Breatharianism: Just a lot of “hot air.”

Inedia (or Breatharianism) describes a person who does not eat or drink – ever.

These persons claim to live on prana (the highly energetic condensation of light.) This is apparently only possible when one has reached a higher state of Consciousness. It is supposed to be a step on the way to attaining perfection on the path of spiritual self-development.

This is a religious tradition – certain Catholic saints, Buddhists and Hindus claimed to have gone for long periods without any form of nutrition, and survived.

In the case of the Catholics, they apparently ate only the eucharist (the bread and wine that represent the body and blood of Christ.) As they were obviously eating something, we can count them out of this discussion.

The famous Buddhist example is Ram Bahadur Bomjon, who wanders around followed by strings of devotees, sits in pits and meditates, and apparently does not eat.

Discovery Channel filmed Ram for 96 hours continuously and did not observe him eat or drink (or move) during that time. Ram did not show any signs of dehydration, even though a normal person would die from kidney failure after four days without fluids.

In Hinduism, there are accounts of saints who “live by the rays of the moon and sun.” (Impossible in the case of the Moon as it does not emit its own light, it merely reflects the light of the sun and the earth.)


More modern examples, such as Therese Neumann (another Catholic who allegedly survived for years on nothing but wafers and alcohol – big deal, that is not air!), Prahlad Jani (65 years without food – just the nectar dripping from his palate…sounds like a serious case of post-nasal drip) and Wiley Brooks.

74-year old Mr Brooks is a nutcase of a particularly high order. The Breatharian Institute of America site promotes Mr Brooks’ seminars “The Empowered Ascension” and “Immortality” workshops.” For a mere USD 1 000 000.00 Mr Brooks will explain to you how you can clear your past life karma and negative energies, in preparation for the Ascension which will occur in March 2013.

I wish these crackpots would coordinate their dates…..exactly WHEN is the world going to end? Can SOMEONE give me a definite date please??

The list of famous Breatharians is fairly long, and the philosophy is a whole pile of New Age-y religious crap. The book “Life Style without Food” by Joachim M Werdin, downloaded for free, makes for very disturbing reading. Why does anyone buy into this delusional nonsense?

In the cases that were tested, like Jani, the observations were made over days, not years. I will concede that if a person is well-nourished they could survive for a few days without food and water, longer with some water.

It is impossible for a human being to simply decide to change from being a food-eater to a light-energy synthesiser. You can wish, and wish, and lie to yourself as much as you like – but you just can’t do it, sorry. After a few days you will need some water if you don’t want to die.  And after a few more days, you will have to eat some food.

Or you will start to look like this:

And after that, you probably will die, as some who have tried this Consciousness Raising Exercise have done already. People who encourage others to follow these insane ideas tend to deny responsibility for the deaths that occur.

They say that you must take responsibility for your own life – so if you read their book and believe their claims that you will reach a higher cosmic dimension if you sit and stare at the sun without food or water for days at a time, and you ultimately die, it’s your OWN FAULT!

Back in the real world, the cult of Breatharianism has been debunked – thoroughly, and not just once. A quick google search throws up dozens of examples. James Randi has been especially effective at demonstrating that Breatharians are lying about living on light – they eat and drink. You just don’t get to see them do it.

I feel sorry for people who are so desperate for a better existence they would try something like Breatharianism. The recent case of the Swiss woman who starved herself to death in this way  proves that this is an ongoing problem. Only rational thinking and education will put an end to these dangerous ideas.


SQUID, chakras and other assorted electromagnetic Woo

I am surprised at how many people I meet believe that the human body is surrounded by a large internally generated electro-magnetic field. They use this field as an explanation for New Age woo such as Auras, Chakras, Ghosts, Reiki, Chi, and so on.

Let’s examine the idea.

First off, I have done quite an extensive search and I can find nothing I would call a CREDIBLE source that even mentions such a field, in the way the Woo Brigade describe it.

I did find credible information that confirms that tiny electrical currents in the brain travel from neuron to neuron, and when they reach a muscle, trigger chemical reactions that make the muscle fibres contract or relax. This is what makes your heart beat, allows you to move about, and is generally accepted to be pretty essential for life.

