Reflexology or Zone Therapy and other energy-balancing therapies:
Massage, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Polarity Therapy, Applied Kinesiology, Touch for Health, Therapeutic Touch, Magnets, Iridology
At the heart of alternative medicine therapies is the doctrine of correspondence, or sympathies, between the cosmos, earth, and man. This concept is central to the term life force energy. This energy in theory is emanating from the cosmos, from which all things are said
to be made, and within which all are one (pantheism).1 Let us look at
some popular therapies for health disorders developed from this theory.
Early in the development of the astrological system in Europe, the 12 houses of the zodiac were assigned to various parts of the body starting at the head with Aries, the ram, and ending at the feet with Pisces, the fish. The organs of the body were then assigned to the remaining individual houses.2 The Chinese divided the body in a vertical manner believing that a special universal cosmic energy they (referred to as ch’i)
ran through the body following 12 vertical divisions called meridians. These meridians had side channels to distribute the energy to the various organs of the body. In contrast, the Hindus described the distribution of vital energy as being concentrated in seven centers in the body called chakras. The chakras utilized nadis (small channels) to distribute energy to the tissues surrounding each chakra. When the energies of the chakras were combined; an aura was believed to surround the individual.
As previously explained, the cosmos was considered the macrocosm and man the microcosm. Man was then divided into micro-microcosms. Specific locations on the body were believed to have developed association in such a way as to represent the entire body. It was believed that cosmic energy influenced man by correspondence, association, and/or sympathy.3
One of the first body locations considered to reveal this sympathy, or correspondence, was the hand. It probably began in the Sumerian civilization. Birth omens were obtained by inspecting a newborn infant for any sign which would predict the child’s future. Palmistry likely had its origin in this manner.4
Palmistry, or Chiromancy, had roots in the ancient Vedas of India 4500 years ago.5
Additional areas of the body that were believed to have correspondence with all other areas of the body were added over time. Now, a total of 18 areas on the body are considered to be holograms of the whole.6 The most common locations are ear, hand, foot, the web between thumb and forefinger, tongue, etc. Apart from the hologram locations, the musculature and fascia (membranes, tendons, ligaments) of the body are also believed to have many points that may impede the flow of universal energy so as to influence the function of body, mind, and spirit. Pressure, or some type of physical stimulation to those points, is said to affect—correct the flow of universal energy.
Why so many types of therapies if the treatments are effective? Because none of them are based on physical science but on the paranormal or psychic; the actual physical method used matters little in medical treatment. It depends on the mental attitude and acceptance of the theory of universal energy or cosmic intelligence.
Zone therapy—now called reflexology, Rolfing and similar massage, Shiatsu, Reiki, craniosacral therapy, polarity, and applied kinesiology, are techniques used by various holistic healers. These methods are collectively referred to as body therapy or soma therapy. Martial arts, t’ai ch’i, and qi gong are body or soma exercise-type treatments also providing Life Force Medicine.
Since it is believed that physical disease is a condition of unbalanced life force, universal energy, or ch’i, within the body due to congestion or blockage of flow, then correction of the imbalance would be achieved by manipulating points of correspondence. This is the foundation of acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and several other techniques collectively labeled “soma” (body) therapies.
In 1913, an American doctor, William H. Fitzgerald M.D., initiated a method of applying pressure to localized areas on the body to effect anesthesia for performing ear, nose, throat, surgery. By 1923 it had been expanded to treat most all medical disorders and was very popular with self appointed healers.
Doctor Fitzgerald was an admirer of, and influenced by Swedenborg, the famous Swedish spiritualists of the 1700’s. Fitzgerald believed in universal energy, or as it was called in those times vitalism. He was not the absolute originator of using pressure to areas on the body to effect healing; rather he borrowed this concept from the Chinese and Egyptians. An issue of EAST WEST Journal (March 1990), relates that a form of reflexology was in use in China during the earliest period of China’s history. In addition a hieroglyph depicting reflexology was found in a physician’s tomb in ancient Egypt. Fitzgerald “determined” from his own reasoning, that the body was divided into ten specific zones, five on each side (not substantiated by science), believing that each zone carried its own bioelectric energy which made direct connection to the brain. He applied pressure to specific points on the body, then proceeded with operative procedures to the ear, nose, or throat area without the patient experiencing pain. Fitzgerald further theorized that such pressure would treat disorders of body organs that he had allocated to correlate with the ten zones.
Eunice D. Ingham, an American, took up this therapeutic approach (zone therapy) in the 1930’s, and carried it further, making it popular. She mapped out specific points on the feet and hands that she determined were sympathetic to specific organs. By rubbing those points on the hands or feet, beneficial effects or cures could be accomplished. A lady in England, Doreen Baylay, called Fitzgerald’s and Ingham’s zone therapy, reflexology, and it
is now very popular and practiced around the world.
Reflexology is the discipline of massaging the hand, foot, or ear to diagnose, predict future disease, and effect healing of present disease. It is founded upon belief in universal energy, vitalism, prana, ch’i, etc. Reflexology is also a variant of acupressure and/or Shiatzu, which are based on body correspondences and the meridian concept of Chinese Traditional Medicine. Reflexology has a similar philosophical background.7
However the theoretical Western explanation of reflexology contends that there are nerve connections directly from the feet or hands to the brain from whence connecting to various organs of the body. By rubbing a very specific point on a hand or foot, the nerve impulse is said to travel to the brain and is transferred on to a particular organ, thus correcting any abnormality of that organ.8 Reflexologists may or may not teach that there are crystals of calcium or uric acid and/or other substances on the nerve endings in the hands or feet. These crystals are supposed to have caused congestion of universal energy flow about and through nerves which are purported to connect directly with organs of the body. Massage is said to break up the crystals, which will relieve nerve or energy blockage, the nerve can then impart health to the area of afﬂiction.9 No one has ever found these crystals by anatomical dissection or by any other method.
