“Miracle” vs Medical Marvel

The South African media is brimming with excitement over the “miracle” of the 3-year-old girl, Pippie Kruger, who has received a massive graft of her own cloned skin, which appears to have been a success.

Doctors at the Garden City Clinic, in Johannesburg, have been treating this little girl ever since she was burnt over 80% of her body on New Years’ Eve – a liquid fire-lighter her father was using exploded, setting Pippie on fire, and leaving her with terrible burn wounds over most of her body.

Since the accident, Pippie has had 45 operations, kidney failure and five heart attacks. She survived – thanks to the wonderful care she received from Doctor Ridwan Mia and his team at the Clinic.

A few square centimetres of healthy skin from her groin (which was protected from the fire by her nappy) was sent to Genzyme, a biotechnical company in Boston. They cloned her skin, growing it in thin sheets. These were flown to South Africa last week and transplanted onto Pippie’s body in a gruelling operation. The little girl has been heavily sedated and immobilised, and tonight some of the bandages were peeled away. The cloned skin remained in place – much to the relief and joy of Pippie’s parents, the medical team, and all who have been following this story.

Dr Mia appeared on TV news tonight, glowing with happiness and relief, and excited to tell the country the fantastic news – and what did the interviewer say?

“It’s a miracle!”

Well no, it’s not.

It’s the result of medical science. Doctors, clinic, biotechnology company, researchers…. and Pippie’s healthy body (before the accident)… are responsible for the success of this ground breaking surgery. Doctor Mia and his team displayed great strength, skill and determination.

There is no need to assume a god or gods had any hand in it. If a god or the gods, assuming they exist, were in the slightest bit interested, wouldn’t he/they have prevented the fire-lighter from exploding? Wouldn’t he/they have taken steps to ensure the child was not burnt over 80% of her little body?

And, it’s no good saying Pippie’s pain, the suffering she has endured and will surely endure for years to come, is all part of some divine plan. What plan could possibly justify doing such a terrible thing to a totally innocent child and her parents?

All credit should go to the medical team, Doctor Mia, the Garden City Clinic, Pippie’s parents, and to Genzyme – it is an insult to imply that a supernatural “miracle” is responsible for saving this child’s life!

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Faith versus Medical Science

The husband of a colleague of mine has been very ill, and was admitted to a hospital yesterday for tests. I understand he has seen various doctors already, including a neurologist, but there has been no definite diagnosis as yet.

It sounds as though he might have had a stroke, or be suffering from epilepsy, or possibly a tumour – I’m not a doctor, so I can’t speculate. He was admitted to quite a good hospital, they ran some tests, and have decided to transfer him to a better hospital in Pretoria, for further tests. His doctors are obviously taking his plight seriously, and are investigating every angle. I truly hope they can find out what is wrong, and treat him successfully – for the sake of his wife and children.

I asked my colleague today how she was handling the stress, and during our conversation she got quite emotional… who wouldn’t be emotional in her situation? I tried to reassure her, telling her she should be grateful for the doctors, nurses and hospitals, for the sophisticated medical equipment and treatments available – they will do everything in their power to diagnose and treat him.

(If he’d been born in the Middle Ages, he might have been subject to all sorts of horrendous “treatments,” any one of which might have killed him! Blood-letting was particularly popular….. Fortunately, medical science has evolved since then!)

Sometimes an illness is too far advanced to be treated successfully, and sometimes there is no known cure…. Holding back her tears, my colleague said “All I can do is have faith in God to help us.”

That got me thinking: why would anyone think that God can make a difference in this situation? If God cared, wouldn’t he have prevented her husband getting sick in the first place? If he was powerless to prevent the illness, couldn’t he have used his omnipotent superpowers to guide the doctors to make a quick diagnosis, instead of putting this family through this torture?

Of course, the True Believer will respond that this man’s illness, and the pain and anguish of his wife and children are all part of some “Divine Plan.”

I can’t imagine what Plan would consist of such cruelty – clearly this god is a bit of a sadist – but assuming that is correct and there is a Plan of some sort – what point would there be in praying to him for help? He clearly has his mind made up already!


Here’s an interesting thought experiment: take 100 religious people and 100 non-believers. Inject them all with a bacterium which is normally fatal. Isolate each group on a separate island, with food and shelter, and give the atheists the antibiotic known to be effective against the bacterial infection.

Don’t give the religious group any antibiotics – instead send out a worldwide news release, asking people of the same religious persuasion to pray for the religious group to be healed by their god. Naturally, there will be a massive response and the heavens will positively ring with the desperate prayers of the faithful.

