I came across an article on GotQuestions.org which is a Christian answers website. I post my response here for everyone. Reflexology is a science not some eastern mysticism Chi/Qi practice. There are no energy fields, there are no magical crystals in the feet. Simply put reflexology is a way of interfacing with the body's nervous system.
I am writing to clear up a couple of issues I found in this article and encourage you to take a second look at this practice. I have no "scientific" evidence but I have years of experience with this type of therapy and would like to give you my interpretation of what is going on from a very grounded Biblically-minded person.
In the answer to the question you state:
" Those who practice reflexology hypothesize that the body contains an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi, the blockage of which can prevent healing."
This is a very broad generalization which I do not agree with and does not have a place in Reflexology as a therapy (in my opinion, but I'm not into New Age-y stuff).
"Reflexology, although seemingly innocent, is rooted in anti-biblical and un-Christian Eastern beliefs, and has been rejected by modern science for lack of empirical proof of its claims."
If we reject reasonable beneficial practices because of who first discovered it or the culture it originated from I fear we'd have to throw out much of humanity's advancements. "Modern science" is a can of worms in itself. If you are talking about a self serving system dominated by insurance and pharmaceutical companies who have no problems with abortion causing "medications", skew medical research, malign good Doctors and scientists, and claim herbs put here for us by Yahweh are worthless at best and dangerous at worst then I view it as a good thing it's not accepted by them.
"Reflexology, which the New Age movement has made popular, is based on the idea that there is a cosmic energy inside of everything, including our bodies. This energy is the very "material" of both creation and deity, and when in proper balance and focus, humans can supposedly realize personal divinity for themselves."
The New Age movement also made herbal medicine popular as of the last 30 years or so, but that doesn't make it bad. We have to be wise enough to separate the good from the bad. As far as the talk about energy I don't subscribe to that line of thought at all... thats a bunch of metaphysical pseudoscience that the New Age movement uses to make it look like something mystical when it's not.
"Behind the technique of reflexology is the belief that not only do the pressure points of the foot engage specific parts of the body, but they affect the living energy within a person as well. Some people might argue that they practice reflexology without the mysticism, but this is impossible, for in reflexology, it is the energy that is the link between the foot and the other parts of the body. To divorce the practice from the belief is to just give a foot massage, NOT to practice reflexology."
This is the paragraph I'd like to expound on the most. Let's first toss all the "energy" talk out the window. No one can prove this "energy" exists anyways.
Reflexology, in my opinion, can be explained in a fairly easy way without any of the mystical garbage that usually is stuck to it's heel. (pun intended) I've done this long enough that I can say without a doubt there is a science underlying the practice and the "crystals" that are talked about do not exist as is commonly taught.
Scientific Method could be employed to prove this also. While some of the science may be lacking still (I'll explain) the overall method can be predicted, tested, and repeated.
With 10 years of full time experience I have come to the conclusion that Reflexology can be practiced without any affiliation with religion of any sort. It's a purely physical therapy where an action causes a reaction. Each spot on the foot contains nerves. These nerves are connected to specific parts of the body (this is where the science hasn't caught up but I am working on it). When these nerves are stimulated in a certain manner they will almost always produce a consistent reaction in an area of the body. These nerves will give signal when there is a health issue in the body by means of pain. As an example, if someone has a problem with the atlas they will have a tender spot on the inside of the big toe joint. By manipulating this spot there is a definite immediate reaction which generally carries a short term and long term benefit. Usually this is relief of symptoms such as migraines, dizziness, vision problems and such. This is consistent. I can usually surmise what symptoms the client is experiencing based on where this tender spot is in the foot.
My hypothesis is that the body was designed with systems built in (other than the immune system) to analyze and correct problems. One of these is through the nervous system. If I am correct in my hypothesis, the nerves in the foot that are tender lead back to a corresponding spot in the body directly or more likely indirectly. If indirectly then when manipulation of the nerve in the foot occurs it sends signal back through the nerves to the brain which then sends a signal to that part of the body. That signal seems to direct the body to focus on that part of the body and make sure it's "within spec". These reflex point will also signal when an organ is stressed by medication. Frequently the kidneys are under stress from blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds will stress the liver, depression meds will stress the brain. The body knows this and knowing how to read it's built in diagnostic system will tell the discerning practitioner many many things that aren't readily available and absent anything mystical.
It's my hope to divorce Reflexology from the New Age movement. It doesn't belong to them regardless who invented it.
Food for thought:
Our best herbal knowledge comes from the Native Americans who were deeply involved with Animism. Many people who have come to me have found relief by using the same plants the Native Americans used as I tend to stick to that form of Herbalism. Does this bind tradition Native American use of herbs to Animism? I would say absolutely not. To throw the Reflexology baby out with the New Age bathwater does a disservice to a very beneficial (if not misunderstood) therapy. Though "modern science" can't explain it or hasn't looked closely enough at it doesn't make it an evil/magical/occultic practice. It's just misunderstood.
I hope this changes your perspective on this therapy. I'm more than happy to answer any questions as best I can.
In His Service,
Daryl W. McCullough
Reflexology is very beneficial to those who have a sports-related injury. I've worked on everything from football and softball injuries to motocross injuries. As an Herbalist I am able to help even the more severe injuries such as broken bones mend more efficiently. Chi