Reflexology purports the ability to diagnose, as well as to treat, by massaging either the hand, foot, or ear. Foot therapy in reflexology is the most common area for performing therapy, but hand treatment is supposed to be just as effective. Reflexologists proclaim that there are 7200 nerve endings on the bottom of a foot. I have never seen an anatomy or neurology book that said such, and even if it did, that does not mean the proclaimed point has specific connections to the various organs. There is no evidence that rubbing nerve endings would correct abnormal function of tissues elsewhere in the body.
If a person looks on the Internet for information relevant to reflexology there will be found 6.5 million web sites. It is a worldwide phenomenon. What disorders are claimed to be improved by use of reflexology? Some reflexologists speak only about relief from stress while others make no limits as to types of problems that can be treated and will be benefited. Have there been any studies of scientific quality? There can be found on some web sites studies that claim to show benefit to many various medical disorders. Quality studies are another thing. It is very difficult to design a study for testing reflexology that uses randomly selected, double blind, placebo, and a control group.
William T. Jarvis, Ph.D. a professor at Loma Linda University teaches research methods to aspiring scientists. He often challenges a new group of students to devise a study design to test reflexology. I will share with you some of the studies done using designs created from his classes.
Using questionnaires, 70 subjects were asked to record any health problems they had encountered on any of 43 anatomical locations in the past two years. A reflexologist then examined each of the individuals in a blinded manner. The feet were exposed but a sheet covered the individual and no voice contact was allowed. From this test the results of determining a diagnosis by reflexology were no better than guessing.
In another study, three practicing reflexologists examined 18 individuals that had at least one to six different conditions identified by physicians. The end results were that there was no correlation between the reflexologists’ findings and those identified by a physician.
A third study dealt with 35 women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which were randomly selected and assigned to either ear, hand, or foot reflexology, or a placebo group which had sham reflex points massaged. The women selected their personal symptoms from a list of 38 symptoms which are commonly associated with this syndrome. They then received reflex therapy. The results were that the treatment group had a modest reduction in symptoms compared to the placebo group. The placebo group complained that their treatment was rough and with discomfort. The group with improvement had thirty minutes of pleasurable relaxing treatment. This study suggested there may be some reduction of symptoms from PMS. There was no proof of a connection between reflex points and body organs.
A fourth study was done on patients with asthma, a disorder that is frequently claimed by many web sites to be benefited by reflexology. Ten weeks of therapy was given to a treatment group and to a control placebo group. Lung function studies were conducted on both groups which did not change on either group. The conclusion was that no evidence of improvement beyond placebo was shown.10
Dr. Jarvis, in an article found on the Internet, shares with us his experience over several years as he did studies on reflexology. In the classes he conducted for post graduate studies in methods of research at Loma Linda University, he would bring a registered reflexologist to the class and have this individual present the theory and demonstrate the practice of reflexology. As previously mentioned he would challenge the students to design a method of testing the theory presented by the reflexologist. Eventually the reflexologist confided in Dr. Jarvis that even as he believed in reflexology he would like to see a study testing it.
Since reflexology claims to be able to prevent and to predict future disease, how do you test for that status? You cannot. Dr. Jarvis decided to test whether reflexologist could detect a present disorder of an individual and if the reflexologist failed that test then there would be no reason to try to design a test that determines whether or not future disease can be detected. The study that was done in response to the reflexologist’s request is the one reported above on the 70 people. At the conclusion of the study the reflexologists agreed that it was not possible to diagnose present problems by reflexology, thereby accepting the conclusion that reflexology would not be able to predict future disease or even to be therapeutic.
From that time on his practice would involve simple foot massages for people who wanted them with no diagnostic or therapeutic claims.11
A good foot rub is relaxing and without ill effects and no one should avoid such if they enjoy it. Just do not expect it to be diagnostic or correct health problems. Do not get caught up in such thinking, for if we do, we are then venturing into a system that is founded upon the doctrine of universal energy which leads us away from God’s system of health. The danger of accepting this type of therapy is that if people feel they have gained help in their personal discomforts from such a therapy, they begin to believe the philosophy by which the benefits are explained. This allows acceptance of the vital energy concepts and leads in to accepting Satan’s counterfeit health system, the “right arm” of his false message of salvation.
In a subset of reflexology, the ear is believed to represent the entire body by reflex. When the ear is used in therapy it is termed “auricular therapy.” In the East–West Journal of Natural Health and Living, Aug. 1988, p. 43, the claim is made that there are at least 18 known locations on the body, labeled holograms, wherein a specific point is claimed to influence a specific organ. The hand, the thumb, a tooth, the tongue, and many other areas are said to be micro-microcosms of man and of the cosmos.
An abstract from the Med J Aust. Sept 7, 2009: Is reflexology an effective intervention? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence for and against the effectiveness of reflexology for treating any medical condition.
DATA SOURCES: six electronic data bases were searched from their inception to February 2009 to identify all relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs). No language restrictions were applied.
STUDY SELECTION AND DATA:
Extraction: RCTs of reflexology delivered by trained reflexologists to patients with specific medical condition. Condition studied, study design and controls, primary outcome measures, follow-up, and main results were extracted.
