Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Boots Off

The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.
Carl Sagan- The Demon Haunted World, 1996

While at the gym (whose membership is not covered) pumping iron yesterday afternoon, I saw an ad for MBF my Private Health Insurance provider. It was all wispy and comforting looking, with people getting massages, acupuncture (ok the juries still out) and reflexology.


My total disillusionment is now complete. The first straw was when I bought all my hockey equipment, and had the claim bounced. The excuse over the phone for this was "People were claiming such things as gym and sport" so they stopped paying for it.
The second straw was when i found out that Aromatherapy was part of the package I was paying for.
I was ready to drop them like a safe but Ob came up with a few reasons not to just yet and check out a few other options.
Sometimes you have to dance with the Devil.

Santa Vaca.

To stop being accused of bias and not being objective in this rant lets see what these good people have to say-

Reflexology Association of Australia

"Reflexology is based on the principle that certain parts of the body reflect the whole. Reflex points, which relate to all parts of the body, can be found in the feet, hands and ears. These points respond to pressure, stimulating the body's own natural healing process. The body starts progressively clearing blockages, re-establishing energy flows and balancing itself, resulting in better health. " Some general benefits are that reflexology: - reduces stress and tension - improves circulation - balances the nervous system - boosts lymphatic function thereby reducing oedema, reducing toxicity and improving immunity - stimulates sluggish, congested systems - reduces pain - enhances the body's natural healing process, improves sleep, increases energy and vitality - promotes body awareness

So how are all the organs and parts of the body divided up on the feet? Well it’s actually quite simple: all the organs, glands and parts of the body on the left side of the body are generally represented on the left foot, hand and ear, while the organs, glands and parts of the body on the right side of the body are generally represented on the right foot, hand and ear.The toes represent anything located in or on the head, like the teeth, mouth, nose, brain, eyes and ears etc, The ball of the foot represents the chest and breast area, including the lungs, and heart, the top half of the arch of the foot represents all the internal organs of digestion eg: the stomach, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas et. The lower half of the arch represents the intestines and bladder, and the heel represents the pelvic and reproductive region. The spine is represented on the inside of the foot running down from the top of the big toe to the heel, while the shoulders are represented under the little toes, and the hip / knee region is represented on the outside of the foot in the little dip just below the ankle bone – known as the cuboid notch.

A reflexologist will usually feel any imbalance in an organ or area of the body as little ‘crystals’ under the skin, while the client may feel mild discomfort as the area is being worked on. The aim of a practitioner is to break down this congestion using the various finger and thumb techniques and allow the body to come back into balance.
Reflexology is extremely beneficial for helping with all muscular/skeletal problems, especially back or neck problems, with digestive disorders, reproductive and fertility issues, (it would be recommended that both partners had regular sessions) With Respiratory conditions and especially stress


Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique. Reflexology can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax. Through the relaxation process the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living and those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body towards better functioning by improving lymphatic drainage and venous circulation, simulation to the nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation. Reflexology can also be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction and relaxation.

International Institute of Reflexology

Reflexology offers you this outstanding overall health enhancement program, working toward re-educating, re-patterning, and re-conditioning the nerves through the neural/electrical system of the body. The sole job description of the nerves is to instruct the body; when the nerves improve, the instruction must improve, as a result, the body must improve.

Ok, it will re-educate, relax and help me have babies.
Hey don't get me wrong, I love a foot massage, a good one will make me go all thing. I think I have found out why.

Now let hear from these sane people

The Skeptics Dictionary

One reason foot massage may be so pleasurable and is associated with significant improvement in mood is that the area of the brain that connects to the foot is adjacent to the area that connects to the genitals. There may be some neuronal overlapping. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran writes of a person whose leg was amputated and who experienced orgasms in his phantom foot (1998: 36-37). “The genitals are right next to the foot in the body’s brain maps,” he notes, and speculates that this fact may account for foot fetishes.



Many proponents claim that foot reflexology can cleanse the body of toxins, increase circulation, assist in weight loss, and improve the health of organs throughout the body. Others have reported success in treating earaches, anemia, bedwetting, bronchitis, and convulsions in an infant, hemorrhoids, hiccups, deafness, hair loss, emphysema, prostate trouble, heart disease, overactive thyroid gland, kidney stones, liver trouble, rectal prolapse, undescended testicles, intestinal paralysis, cataracts, and hydrocephalus. Some claim to "balance energy and enhance healing elsewhere in the body." One practitioner has even claimed to have lengthened a leg that was an inch shorter than the other. There is no scientific support for these assertions.

The pathways postulated by reflexologists have not been anatomically demonstrated; and it is safe to assume that they do not exist
Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness. Done gently, reflexology is a form of foot massage that may help people relax temporarily. Whether that is worth US$35 to $100 per session or is more effective than ordinary foot massage is a matter of individual choice. Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored. Such claims could lead to delay of necessary medical care or to unnecessary medical testing of people who are worried about reflexology findings.

You may wonder why this annoys me so much, well there are many reasons but this is getting long, but I’m worried about a “reputable” company is supporting such woo-woo (sceptic speak for utter shite), giving it even more credence and respectability in the public eye.
At best it feels good for a while and worst it can be expensive, misleading and potentially dangerous.
I’m not against people feeling good and relaxed people are happier people but just call a foot massage a foot massage. I don’t need my chi realigned.

What’s next I wonder?
Iridologists over optometrists
Crystal sucking over dentists
Hulda Clarks Zapper over Chemotherapy.

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true.
Carl Sagan

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