As for magnetic fields – every cell in your body has ion channels that allow ions to pass through their surface, which results in a tiny voltage and creates a tiny magnetic field. This magnetic field is very, very weak. Much weaker than any magnetic field in your environment.

Non-credible sources, such as this one,  claim that “biomagnetic fields” (pulsing magnetic fields emitted by all tissues and organs of the body) surrounding the body have been measured by a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID), and that these fields can be used to diagnose and treat illness.

A SQUID is a highly sensitive scientific instrument, and is used in medicine to measure very weak magnetic fields, such as the neural activity of the brain and heart. The diagnosis part of the claim is at least partially correct – what about the “treatment” part?

Apparently, the magnetic fields around the body provide a more accurate picture of its physiology and pathology than conventional medical instruments do. And, huge pulsating biomagnetic fields emanating from the hands of therapeutic touch “healers” can “jump-start” the soft and hard tissues – such as bones, skin, nerves, capillaries and ligaments –  at specific “frequencies.”

Don’t bother looking for scientific evidence of these wild and fanciful claim anywhere – but you can obtain a list of the articles detailing the “research” from the publishers – Nature’s Own Research Association.

Norah? No, just NORA, don’t panic!

Acupuncture treatment relies on it, and Chakras are also supposed to be a manifestation of this electromagnetic field. Here is an ACTUAL series of exercises, sent to me by a Chakra “healing expert” (At first, they wanted me to pay to get this nonsense, but as I haven’t responded yet, they have dropped their price to zero – because they’re “feeling generous”. No, they think if they rope me in I’ll buy something else of theirs down the line. I won’t.)


When there is a leak, you have to patch it. Many people are energy-depleted because they are not able to hold enough life force energy or “chi.” (I thought it was more likely low levels of glucose in the blood?) In this energy condition, you are flushing energy down and away from you, much like a toilet flushes water down. In order to maintain good energy health, you want energy spiraling (sic) up into your base chakra. Here’s one way you can do it in 4 easy steps:

  1. Close your eyes and imagine you can see the energy leaking out of your tailbone (coccyx)
  2. Imagine a patch large enough to cover the skin
  3. Place the patch over the leak
  4. Imagine you go beneath the energy and reverse the flow to spiral it up into your body through your tailbone 


Why is this important? Life force energy is also fed to us through our crown chakra. (By whom? And how?) The crown chakra is located on the top of your head. We maintain a higher life force energy when our crown chakra is open and active. (What does that mean, exactly?) When the crown chakra is closed or weak, we feel a lack of vitality and direction in our lives. As a result we look to others rather than our own spiritual compass for guidance. Here’s a simple, but very effective way to open up your crown chakra to receive energy in abundance:

  1. Place the fingertips of each of your hands on the top of your forehead when your hairline starts. Your fingertips should be touching.
  2. Now pull your fingertips away from each other as though you were opening up your crown
  3. Move your fingers 2 inches above the starting point and repeat the same movement
  4. Do this over the entire crown of your head until you reach the nape of your neck
  5. Take three deep breaths to anchor in this opening (what????)


Disruption of the flow of your life force energy occurs when a chakra is frozen or weak. It is common for individuals to have a frozen or weak third chakra. The third chakra represents your will power, confidence and sense of self. This results in a lack of confidence and will to move forward enthusiastically with towards (sic) your goals. The third chakra energy wheel is located 2 inches above the navel in the solar plexus area. These simple steps will help you activate your third chakra effectively:

  1. Rub your palms together swiftly creating static electricity (actually just warmth, from friction)
  2. Place the palm of your right hand on your solar plexus, rotating your palm in a clockwise direction while repeating: “I am powerful, I am the will of creating (sic) what I want.”
  3. Repeat these steps 2 or 3 more times”
If I want to learn more about how to heal myself using ONLY my imagination, she has an entire training course, available on an easy 90-day payment plan… Of course!
As a lady I love and respect very much likes to say : “Once again, it all comes down to money!”

If you managed to read through all the chakra exercises without falling off your chair laughing, or falling asleep, you would have noticed a couple of things:

  1. there is an assumption that you have an energy field which leaks out of various parts of your body
  2. this assumed energy field can be manipulated, and “put back” so to speak
  3. this manipulation is achieved through your imagination and rubbing your hands on various parts of your body
  4. chakra healing can’t heal bad grammar and spelling

Unfortunately, wishful thinking won’t make this fairy tale come true!