DATA SYNTHESIS: 18 RCTs met all the inclusion criteria. The studies examined a range of conditions: anovulation, asthma, back pain, dementia, diabetes, cancer, foot oedema in pregnancy, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, menopause, multiple sclerosis, the postoperative state of premenstrual syndrome. There were 1 studies for asthma, the postoperative state, cancer palliation and multiple sclerosis. Five RCTs yielded positive results. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Jadad scale. The methodological quality was often poor, and sample sizes were generally low. Most higher-quality trials did not generate positive finding.
CONCLUSION: The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.12
Reflexology is practiced around the world. It is a sympathetic remedy based on the concept that man is the microcosm of the macrocosm, (the cosmos). Again, reflexology can be considered a variant of acupressure or Shiatzu.
The early health centers of the SDA church utilized Swedish massage as a treatment for their patients. Massage combined with hydrotherapy will result in an increase in circulation of blood and body fluid. The delightful sensation of a good massage to the muscles is beneficial for anxiety, mood and happiness. Massage for a bed-ridden patient is refreshing and restful.
Perfect health depends upon perfect circulation.13
Patients attending these live-in health centers were taught to look to God, not only as the Source of healing, but also as the Sustainer of life. In short they were taught a new lifestyle and way of living, giving their Creator God respect, loyalty, and worship.
Today, there are several forms of massage being used by New Age healers, using different names, but based on the same basic dogma, that is, a physical disorder is the result of an imbalance of cosmic energy forces. Their form of massage is directed at correcting the flow of these supposed cosmic forces within an individual. Massage treatment itself is appropriate but often it is hi-jacked and used by the devil to insert his doctrines through medical therapeutics into the mind of man. His methods are “spiritually” based and are not dependent upon the physical laws of God.
Let us review several of these modified massage methods, whose therapeutic effects are explained by “balancing of energies,” or relationships to earth’s forces.
In the MID 1940’s, Ida Pauline Rolf initiated a form of massage therapy to correct a physical disorder that she postulated existed, that of an imbalance of structure and movement of the entire body. Rolf presented a theory that “bound up” fascia (connective tissue) often restricts opposing muscles from functioning in concert with one another.
Her special massage method was aimed at separating her hypothesized bound up fascia, by deeply separating the fibers manually to loosen them and allow effective movement patterns.
She called her method Postural Release and later Structural Integration of the Human Body, and presently the Rolfing Method of Structural Integration. The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration states that Rolfing is a:
…is a form of bodywork that reorganizes the connective tissues, called fascia, that permeate the entire body.14
Such a physical condition has not been recognized by science and there is no literature to support value in use of Rolfing in a disease group.15
Rolfing therapists believe that their techniques facilitate flow of universal energy. The pagan world view of astrology, of association, of correspondence and sympathy, of man with the cosmos as base doctrine. They look to a counterfeit creation power and teach this dogma as they apply and explain therapeutic measures. Even as some therapy might have beneficial aspects in and of itself, this world view may be presented as the source of healing. This in turn initiates a change in the recipient’s world view as a result of the treatment. It is not just the therapeutic modality that can influence us, but the very concepts of the therapist and the explanation given, crediting the movement of universal energy for healing. By partaking of these therapies applied by “healers” with this pagan world view we place ourselves on Satan’s ground.
It is also taught that this type of treatment brings a higher level of consciousness through mind/body rejuvenation.
Rolfing is based upon Wilhelm Reich’s theory of “Character armor”—that the “consciousness” can be found in the body as well as the brain, and that energy blockages cause lots of problems. “Because mind and body are inter-connected, the results of past traumatic experiences show themselves in a person’s posture….” Through deep muscle massage—which may be painful, even torturous, these blocks can be broken down and a harmonious mind body system achieved. (The physical massage causes emotional release hence it is an emotional as well as physical treatment).16
In 2007 Dr. Mehmet Oz while on the Oprah Winfrey T.V show endorsed Rolfing and likened it as someone doing yoga for you, Christian beware.
Shiatzu finger pressure
is another form of mind/body energy balancing therapy in the massage group. It is considered diagnostic as well as therapeutic. Skilled fingers are said to be able to detect energy imbalances and in turn, correct such. It claims to be able to stimulate the immune system, thereby benefiting the whole body.
A large variety of Shiatzu therapy disciplines exists in Japan and throughout the world. It has similar basis in the meridian concept as acupressure and acupuncture. This massage is gentle and is done close to the diseased organ.17 It, too, is a treatment based on the correspondence or sympathies of the body to the cosmos—man as the microcosm of the macrocosm. It has its origin from Japan.18
The book Shiatzu assures us that Shiatzu therapy can equal the results of acupuncture without use of needles. The book also lists the following disorders that one can expect to see improved from its therapeutic use.