Come back to each island in 3 months time, and count the survivors.

Any guess as to which group will have the greatest number still living?

Most people would admit that the group of non-believers would have the most survivors, because the gods don’t really answer prayers. (Ask any religious person you know if they would volunteer to be in the religious group, and I can guarantee they will come up with a really good excuse to not participate!)

My colleague would be better off putting her confidence in the doctors and hospitals who are actually DOING something to help her husband. These people and institutions are REAL  i.e. they can be shown to actually exist

You don’t have to have “FAITH” in them. You can hate and distrust them if you want to. They will still do their very best, apply their knowledge and experience, use their diagnostic tools, and try to help regardless of how you feel about them. They don’t need you to worship them. They WANT to cure your illness, and all they ask is to be reimbursed for their time and skill.

If you need to be convinced of the terrible HARM that can come from relying on faith that a god, any god, will heal you – read this! You can pick up any newspaper on almost any day and find similar stories. Faith is not an effective medical treatment!

I’m not referring exclusively to the christian version of faith healing here – most religions claim that their god has the power to heal, and works through humans, animals or even inanimate objects. (Even bits of rock are supposed to be able to heal – see my article on the Atlantean Power Crystals.)

I feel deep compassion for people who are deceived by faith healing. It’s not their fault – they have been brought up to believe it. They have probably never heard an alternate view – and even when they do, they tend to reject such views outright because they have invested too much in their religion already. It’s a hard habit to break, apparently.

Here is a video by Derren Brown, which explains how faith healers deceive people into believing they have special powers.  Here is James Randi’s expose of Peter Popoff who received radio transmissions through a wireless earpiece during his healing crusades, feeding him information about the audience who had filled out prayer cards before the performances….. Fortunately, this charlatan is no longer in the faith healing business!

Trickery and fraud by faith healers has been exposed many, many times – read James Randi’s excellent book “Faith Healers” for more infamous examples. If so many faith healers are using these tricks, how do you know if any one faith healer really does have Special Powers?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

So far the evidence is stacked high and wide against faith healing.

Supernatural claims are outside of the realm of scientific study, but some scientists have tried to measure the effects of prayer and found them to be largely absent or negative. I found some interesting articles, mostly reaching similar conclusions:

“Meta-studies of the broader literature have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernable effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the three most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.” from Wikipedia

Prayer is often credited with rather unmiraculous benefits, such as recovery from heart surgery which would most likely have happened anyway, especially if the patient is in intensive care, receiving medication and expert nursing 24/7.

I think the real “miracle” is the dedication of the nurses, the intelligence of the doctors and the persistence of the researchers. We are living in an age of amazing advances in medical science – why does anybody bother with the Sky Fairy and his Associates?

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.)

“THE CHAKRA ENERGY PATCHING EXERCISE

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 

THE CROWN CHAKRA EXERCISE

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????)

THE PERSONAL POWER CHAKRA EXERCISE

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?

Bees in the yard? You need a Sangoma!

Africans, especially South Africans, are very superstitious. Long before Christianity invaded the continent, Africans worshipped their ancestors – and in spite of Christianity’s best efforts (or maybe because of it) they still do.

“Appeasing the ancestors” was cited when bulls were slaughtered outside each new FIFA World Cup stadium in 2010. Yes, that’s right – blood was shed so that the South African football team could win a few games of football….


 

 

You may have noticed that they didn’t do very well, barely scraping through the first matches and coming nowhere near the Finals. Clearly, the ancestors were not appeased by the bellowing of the bull, his legs bound, having his throat slit by a cheetah-skinned witch doctor with a rusty knife.

When the ANC (African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa) opened its Centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein in January, our President had to put on his skins, shells and feathers and perform the bull slaughtering ritual to please the ancestors. Unfortunately, the President is a bit old, and a bit unfit to carry the whole gory process through to its terrible conclusion. so a younger man had to do it. The ancestors were obviously not pleased by this either – the 1 million government-issue condoms supplied for the Centenary celebrations were withdrawn (pardon the pun) because they were all full of holes….. So much for “Protection!”

(As an aside: Why do they need to supply 1 MILLION condoms for a supposedly dignified political party to celebrate its 100th Birthday? Could those men who were planning to screw their way through the whole thing not have brought along their own condoms?? How lucky did they think they were going to get, anyway??)

This last week, the family of a dead South African singer, Khulekani “Mgqumeni” Khumalo, were told by a Sangoma (witch doctor) that they were to bring a pure white goat into Johannesburg central, to be slaughtered, to please the ancestors. This Sangoma said the singer was not in fact dead and she knew where to find him (even though he had died as a result of drinking a potion supplied by a different Sangoma in 2009 and been buried before their eyes).

