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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

reflexology The art of diagnosing ailments by examination of the sole of the foot, and of treating the patient by manipulation of parts of the foot that are said to relate to corresponding body parts and areas. Similarly to such notions as palmistry, ear acupuncture, and iridology, the foot in reflexology is believed to represent a homunculus: The great toe is the head, the next toe is the right arm, and so on.

A diagram of the soles of the feet, indicating specific areas (“reflex points” ) related to organs and parts of the body, according to the theory. Relief is achieved, say the practitioners, by pressing these points to “stimulate blocked nerve endings.” This is nonsensical jargon.

      Reflexology could be regarded as simple sympathetic magic except for one saving factor: treatment is effected by massaging the foot, and that usually feels rather good. As a medical tool for treating specific ailments not connected with the pedal extremities, however, it is useless.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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