Ankle sprains, appetite, asthma, bedwetting, blood pressure, chills, constipation, diarrhea, eyestrain, fevers, hangovers, headaches, heart pain, hemorrhoids, hiccups, indigestion, insomnia, knee pains, leg cramps, nervousness, neuralgia, nosebleed, numbness, menopause, menstrual cramps, morning sickness, nausea, motion sickness, nasal congestion, common cold, neck cramps, nervousness, neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica, sexual problems, sinusitis, swelling, toothache, whiplash, and much more.19
Acupuncture uses needles, zone therapy (reflexology) concentrates principally on applying pressure to the hands and feet, and Shiatzu employs its own type of pressure. It does not matter much that the key points might be called by different names— reflexes, acupuncture points, or Shiatzu points. The seed of thought, basic to all, is the same. The history of Shiatzu then goes back to this deeper understanding of its essential nature. Thus we owe our thanks not only to Namikoshi but to the ancient Chinese and to the American pioneers of zone therapy as well.20
The difference among the various treatments seems to lie in the kind of pressure treatment recommended by each method; yet, in all methods, results are obtained. To this day, no one quite knows why…21
Polarity therapy is a combination of ancient Eastern and Western holistic health care ideas, adhering to the energy field hypothesis, and formed by Randolph Stone in the 1940’s. Universal energy is described as becoming unbalanced when unequal distribution occurs to the poles of the body’s energy field, divided into the body’s right and left side. The right side is charged with “positive sun heat energy”, and the left with “cooling moon receptive energy”. Balancing techniques used are 1) touch (massage or acupuncture), 2) stretching and exercise, 3) diet, and 4) mental-emotional process. They correct the disturbance of balance of the “etheric electric.”
There is no scientific basis for this belief, nor any reproducible measurements of this system. Stone referred to the unproven “energy” as “Breath of life”, ki, ch’i, prana, and or life force.
Reiki Is a popular “body-mind-spirit” therapy imported from Japan. It is a soma therapy, and which the next chapter will deal with at length.
Craniosacral therapy is another body—mind—spirit therapy quite like Reiki in its application, with a very soft touch to the head and neck area. It could be considered a continuation of phrenology with therapy directed more to the body than to the mind. This therapy, too, will be presented in depth in the next chapter.
Kinesiology is a true science of muscles and body movement and is not to be confused with Applied Kinesiology. Applied Kinesiology is another method of energy manipulation, diagnosis by divination, and treatment that has become popular with some chiropractors, naturopaths, an occasional dentist and physician, and with many in the public sector. The practitioners of this technique say they are more interested in prevention of illness than with treatment. It is their claim that they can evaluate five body systems–nervous, lymphatic, vascular, cerebrospinal, and meridian (no such system has been demonstrated to exist). They do not separate the systems in testing. It is a test of a specific muscle for strength and is done by pushing and/or pulling against a muscle group, with the patient resisting. The test is supposed to reveal the ch‘i, or universal energy flow, through specific areas of the body.
Applied Kinesiology claims to induce proper structural and chemical -nutritional organization in the body, as well as ‘left and right brain’ hemisphere balance. It claims to evaluate and correct problems of the nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, skeletal-musculature, and ‘meridian’ systems, thereby maintaining health. Its practices are believed to permit the even flow of cosmic energy throughout the body, thus nurturing individual organs and systems with the proper supply of ch’i energy.22
This same technique is claimed to detect vitamin and/or mineral deficiency. There are supposedly specific points at various places on the body which will correlate with these deficiencies. If a finger is held on one of these points, that is said to correlate with a specific vitamin or mineral, testing of the correlating muscle group is believed to reveal a deficiency or normal level. If a person wishes to test for allergies to a substance or food, then this substance can be held in one hand or in the mouth and again the muscles are tested. If a weak response occurs as judged by the examiner, the diagnosis of an allergy is made. This is a form of divination.
A method quite similar to applied Kinesiology but not so well known is the Bi-Digital-O-Ring test (BDORT). This test has its origin from Yoshiaki Omura, M.D., Sc. D. of the USA. Dr. Omura’s web site opens with the statement seen below:
Through the methods and materials presented here you may witness a revolution in medicine, dentistry, and technology, because Dr. Yoshiaki Omura has discovered a way to test which materials (pharmaceutical or “natural” medicines, drugs, hormones, vitamins, minerals, supplements of any type, anesthetics, herbs, dental restorative materials, food, clothing, cell phones, chemicals, etc.) are potentially health-giving and life-promoting for a person, and those which are potentially harmful.
Yoshiaki Omura, M.D., Sc. D. is an early non-invasive diagnostic test for intractable medical problems with their safe and effective treatment. Such diagnosis is often achieved within an hour. It can involve the detection and treatment of early stages of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, and cancer (often long before any known laboratory test can detect any abnormality or malignancy). It may be the ultimate in preventive medicine available today. BDORT evaluation can not only diagnose many medical problems, but can also help manage conditions such as malignant tumors, chronic severe pain, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism and neuromuscular diseases.23
What is the test that this article says is the ultimate? It involves the testing person holding his thumb and forefinger of one hand together to form a “O-ring,” and then he places a finger from his other hand on the patient, or he may use a wand to touch the patient at acupuncture points or over an organ, etc. Another person will attempt to pull apart his thumb and finger. If the finger and thumb circle is weak at any time when the probe or finger is placed at a location on the body it signifies disorder in this area. The wand—probe can be placed anywhere on the body or on any medication, herb, etc., and the test tells the practitioner the diagnosis, chooses the therapy, etc. It is essentially the same as applied kinesiology. It is simply another form of divination performed by “hands on.”
TOUCH FOR HEALTH
Touch for Health is another variant therapy and is explained on the same concept as for acupuncture, i.e., the flow of ch’i through meridians. Instead of using needles or massage, this form of therapy involves determining approximately which meridian is involved, then running the hands up and down the meridian, to correct the energy imbalance. Gentle massage is applied by the practitioner’s finger to the same energy centers as pierced by the tiny acupuncture needle. This finger massage is known as acupressure.