Sure enough, a young man appeared, claiming to be the dead singer – and THOUSANDS of South African fans rushed to see him. The police had to be brought in to control the crowds! Never mind the fact that the imposter looked nothing like the dead singer, had a different name, and admitted that he couldn’t even sing! The family bought his story of being held captive as a zombie by witch doctors for the past few years – hook, line and sinker. One of the dead man’s wives even shacked up with the imposter!

Unfortunately for him, we have such a thing as DNA and finger-print identification. He has been identified, arrested and charged with fraud.

Such is the level of superstition and gullibility among South Africans – they are quite open to the idea that a man can rise from the dead…. Oh, wait a minute…I suppose that includes most Americans, a large number of the conservative British, and some older Europeans too.

And, this very weekend, a Sangoma in East London is performing her magical appeasement of the ancestors, murdering another hapless white goat. Why? To rid a woman of some bees that have set up a hive in a tree in her garden! That’s right folks – the ancestors can control the bees too.

So, what exactly is a Sangoma? She, or sometimes he, is a traditional “healer” who diagnoses illness through divination. She uses “muti” made from roots, herbs, bark, animal and HUMAN body parts to cast spells, perform rituals and tell fortunes.

A Sangoma realises she is being called to the Craft after suffering some illness such as a headache, stomach ache, neck or shoulder pain, or has a psychotic episode. She then goes to Sangoma School where she learns to respect the ancestors, how to gather and use muti, she bathes in the blood of sacrificed animals, and on graduation gets to sacrifice her own little goat and wear its gallbladder on her head.

We have about 200 000 Sangomas in South Africa, and they are the healer-of-choice for most of our population (80% of whom claim to be Christians, by the way). When you go to a Sangoma to diagnose and treat your illness, there will be loads of chanting, dancing, drumming and burning of plants to summon the ancestors. When the ancestor invades the Sangoma’s body she will go into a shamanistic trance, speaking in tongues and doing other scary stuff. If you’re lucky she may just “throw the bones” or interpret your dreams to tell you what’s wrong with you, instead of scaring the shit out of you with that whole spirit possession thing.

Once the ancestors have revealed to her what you’re suffering from, and figured out how to treat you, she will give you some muti – “medications” of sand, plant and animal origin, imbued with “spiritual significance” and symbolism – and send you on your way.

Unfortunately, these remedies are among the leading cause of unnatural deaths in South Africa. Even children are fed these “medicines” and die horrible deaths as a result. EVEN WORSE is the fact that men, women, and especially little children, are MURDERED to provide Sangomas with their muti!

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TRUTH IS:

  • Sangomas are not medically trained in any way
  • they are not qualified to diagnose anything
  • they are not qualified to treat anything.
  • Their “remedies” are at best harmless herbs, but at worst FATALLY POISONOUS untested concoctions.
  • Ancestor worship is pointless. Your ancestors are dead, they do not communicate with you through psychotic women in self-induced hypnotic trances!

What’s the Harm?

  • Thousands of dead people with sand and herbs and crushed body parts inserted into various orifices?
  • Little boys and girls murdered in the veld with their eyes, lips and genitals cut out?
  • Women raped and murdered and their breasts cut off?

Do you need to hear any more?

Superstition, witchcraft, religious ritual and trade in human body parts… and all in the name of legally sanctioned “Traditional Medicine.”

This superstitious practise is so pervasive that Medical Aid societies in South Africa may soon be forced to pay their members out for visits to a Sangoma, and employers will have to accept “sick notes” obtained by employees who visit a legally registered Sangoma.

Many South Africans believe that muti is a better treatment for HIV/AIDS than anti-retrovirals (ARVs).

However, there is a danger of drug interactions if an HIV sufferer uses herbal products while taking ARVs, and the ARVs may be less effective as a result – but some believe this is just a conspiracy to undermine “traditional African medicine”. In spite of the clinical evidence, they would rather believe the promises of their Sangoma than those of their properly qualified medical doctors. Sometimes they stop using ARVs in favour of herbal “medicines”, or delay starting ARVs – much to their own detriment.

It’s no wonder southern Africa has  the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world….

Poverty and a terrible lack of education will ensure the Sangomas stay in business. The steady legitimising of the craft, and its acceptance in wider society as some kind of New Age shamanism, will also ensure their survival.

Will rationality ever prevail in a society like this one?

I sincerely doubt it!

 


Reflexology

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!