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In Praise of Reflexology; a Clients Experience

As an Associate Professor in Philosophy, I approached reflexology twelve years ago with some wariness. I have a PhD in Ancient Philosophy from the University of Cambridge and I am not, I think, at all 'suggestible'. I am trained in rational scepticism; I like to see a strong argument based on evidence.

So at my first session, when my reflexologist asked me about my symptoms and medical history, I said that I should prefer to say nothing and see what she diagnosed during the treatment. At the end of the session we would compare notes. She was remarkably open to this suggestion, and good-naturedly got to work. I was astonished at how accurate and precise her diagnosis was – not just about the current symptoms that had brought me to her in my mid-thirties, but about my entire medical history going back 20 years. She even picked up on a neck injury that I had sustained when I was 14! During the 12 years that I have visited her since, I have been impressed time and again at the precision of her diagnosis. At the beginning I was undergoing a series of conventional tests at my local hospital; yet she found the exact location of the medical problem before my consultant did. When I told the consultant that my reflexologist suggested we look in a certain spot first, he was initially dismissive; but when he discovered she was exactly right, he told me that he felt he should rethink his formerly disparaging view of reflexology.

It is not just the diagnostic capacities of reflexology that I have found extremely helpful. In my view – admittedly not scientifically tested – reflexology has also benefited me a great deal therapeutically, particularly with chronic problems that more conventional forms of Western medicine sometimes struggle with: muscular aches, sinus problems, insomnia. I also feel very comfortable with a form of therapy that aims to get to know and treat the whole person, and which views 'physical' and 'psychological' states as intricately interwoven. I firmly believe that reflexology has helped keep me strong and sane even during some very testing times. And just having 40 minutes of peace, when you are assisted in first unwinding and then in recharging your batteries, is enormously beneficial in itself!

I am aware that a number of Western scientists say that there is no scientific evidence for reflexology. All I can say is that my experience suggests to me that, if so, this is because the scientific evidence has not yet been found, not that it does not exist. After all, electricity existed before humans 'discovered' it. I view reflexology not as an alternative to Western medicine, but as complementary to it. If I really need antibiotics, or surgery, than I will have them. But I definitely regard reflexology as profoundly and consistently beneficial to my psycho-physical well-being. I am not rich and if I was not happy with the results of my fortnightly treatment, I would not keep paying for it!

Dr. Angela Hobbs PhD