Another practice in the West which is similar to qi gong, or falun gong of Chinese traditional medicine, is Therapeutic Touch. It is not an exercise, but a technique of (supposed) energy transfer which does not involve touching the patient. It is done by placing the hands a few centimeters above the body and traversing the body to determine the balance of life force energy. This technique has swept through the nursing profession in the UK and America. The British Medical Journal (April 4, 1998, p. 1042), reported that over 100,000 people have been trained in this modality, with 43,000 being professionals. How many today?
I have read that in Russia this treatment method has been standard training in medical schools for years.24 It has gained great popularity because it claims to get results without adverse side effects. It has gained acceptance in the highest academic centers for training nurses. Many hospitals have had teams of nurses who administer this touch. The practitioners of therapeutic touch say that they can improve a wide variety of medical conditions, such as decubiti ulcers (pressure sores), Alzheimer’s disease, and thyroid disorders, etc., by correcting the energy-field disturbances, which they are able to feel and re-pattern:
by passing their hands over a patient’s body at a distance of 5–10 cm.25
The originator of this type of energy medicine is Dora Kunz, a past president of the Theosophical Society.
Dora Kunz is herself a ‘spiritualist’ who looks to ‘invisible intelligences,” ‘angels’ and theosophy’s “ascended Masters’ for inspiration and guidance.”26
Delores Krieger R.N. credits Dora Kunz for her knowledge of this practice. Krieger also had additional training in occult healing techniques. She studied yoga, Ayurvedic medicine (Hindu occultism applied to medicine), occultic Tibetan medicine, and Chinese traditional medicine.27
Delores Krieger has been a leading promoter of therapeutic touch in the nursing profession. Therapeutic touch is an example of the Hindu concept of prana (vital energy, ch’i), under a new guise. Krieger stated that the Hindu version of universal energy is the basis for healing energy that is said to be transferred. She comments that the practitioner of this so-called art is the conduit not the generator, of the energy believed to be present.
–prana may be transferred from one individual to another and may not be so readily apparent to us unless we have gotten into the practice of and literature of hatha yoga, tantric yoga, or the martial arts of the orient.28
The therapeutic touch technique is based on four steps:
Centering–meditation of therapists prior to applying treatment.
Assessment–scanning the patient’s energy fields with the hands, feeling for energy imbalances.
Unruffling the field–checking for stagnant energy and sweeping this energy away with the hands.
Transfer of energy–moving energy via the hands to the patient so as to correct energy imbalance.
Whatever their initial appeal, energy therapies inevitably beckon the budding healer into more hard core ‘New Consciousness’ thinking since these systems are in essence profoundly mystical.29
In April 1998, three medical journals, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal and Lancet (also a British medical journal), reported a study done by Emily Rose, a nine- year-old girl testing the ability of practitioners of therapeutic touch. In her test, the therapeutic touch practitioners put their hands through a small hole in a shield that prevented them from knowing if anyone was on the other side or not. Then a person’s hand would be put very close to the therapist’s hand and the therapist was asked to tell when a hand was near his or her hand. The results were no better than guessing. This was done as a school project and the quality of the experiment was such that when written up by adults it was accepted and placed into three prestigious medical journals. The conclusion of the journals editors were:
Twenty-one experienced Therapeutic Touch practitioners were unable to detect the investigator’s energy field. Their failure to substantiate Therapeutic Touch’s, most fundamental claim, is unrefuted evidence that the claims of Therapeutic Touch are groundless and that further professional use is unjustified.30
As we close this section concerning various massage methods a little should be said concerning various mechanical apparatuses that are sold to effect massage. Swedish type massage by hand or by machine can and may be a desirable experience and should not be considered as “spiritualistic.” It is when the therapist may describe or explain benefits and actions of the massage as being a method of unclogging, diffusing, or imparting “energy” we know we have a therapist that is connected to the power of Satan. Therapy from this person then becomes of concern.
There are many machines, chairs, and/or beds sold to effect massage. I see no concern here. However if in purchasing for my own use or going to a place to receive treatment from such an instrument, and its benefits are explained as coming from a manipulation of universal energy to impart health and I accept that concept, then I believe one is on Satan’s ground.
I am often asked about a particular machine as to whether it is a part of the above described occultic pseudoscientific electronic gadgetry. One such machine is the “Ch’i Machine.” There are several close copy duplicate machines with changed names and selling for a lesser price. I opened the web site for the Original Ch‘i Machine” and found that the site makes comments about the “me-too” machines and how one will not receive the real therapy from these copy-cats.
The Ch’i Machine was imported into the U.S. from Japan where its originator received a Japanese patent. It is a device that moves the legs in a figure eight motion. One lies down, with legs together and outstretched with ankles on a holder, the holder then moves the ankles and legs side to side in a smooth figure of eight motion 140 times a minute. The motion is not more than four inches in width. It does cause some motion of the pelvis and extension into the spine, similar to the motion of a fish swimming.
The Federal Drug Administration has given it a class III status. It has been shown to lessen swelling in the legs when edema is present. Therefore, there is some physiologic action, but very minimal. It was not compared with the benefits for reduced swelling in legs by lying down with legs elevated.
But what about the questions as to its spiritualistic influence? I read through the website of the “Original Ch’i Machine” and there seemed to be nothing I could find that gave a hint that spiritistic ideas were incorporated into its use. After a long list of attributes of the proclaimed physiological benefits of using the apparatus, I found what I suspected from the beginning—that it was a machine developed to promote the movement of the Eastern dogma of ch’i—universal energy. See the paragraph below taken from the website.