Nobody have EVER seen or discovered a chakra energy wheel. Take a human body, cut open the areas these energy wheels are supposed to reside in – you won’t find anything more exciting than bones, muscles, blood and nerves. Wave your metal scalpel over the area of the supposed chakra – do you feel any little electromagnetic tug? I thought not.

Chakra energy healing, like reiki and other therapeutic touch therapies, is nothing more than faith healing – you have to believe in it to get the benefit of the placebo effect. As long as there’s nothing really wrong with you, the placebo effect may even work. (Headaches, stress, backache, just getting old – all respond well to placebos)

However, if you have a serious illness, you should consult a doctor. You don’t have to have faith in your doctor or his medicine for it to work. That’s because real scientists, doing real research for many centuries, have by trial and replication and peer review, developed treatments for medical conditions that work, whether you believe they will or not. Human organs don’t decide for themselves whether to respond to surgery or not. Bacteria and viruses don’t decide for themselves whether to respond to antibiotics and antivirals.

Surgery, or medication, is infinitely more likely to help your heart condition than waving your hands over your chest and believing your energy field will sort out your cardiac problems!








In fact, I will put money on it – when you’re lying on the floor, writhing in agony, shooting pains in your chest, numbness in your left arm – there is NO WAY you’re going to say “Bring me my chakra / faith healer” !

You’re going to reach for the nitroglycerine tablets and oxygen mask, and beg to be taken to the nearest hospital. In an ambulance. By a paramedic. And when you get there, you’re going to ask for a cardiologist, not a  “therapeutic touch healer” to wave their hands over you and manipulate your electromagnetic field,  or a priest to pray for the miraculous restoration of a healthy heart!

When it really counts, and your life is on the line, do you really think there’s an “alternative therapy” that can do better than conventional scientific medicine?
If you hold that belief, I once again refer you to What’s the Harm. Look up your favourite “alternative” treatment. Read the true stories of what reliance on that treatment has done to people.
Do you STILL believe your “therapy” is better than scientific medicine?

Auras – another way to heal?

I have a young friend (who shall remain nameless), who is firmly convinced he can see people’s Auras –  a colourful glow, like a halo, emanating mainly from the head but sometimes from the entire body. My friend has to concentrate really hard, staring at someone intently for a minute or two, until the Aura appears.

Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds exactly like a simple after-image to me – like when you stare at a green dot on a piece of white paper for about a minute, then look away and see a red or pink after-image which gradually fades away. It’s a very common optical illusion caused by retinal fatigue and other natural processes related to the visual system and the brain.

Stare at the green dot for 30 seconds, and then look at a blank white wall.

When I mentioned this possibility, my young friend gave me a “Look” and told me he had once seen a man at an ice-rink who was surrounded by a huge, multicoloured, pulsating aura – and that was no after-image!

So, what exactly are Auras, why do some people claim to be able to see them, and what significance do they have – if any?

Auras are yet another New Age phenomenon – an “electromagnetically-generated” colourful series of outlines that emanate from all living creatures, from bugs to bears and everything in-between, and reflect the metaphysical life force / energy /chi / soul or whatever you decide to call it.

Human auras are said to be generated by the chakras – 7  flower-shaped or wheel-like “energy structures” within the human body. These are strategically located – outside the head, between the eyes (the “third eye”), in the throat, the heart, the navel, the last bone of the spine, and the “tip of the sexual organ.” (Here we go again – it’s so MALE-centered! What happens if my sexual organ doesn’t have a tip? I’m a woman – we aren’t built like that!)

You will notice that they are illustrated in order exactly corresponding to the colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – with the Indigo corresponding to the third eye. I wonder if this has anything to do with “Indigo Children”? An interesting question I will leave for another post!

Apparently you need Special Psychic Powers to be able to see Auras (I bet Norah has it down to a fine art!)

Robert Bruce, an Aura Expert, says:

The human aura is both an energy field and a reflection of the subtle life energies within the body. These energies make us what we are and in turn are affected by our surroundings and life style. The aura reflects our health, character, mental activity and emotional state. It also shows disease – often long before the onset of symptoms.

