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"Reflexology goes back to a form of treatment developed by the Indian tribes of North America…..Reflexologists describe their therapy as the "practice of working on reflexes in such a way as to produce a relaxation and response in the corresponding body regions. By applying controlled pressure with the thumbs or index fingers to the reflex points and areas on the feet, the body is stimulated to achieve its own state of equilibrium and good health. Pressure on the reflexes not only affects the organ or region of the body but it also influences the relationship between the different functions, processes and parts." The foot, ear, hand, back and other body locations are believed to represent "holographic reiterations of the anatomy of the body," or a "perfect microcosm or miniature map of the whole body," or a "scanner screen-recording bodily functions." Maps were drawn up where one particular area of the foot's sole is assumed to represent one particular internal organ or organ system. These maps are based on the assumption that 10 "energy zones" run longitudinally through the body. Each foot has five of these lines, and all body organs are believed to lie along one or more of these lines. Reflexologists postulate that a malfunctioning organ or body system leads to deposits of uric acid or calcium crystals. These, in turn, impinge on the nerve endings on the feet or obstruct the lymph flow. Treatment aims at breaking down the deposits so that they can be re-absorbed and eliminated. Reflexologists also believe that treatment can improve blood flow and that reflex points are nerve receptors whose stimulation will induce "deep relaxation" or emit "impulses to all parts of the body." Other hypotheses involve the lymphatic system, suggesting that the body's waste products are removed through reflexology massage, and the general enhancement of the body's inherent balance. All of these theories are unsubstantiated. A scientific rationale for reflexology simply does not exist." Article by Professor Edzard Ernst, The Independent (1st December 1998)