Exercising Internal Organs and Building “Ch‘i.” “Ch‘i is a Chinese word referring to the life force or life energy. Ch‘i increases the feeling of aliveness and well being. Ch‘i is the permeating energy within the universe and creates vitality: Western medical science is beginning to consider ancient Eastern traditions. These Eastern traditions emphasize healing and good health based on a life force energy, which flows in channels through all living forms. The Ch‘i Machine aids in unblocking the “Ch‘i” pathways and ensures a maximum flow of healing source throughout your body and organs.31
This is another example of a pagan healing method presenting itself under the banner of science and proclaiming all sorts of non proven benefits from a scientific standpoint, when in reality the whole objective is to introduce the Eastern pagan dogma. Early in the chapter on “Mystical Herbology,” I write about a book on aromatherapy which made the statement that twenty years earlier the introduction of aromatherapy was done through strict promotion as if its value was only physiological benefits. But now the acceptance of the spiritual nature of aromatherapy is so accepted there can be direct comments on its spiritual power.
What about receiving therapy from a person who has definitely accepted the universal energy— spiritualistic doctrine but gives me regular physical therapy as the doctor prescribed? Should I look else where for a therapists that is not tied into such beliefs? I will leave that to you, I can not answer for you, it is between you and God. However let me draw your attention to the following quote:
Danger in Consulting Cultist Physicians.–There is danger in departing in the least from the Lord’s instruction. When we deviate from the plain path of duty, a train of circumstances will arise that seem irresistibly to draw us farther and farther from the right. Needless intimacies with those who have no respect for God will seduce us, ere we are aware. Fear to offend worldly friends will deter us from expressing our gratitude to God or acknowledging our dependence upon Him. . . .
Angels of God will preserve His people while they walk in the path of duty; but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately venture upon Satan’s ground. An agent of the great deceiver will say and do anything to gain his object. It matters little whether he calls himself a spiritualist, an “electric physician,” or a “magnetic healer….”32
I wish to share with the reader concerning a particular massage table that is sold around the world coming out of Hong Kong and perhaps marketed in many countries that does give some concern. There are a number of web sites on the Internet advertising this massage table under the name Nuga Best. It is widely promoted and very popular throughout the countries Ukraine and Russia. In my investigation of this table I once went to a treatment center in Ukraine that had several tables and where the therapist was treating up to forty patients each day. Due to lack of an interpreter at the time of the visit I was not able to hear what a new patient would be told about the machine and its benefits. The price for a treatment was expensive. While visiting the therapy center I did read the machine’s manual from the manufacture. There were no comments made anywhere as to the effectiveness or improvement of disorders that one could expect from therapy. It totally avoided any comments as to its use. This is a customary pattern for machines that are not shown to be of true therapeutic value. The manufacture avoids any legal conflict. However the agents who sell machines and those directing treatment may have a story to tell which may not be bound to reality or truth.
I am going to share with you what information I obtained on a web site promoting the Nuga Best Therapeutic Thermal Massage Table. I opened this web site one day, and on the following day I could not pull up this article. There was a web site for the clinic that the article had originated from but not this article. Fortunately I had printed out the four page article about the Nuga Best massage table and its description. The article had been withdrawn, why? (now 3-28-11, replaced) The other articles advertised by this chiropractic clinic were still on the web site, strange? First, the opening paragraph:
The special genius of Nuga Best, the result of extensive research and development, lies in the marriage of the ancient Eastern healing arts of acupressure, massage, and moxibustion (heat therapy) with modern chiropractic theory, far-infrared light therapy, and modern technology. Thus, through our products and services, we contribute to society and to the health of the human race. (Emphasis added)
The web site contains four pages of written comments, it intermingles the pantheistic Eastern thought and healing traditions with the comments on the value and benefits of the machine. This intermingling is careful however to never really say directly that the machine influences the power that those Eastern healing traditions proclaim. It lets the reader assume so, but has protected the author from being accused of teaching that the machine accomplishes such. This technique I have frequently run into in the subject of alternative healing. The article talks about ch’i, life force, power, the universal life energy that is said to run through everything. It is written so as to appear that the machine will aid the movement of this imagined energy. See the quote below:
Nuga Best automatically massages the muscles and tendons around the spine, relaxing hardened nerve roots, relieving tension, and improving the flow of ch’i. Lie back, relax, and enjoy!33 (emphasis added)
As one lies on the massage table the “highly therapeutic” heated jade rollers emit far-infrared light beams as they roll up and down the spine. A comment is made about a massage phase and an acupressure phase. Massage from the table is said to stimulate major acupuncture meridians along the spine causing powerful bioelectric impulses to course throughout the nervous system. Massage from the machine is said to increase circulation of the blood and of vital force energy— (ch‘i).
We are told that Nuga Best massage does the same as acupuncture yet without the needles or the focused pressure of acupressure. The physiological benefits are widely known so says the article: relaxed muscles and tendons, reduced anxiety, less insomnia, increased circulation and over all improved flow of ch’i. Let the Christian beware.
A long-time patient of mine, a retired nurse and institutional church worker, sat on the exam table in my office. He complained of pain in the feet. I removed a shoe and found magnets inserted in various places in the shoe. This patient and his wife informed me that, that day, they were to have delivered to their home, a mattress and pillows filled with magnets. Earlier that week they had attended a special retreat for retired church workers. A demonstration of the supposed health benefits of magnets had been made at the retired workers retreat by a member of the church who was in the business of selling magnets. I shared with these friends my concern and gave them some references to study and urged them to re-think their choice. The mattress and pillows were sent back.