And exactly HOW do we read an Aura? By the pretty colours! Bright Yellow is Sunny and Exhilarating, Green is for Healing and Teaching, Blue is Peaceful and Contemplative, and so on. Actually, that’s a bit too specific – there is rough agreement on what the primary colours mean, but the more subtle colours are largely left up to the psychic’s imagination.

Assuming you think you may be clairvoyant, how do you conduct an Aura Healing Session?

  • It is best to work in daylight, and to remove your crystals from the room because they may interfere with the electromagnetic field of the aura. (Good idea to turn off the Telly too.)
  • Stand your subject in front of a white background, and look at their side – left or right side, it doesn’t matter
  • After a while you will start to see their electromagnetic energies as “wavy lines of energy”
  • You may notice two or three colours in the aura. You can use your own intuition to decide what those colours mean – there are no hard and fast rules, so you can gaily make it up as you go along. You will undoubtedly still get paid.
  • If you notice any holes in the aura, these may indicate illness, or “imbalance” in the subject’s body
  • Feel free to take a wild guess as to what that illness might be, and inform your subject that they have an emotional problem that is causing this illness
  • Ask them if they are willing to be healed – at the soul level first – if not, the problem with the aura will revert back to a different part of their body
  • Assuming you have laid it on thick, and they acknowledge that their soul is indeed sick, you can start moving your hands around slowly in their aura field, mingling your aura with theirs
  • This will balance their chi / life force / energy field / soul and heal whatever was ailing them
  • Or not.
  • Be careful not to give any guarantees that this “healing” will actually heal anything – a clever disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of your advertising is normally sufficient.

So, the question is – are these people simply deranged, or is there evidence that auras exist and can tell us what the psychics say they can?

I have a few problems with the whole concept:

  • The aura-generating chakra structures have never been found or demonstrated to exist is any way. Yes, I know people have believed in them in one form or another for centuries – but that doesn’t make them actually, physically REAL. Attempts to link the chakras to the human endocrine system (as suggested by the famous psychic Edgar Cayce) have never been verified.
  • Chi / life force / body energy fields have likewise never been shown to be anything other than imaginary. Remember, widespread belief is no guarantee that it’s actually THERE. (The same applies to the myriad gods people have ardently believed in and fought wars over for millennia.)
  • The electromagnetic fields in the human body are tiny, they don’t protrude beyond the body, and there is no evidence they can be interpreted as indicating anything about one’s personality or state of health. They are simply the result of natural biological processes: nerve impulses and your beating heart.
  • If there was an internally-generated electromagnetic field around your body, you couldn’t use a hand-held compass – and yet clearly you can!
  •  Visual phenomena such as auras can be explained without resorting to the  supernatural or metaphysical.
  • Photos of auras can be faked, or generated using galvonometers or Kirlian photography (which both react to moisture on the skin.) Here is an excellent explanation, by Joe Nickell of CSI.

In all my reading and exploration of subjects such as auras, labyrinths, astrology, psychics, religion  and so on, it has become very clear to me that many people are searching for control of their lives.

We live in a rapidly changing world, with so much happening that affects us, but that we cannot control. Climate change, economic recessions, poverty, pollution, natural disasters, viral pandemics…

Are these irrational belief systems not just a way of coping? Trying to bury one’s head in the sand and hoping it will all just go away? It seems to me that people are trying so hard to divorce themselves from reality because the hard truth about our existence is too much for them:

  • the fact that medical care and hospitalisation is expensive and sometimes unsuccessful, and that there are some diseases we don’t yet have a cure for – so they reject scientific medicine and instead pray for divine intervention, or turn to reiki, aura healing, chakra therapy, reflexology, magnetic therapy and the like. (Isn’t it hilarious that when they’re in a car accident, or have a heart attack or a stroke they are 100% in favour of scientific medicine!)
  • the fact that their parent, partner or child is dead – so they go to a psychic to try to contact them, or get comfort from the idea that they will see that person again in Heaven. (They never consider that their Loved One may have ended up in that other religious invention – Hell)  (Hell must be a very empty place – all those demons sitting around playing cards, picking their teeth with their pointy sticks… )
  • the fact that they have no control over what could happen in the future – so they turn to astrology, reading their horoscope every day for “guidance” pulled out of someone’s backside
  • the fact that they will inevitably die – so they turn to religion in the hope of an afterlife (in Heaven of course, never in Hell)

All of the above will cost you time and money, and will not make a jot of difference. You may feel better, but nothing will have really changed….

