitioners enter the practice. Various areas (or zones) of the feet and hands are representative of different organs and functions of the entire body.

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A practitioner of foot zone therapy can diagnose various illnesses by examining the foot for abnormalities, discolorations, tenderness and pain. The disruptions of energy flows will also cause the formation of uric acid crystals in the corresponding region of the foot. Any area of discomfort is an indication of a blockage. If there is no pain, that means that corresponding part of the body is in good condition.

The map of the body in the foot is very precise. For example, the toes are representative of the sinuses; the area of the heel is the colon, large and small intestines. Each part of the body has a corresponding point on the foot and that area needs to be worked to allow that function to work properly.

By squeezing, pressing, rubbing and manipulating the surface and deep tissue fascia of the foot in specific areas, the trapped energy will be released and the meridians can flow freely again. Painless, unobstructed flowing energy represents a healthy body.

Foot zone therapy depends on the pathways of positive and negative energy, called meridians. These are the communication channels throughout the body and the corresponding points for which each part of the body can be located on the feet and hands.

The meridians correspond specifically to the bladder, gall bladder, heart, large and small intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, pericardium, spleen, stomach, and the triple burner (temperature regulator). The yin meridians have an upward flow and the yang meridians have a downward flow. Within these major functions, every aspect of the body can be found.

There are skeptics that do not believe that foot zone therapy works and that it is all mood making. At the very least, the foot massage relaxes the person, which in itself allows the body to heal itself. It also releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Thousands of years of practice and millions of successful results certainly make it worth investigating.

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anon942560
Post 2

There's no evidence whatsoever that zone therapy works, only anecdotal "evidence". Being relaxed from a foot massage proves nothing. Drinking two beers makes most people relaxed as well.

This is clearly an area of pseudo-science. If you wish to try it out, I won't stand in your way, but at least consider reading other articles before you spend a copious amount of money on it.

And I repeat; the is absolutely no reliable evidence that it works for anything. Given the amount of time that it has been around, the lack of evidence suggests (but does not sufficiently prove) that it does not work.

I think this article does a terrible job of representing reflexology, exactly because it doesn't properly explain why people are skeptical. The lack of evidence is concerning, and pointing out that it was "rediscovered by physicians" is an appalling appeal to authority.

The last line is especially concerning:"Thousands of years of practice and millions of successful results certainly make it worth investigating."

For thousands of years, people have believed all manner of craziness, and the testimony of "millions" have little bearing on anything; it's anecdotal evidence and is inconsequential to the validity of the treatment.

Without a proper scientific study, we can't be sure how many of these "success stories" are actually due to the reflexologic treatment. We can't rule out that the body would have handled the healing process on its own in the same amount of time.

A foot massage may have a positive effect on the body, but that hardly proves the existence of meridian lines.

Conclusion: There's little reason to think this works. If you disagree, make a scientific study and get it peer-reviewed.

anon106320
Post 1

The foot zone really works! I feel uplifted in every way, body and mind. It is more than a massage that relaxes you. My circulation, digestion, and even hormone balance is improved. Love it!

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