The use of magnets has become popular in the treatment of pains and aches and a variety of other distresses. It is a billion dollar industry. Magnets are being used in sports, and housewives have also been convinced of its value. Magnets are applied to various places on the body and left for hours or days. They are placed in shoes, in pillows, in mattresses. This practice is supposed to make one stronger, increase circulation, and generally restore health. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support these claims, but that does not seem to matter as long as someone testifies as to how much it helped them. There seems to be no concern that the magnet might create some abnormal function. The belief is that it can only do good.
What seems silly and harmless, except for the money transferred into someone else’s hands, is really a technique quite like the others we have been studying. There may be no talk of balancing energy, yet it is implied that the application of magnets at various places on the body corrects unbalanced polarity. There may be claims made that the influence of the earth’s magnetic field has been altered in some way and by use of magnets this imbalance will be corrected. Consider this statement from a magnetic healer:
Magnet therapy focuses on electromagnetic energy surrounding and infusing the body and works with this energy in much the same as subtle energy practices work with subtle energy.34
A study was done on the use of magnets in treating plantar fasciitis of the heel by Mark Winemiller MD at the Mayo Clinic. 96 people with heel pain participated in the study. Fifty percent received magnets in their shoes and fifty percent were given fake magnets. At the end of three months there was no difference between the two groups. There was improvement in both groups but no difference one from the other.35
In September 25, 2007 the Canadian Medical Association Journal carried an abstract reporting a meta-analysis study done on the use of static magnet therapy by Max Pittler M.D. and colleagues at the Peninsula Medical School of the University of Exeter and Plymouth. This meta- analysis contained 29 studies and found “no convincing evidence to suggest that static magnets might be effective for pain relief.” The studies looked at foot pain, fibromyalgia, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetic peripheral neuropathy or delayed onset muscle soreness. Results were mixed for osteoarthritis so no conclusions were made for this disorder.
History tells us of the use of magnetism millennia ago. Probably the first electrified substance (static electricity, by rubbing) used in treatment was amber, then lodestone—ferrous oxide was found in Magnesia (Western Turkey) as a natural magnet. Magnetic substances were carved in the shape of body organs and placed over the organ as therapy. At various times in the past, magnetic therapy became popular and then faded. In the 16th century, a historically famous physician, Paracelsus, used magnetism in his treatments. Magnetism was believed to be the same power as in hypnosis.
Franz Anton Mesmer (1733–1815), is known as the father of modern hypnotism. He graduated and received his degree in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1766. In his book, On the Influence of the Planets, he proposed:
that stroking diseased bodies with magnets might be curative.36 He effected his first cure by passing magnets over the body.
…Like Paracelsus, Mesmer believed that the microcosm of the human body reflects the macrocosm of the universe; he also believed that the corresponding parts are tied together by a universal magnetic fluid….
…In 1776, Mesmer met Gassner and became convinced that all of Gassner’s cures (passing hands across a body without magnets) could be explained by his own theory of animal magnetism. Before this meeting, Mesmer had achieved cures by (passing magnets over the patient’s body), but the fact that Gassner achieved the same results with his bare hands led Mesmer to wonder whether the healing power might reside in the human body itself, rather than in the magnets; dispensing with the magnets, he too began to pass his hands alone over patient’s bodies.37
When these practices eventually progressed on to hypnotic trances and psychic experiences, magnets were discarded.
The above comments are not to be confused with the use of magnetism such as the MRI diagnostic machine, and the use of pulsating electromagnetic field about a fractured bone to promote healing. These methods work on known laws of science. It is interesting to note that no one has ever heard of a person being healed of a disorder by being placed for an hour in an MRI diagnostic machine, though it is one the most powerful magnets on earth. Powerful magnets that are electrically pulsated are used occasionally to treat the most severe forms of depression. There can be benefit from this treatment. It is not to be confused with the popular use of magnets in shoes, pillows, mattresses, etc.
This comment bears repeating:
Not a few in this Christian age and Christian nation resort to evil spirits, rather than trust to the power of the living God. The mother watching by the sickbed of her child, exclaims, ‘I can do no more. Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?’ She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hands of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power which it seems impossible to break.38
An agent of the great deceiver will say and do anything to gain his object. It matters little whether he calls himself a spiritualist, an ‘electric physician,’ or a ‘magnetic healer.’ By specious pretenses he wins the confidence of the unwary. He pretends to read the life history and to understand all the difficulties and afflictions of those who resort to him.39
An alternative method of making a medical diagnosis for the present, and predicting disorders in the future, is iridology. This is a divination method which involves examining the iris of the eye, and inspecting the color, texture, and location of various pigment flecks in the iris. The practitioners say they can detect imbalances in the body’s system which in turn can be treated with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and in other ways. Iridology is practiced around the world. However, the technique is rarely accepted by a conventional medical doctor. Some chiropractors and naturopaths utilize it, and there are many non-medical people who present themselves as iridologists.
Modern iridology had its start from Ignatz von Peczely, a Hungarian physician, who, in his youth, had broken a leg of an owl and noticed a black stripe in the lower part of the owl’s eye. He theorized that the broken leg caused the black stripe. However, this does not happen. The right side of the body is said to be represented by the right iris and the left side by the left iris. The iris is divided into ninety sections with each section supposedly representing relationship to a specific part of the body. Disease or disturbances in those areas of the body are said to present changes in the iris which can be seen by the skilled examiner. Jessica Maxwell, in her book The Eye–Body Connection, claims that:
The basis for iridology is the neuro-optic reflex, an intimate marriage of the estimated half million filaments of the iris with the cervical ganglia of the sympathetic nervous system. The neurooptic reflex turns the iris into an ‘organic etch-a- sketch’ that monitors impressions from all over the body as they come in.40
Ophthalmologists have not found the above statement to be true. Only a rare optometrist will accept it. The technique has been scientifically tested a number of times and each time it has failed to support the claims of its adherents. The iridologist might make claims as to the accuracy and scientific basis for iridology, such as that it is based upon a neuro-optic reflex, a connection between the optic nerve and the iris and the rest of the body. The problem here is that the signals of the optic nerve only go to the brain. There is no signal traveling from the brain back up the optic nerve to the eye. In spite of the lack of scientific proof for a basis by which it can work, or of true accuracy in its use, iridology is still very popular.