I have a suggestion:

Try living each day as though it might be your last and ENJOY IT!  Love deeply and strongly; appreciate the kindness you receive, and give as much as you can in return; learn about the real world so you can understand why things happen and tackle your problems head-on, instead of cowering behind irrationality;  be compassionate towards your fellow Earthlings – human and animal. Most of all – LOVE YOURSELF! Appreciate yourself, you are actually a Good Person 🙂

You can do all of these things without help from any gods, or psychics, or quacks. You can do them because you WANT to – not to score points towards an eternal reward, or to avoid an eternal punishment.

And when you are on your last legs you will be able to look back at your life and smile – free from worry over those non-existent demons, and happy in the knowledge that you won’t have to spend eternity worshipping a megalomaniac egotist with a seriously sadistic streak!

Feng Shoo-‘way

My husband, a Landscape Architect, suggested I should write about Feng Shui. Many large companies use Feng Shui when designing their office blocks and landscapes, so he thinks there might be something in it.

The “Feng Shui” we are most familiar with is a modern decorating style based on an ancient Chinese belief that all objects are alive and filled with Qi (life force). Balancing the Qi energy in any given space will ensure “health, wealth, good fortune, productivity” and great sex for those who live and work in it.

Qi is composed of Yin and Yang, the two opposing but interrelated Feng Shui forces that make up every thing in the universe. These forces support and nourish one another and create the essence of life around us.

Yin is supposed to be the female force – soft, slow, quiet, passive and moist – while Yang is the masculine – strong, colourful, active, bright, (and presumably dry…)

(Funny how the guys always get the interesting part in these ancient philosophies, isn’t it?)

A Feng-Shui-corrected home is meant to balance the Yin and Yang, harmonise the universal life forces, align the Qi – and look pretty, all at the same time.

(It is actually really easy to make this stuff up as you go along. Try it. Just use the words “Energy”, “Life Force”. “Harmony”, “Qi” and any other New Agey buzz-words you can think of, in any old order – people will believe you, I promise!)

Let us continue:

There are 5 elements of Feng Shui: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, and these interact in “productive and destructive cycles.” (I couldn’t find out what this actually means…unless it’s like “Rock, Paper, Scissors?” Metal and Fire beat Wood, Earth and Water beat Fire?)

You will also need a Bagua (“8 Areas”) diagram, which combines the magnetic direction with a range of colours, the 5 Elements and the Nine Major Areas of Life into a Magical Map of Feng Shui that will help you to evaluate and adjust your home and work spaces to maximise your health, wealth and so on.

The key is to make sure you check very carefully which direction is magnetic north, because the Qi is aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field, and if you get it wrong you will be poor, unhappy and celibate for ever!

There is some correlation between these two diagrams – but, as we have come to expect, diagrams of this nature tend to show a bit of “creativity” with the rules. Anyway, you get the point, I’m sure. North (at the bottom) is watery and blue/black and is related to your career and business – etcetera.

Important to note: If you are in the Southern Hemisphere you should NOT turn the diagram upside down – North is North, regardless of where you are on the face of the Planet…… Or is it????

It is well documented that the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening and appears to be in the beginning phases of a reversal that happens on average every 300 000 years and takes about 1 000 years to complete itself. In the interim, the field will weaken and become chaotic, with as many as two or three North and South poles simultaneously.

These reversals have happened many times in the past, but the change is gradual and the planet is still protected from solar radiation because the magnetic field does not disappear altogether while the shift is happening. (No, the North and South geographic poles are NOT going to suddenly flip over in 2012, despite what the crackpots are claiming. Watch this blog for some ideas on that silly notion soon!)

