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I’m not an expert, but I have a basic understanding. My understanding is that reflexology is based on the idea that a map of the body is represented in the hands and the feet and therefore by applying pressure to certain parts of the hand or foot you can make things change in the rest of the body.
There are not direct connections between the hands or feet and every other part of the body but I think the idea of reflexology is that pressure on the specific points trigger reflexes that then affect the body part in question. The body is certainly full of reflexes that act in many places and systems, and manipulating them is often just a matter of finding the correct trigger. So the theory of reflexology seems reasonable, but I am unsure if it ‘works’.
Reflexology is considered a ‘complimentary medicine’ which means that it is not something that would be traditionally prescribed by a physician, but may still be beneficial. The use of complimentary medicine has been increasing lately and because of that so have the number of scientific studies aimed at learning if and how the various techniques work.
My understanding is that there is currently no evidence that reflexology is useful for treating any specific diseases or disorders. However, relaxation and stress reduction is certainly important, especially during grant rounds or school exams 🙂