Feng Shui adherents don’t seem to be too concerned about the fact that the north magnetic pole is constantly on the move at the rate of about 40km a year. From my African perspective, magnetic north shifts by about 1 degree annually. It is currently in the far north of Canada, and will most likely be in northern Siberia within 50 years.

Now, imagine this: you’ve just paid some nice lady with a kaftan and beads good money to align your furniture and ornaments with the Qi energy and the North pole’s magnetic field – and then the damn thing goes and moves!

Do you have to move everything fractionally every year? What happens if your bed ends up IN FRONT of your door and you can’t get out? What about your garden? Do you have to dig it all up – the patiently aligned paths, the cute little 3-legged money toads, the carefully raked Japanese Garden – and move it around to make sure it’s where your Bagua says it needs to be?







Feng Shui is a type of Geomancy or divination by geographical features. It assumes that by placing physical objects in an environment in specific ways, you can influence your life and future for the better. This is purely magical thinking.

Creating a pleasant and peaceful environment is great, but claiming that it can influence the course of your life, prevent illnesses, bring you money and good fortune, help you find love and happiness?…. No, it won’t. It’s just bricks and mortar, sand and stone, wood, metal and water. The magic is in your head.

Qi, the so-called life force is part of a metaphysical, not empirical, belief system. This type of energy belief is popular in many cultures and religions. (It must be stressed that the energy referred to is not the energy we refer to in physical science – the potential for a system to perform work on another system.)

There is no scientific evidence for the existence of Qi energy. Many alternative health practitioners claim to be tapping into this magical life force (acupuncture, reflexology, chiropractic etc), but it has been shown that their limited effectiveness is really due to the placebo affect, and in some cases to the benefits of relaxation and massage.

Feng Shui is a seductive and complex system. When I was researching this blog, I found myself thinking it’s no wonder people are taken in by Feng Shui – it SEEMS so plausible! All the carefully specified rules, complicated diagrams, special ornaments… the consultant who comes around and measures directions, gives advice on how to build, how to hang doors, where to place mirrors, what colours to use, where to place furniture… and the end result is so gorgeous – so Japanese – so mystical.

Sorry people, it’s STILL just a style of interior decoration. You may feel good working and living in such a space but it will not influence anything other than your state of mind.

If you really want to change the course of your life, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol, get off your butt and into the gym, work hard but smart, love your family and friends and use your common sense!



Some of my friends have mentioned consulting a reflexologist about their health problems. I tend to lump reflexology in with acupuncture, homeopathy, reiki, magnet therapy and many other “alternative health” practices. The self-reported benefits of some of these treatments seem impressive to the uncritical mind – but what do we find when we delve a little deeper?

Reflexology, also known as Zone Therapy, was invented by William H Fitzgerald, an American ear, nose and throat doctor, in the early 20th century. His idea was that the human body is divided into ten vertical zones, each of which is represented by a part of the foot on the opposite side of the body.

This all ties back to the Eastern ideas of Qi or Chi – a life force or energy which supposedly flows along detectable meridians in the human body. By manipulating this Qi, therapists claim to be able to:

  • stimulate lymph nodes, kidney and colon reflexes, thereby “cleansing the body of toxins” (I thought your liver and kidneys did that all by themselves)
  • “balance and harmonise” the body (What??? That doesn’t even make sense!)
  • enhance bodily function by increasing oxygen levels and nutrient supply to every cell (deep breathing when you fall asleep during your foot massage?)
  • unblock nerve impulses and stimulate lethargic blood supply which prevent your Qi from reaching unhealthy or diseased organs.
  • aid healing after surgery (using the same mysterious Qi energy)
  • reduce tension (as would ANY foot massage)

By pressing on parts of the foot, the highly-trained reflexologist can detect areas of resistance which apparently indicate disease in the organ or part of the body represented by that spot on the foot. (Hands apparently also have zones connected in the same way ……. as do ears.)

Therapy involves massage at that point, which is believed to repair the diseased organ and generally improve the patient’s health (see the list of outlandish claims above). Several sessions of high-pressure massage may be needed to cure the problem, and thereafter maintenance sessions to prevent further disease. (This is really funny if you think about it. The reflexologist diagnoses a disease which does not yet exist in your body, treats it with nice foot massages at great expense to you because Medical Aids sensibly refuse to pay for reflexology treatments, and then claims a “hit” because you DIDN’T get sick with whatever they were treating you for!)

Okay, that all sounds very nice, comforting in a way. Here’s a therapy that can treat or cure your diseased organs without surgical intervention or even drugs. No nasty trips to the doctor, no lengthy and expensive stays in hospital, no years of chronic medication…. Hell no! Just pop off to the reflexologist for a foot massage and you’ll be fine!

Just a couple of small problems……….

Reflexology is not a legal medical profession – in South Africa for instance, two years of study at a spa training college or cosmetic and massage academy, covering the following subjects – anatomy and physiology, pathology, theoretical and practical reflexology, business practices, patient care, nutrition, HIV policy and first aid – will give you a DIPLOMA in Reflexology.

You can then register as a member of the Allied Health Professionals Council, pay your annual fees, and go out and pretend to be a medically qualified to diagnose and treat people with serious health problems.

The fact that they might DIE because they came to you for a foot massage instead of consulting a REAL doctor shouldn’t concern you too much, should it? Apparently ethics are not a huge part of the training course….

Neither is consistency.

Reflexologists can’t agree on exactly WHICH part of the foot/hand/ear is supposed to be magically connected to WHICH part of the body! You can check this out for yourself – just Google Reflexology Images, and you will find pages of charts of the zones – hands, feet and ears – and if you care to look closely you will see that although they obviously started out with Dr Fitzgerald’s original charts, some Poetic License has crept in over the years.

Compare the massage spots with the first diagram above - notice anything?

This one is for when you have an enlarged heart....

Isn’t it weird how the heart bit jumps around, getting bigger and smaller….? And the ascending colon becomes the descending colon? Some charts coyly don’t mention certain “private parts” – I guess those therapists didn’t learn about STDs in Cosmetics School….

The other major problem with Reflexology is that there is no scientific basis for its theories. There are no detectable meridians, there is no detectable Qi or Life Force, there is no evidence that this non-existent Qi is connected to parts of the hand or foot or ear and can be manipulated to treat specific illnesses. It’s just not biologically plausible. We have perfectly adequate explanations for the cause of most diseases, and scientific researchers are working on the rest. You don’t need to invoke magic to explain illness – germs, unhealthy eating habits, genetic inheritance, unhealthy environment, accidents, etc can explain most of what goes wrong in the human body.

There are SO MANY published results of clinical trials which have tested reflexology properly (random, double-blinded, peer-reviewed) and found it to be useful only for relaxation, and some pain relief, as well as having a placebo effect. Here are just a few links:

You will notice that I have not included any links to “trials” which consist mainly of anecdotal evidence and which do not provide proper data to back up their conclusions – the internet positively teems with such information, all of it useless from a scientific and medical point of view.

Once again, I ask the question, What’s the Harm in seeing a reflexologist?

If you have any bone or joint condition in your feet or lower legs, it can be exacerbated by forceful massage as applied by the reflexologist. These are not doctors – they have a two or three-year diploma with debatable credentials – yes, they will ask you about your medical history and try to take reasonable care to not kill you outright. You hope.

If you allow a reflexologist to treat you for a serious condition you might delay consulting a medical doctor who can treat you with the medicine or surgery you really need. The condition could get a lot worse before you end up seeking proper medical care, by which time it might be too late…. cancer is the obvious example where early diagnosis and aggressive medical treatment is essential.

You just can’t afford to mess around with cancer….  How many people do you know who were diagnosed, tried chemotherapy, thought it wasn’t helping, went to an “alternative” practitioner, and then DIED??? Yes, it’s often fatal anyway, but you have a better chance of survival and a better quality of life if you get REAL MEDICAL CARE!

Modern reflexology tries to downplay the woo – if you look at a lot of their websites they emphasise the relaxation and massage side of it. Well, if it’s just a massage, why call yourself a reflexologist? Why rely on Zones and Qi and all the rest of the nonsense to back you up? Why pretend that it’s a valid medical intervention when it clearly isn’t?

Could it be because you can charge a LOT more for a reflexology session under the guise of medicine than you can for a simple foot massage? Reflexology treatment can run to several sessions and of course there are those “preventative” sessions – you could be tied into those for years!