Iridology can be traced to ancient Chinese astrological practices however according to Dr. Carter, the first precursor published on iridology was Phillippus Meyen’s Chiromatica Medica. (Germany, 1670).41
Iridology was introduced to America in 1904. The most recent leader of iridology in America was the late naturopath, Bernard Jensen (1908-2001).
….Jensen is not a scientist but is a New Age Healer, a fact revealed in his various works, such as Iridology; Science and Practice in the Healing Arts. In this text, he discusses his belief in reincarnation, astral travel, psychic development and other occultic practices and philosophies.42
He claims that:
Iridology can be used in conjunction with any other form of analysis and diagnosis.43
The iridologist believes he can:
…determine the inherent structure and the working capacity of an organ, can detect environmental strain, and can tell whether a person is anemic and in what stage the anemia exists…He can determine the constructive ability of the blood… He can determine the nerve force, the responsive healing power of tissue, and the inherent ability to circulate the blood.44
The same belief says that the iris of the eye can show acute, subacute, chronic, and destructive stages in the body.
Many other factors are also revealed such as organic and functional changes…It foretells the development of many conditions long before they have manifested into disease symptoms.45
We are told that:
No other science tells so accurately the progress from acute to chronic states. Only iridology is capable of directing attention to impending conditions; only iridology reveals and evaluates inherent weaknesses.46
In using iridology you need ask no questions yet you can tell where pain is, what stage it is in, how it got there, and when it is gone.47
There is no truth to these claims, as emphasized by the following test of iridology. In 1979, Bernard Jensen and two other practitioners of iridology were given 143 photographs of irises of patients’ eyes to view and determine which individuals had kidney impairment. (48 had a diagnosis of kidney disease as revealed by standard blood tests; the rest had no kidney disorder.) These iridologists were not able to separate the diseased from the normal. One iridologist had picked out 88 % of normal patients as having kidney disease; another examiner found that 74% percent of those patients that had severe kidney disease were identified as normal. This test was reported in the Journal of American Medical Association, 242, 1385-1387, 1979.
The British Medical Journal 297:1578-1581, 1988, carried an article of a test given to five leading Dutch iridologists. They received a stereo color slide of the right iris of 78 people, half of whom had a diagnosis of gallbladder disease, and the other half were free of any disorder. The five practitioners were not able to differentiate the diseased from the normal, and were not able to agree among themselves as to who were diseased or not. This typifies the results of many tests given to iridologists.
Another problem that exists in iridology is that there are no standards in the charts used to represent the eye, from which the diagnosis of the health condition of the person being examined is made. The following quote presents this problem.
For example, there are some twenty different iridology charts that a practitioner may choose from in his practice.48
Does iridology have an astrological basis for existence? Does it have its base in the “universal energy” concept? Like much of New Age medicine, iridology makes use of the concept of mystical energy. In fact, the pupil of the eye is held to be a repository of sorts for the body’s “energy,” according to many iridologists.
Most iridologists agree that the integrity of the body’s energy is reflected by the quality of energy in this (pupil) hub, or core.49
As to astrology, iridologist Brint sums it up this way.
From an Eastern point of view, the eye may be viewed as a Mandala… The Mandala links the microcosm and the macrocosm… Through the Mandala man may be projected into the universe and the universe into man… In iridology, the macrocosm and the microcosm are linked in our eyes… Iridology may be summed up as the observation of the change that arises from the interplay of various levels of consciousness and results in one’s unique evolution into greater (occult) truth and light.50
1 Levington, Richard, East-West Journal of Natural Health and Living, The Holographic Body, Aug. (1988), Kushi foundation, Brookline, MA, p. 46.
2 Bessy, Maurice, Magic and the Supernatural, Spring Books, NY, (1970), p.73.
3 Levington, op cit., pp. 36–47.
4 Garrison, Fielding H. A.B., M.D.; History of Medicine, W.B. Saunders and Co. Philadelphia, PA. (1929), p. 63.
5 Levington, op. cit., p. 38.
6 Levington, op. cit., p. 43.
7 (http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/324694-overview) (access on Internet by entering Massage, Traction, Manipulation: eMedicine Clinical Procedures); Levington, op. cit., pp. 36-47.
8 Bergson, Anika; Tuchak, Vladimir, Zone Therapy, Pinnacle Books, Inc., New York, NY, (1974), p. 2.; Levington, op. cit., pp. 36-47.
9 Levington, op. cit., pp. 40–41.
10 http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/reflux.html posted Sept. 16, 1997. (Reflexology: A Close Look by Steven Barrett M.D.) Accessed 3-30-11
13 E.G. White, 2 Testimonies for the Church, Pacifi c Press, Nampa, Idaho, (1870), p. 531.
15 Jones, T.A., “Rolfing”, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, (2004), 15 (4): – 799–809. Doi:
16 Weldon, John, Wilson, Clifford, Occult Shock and Psychic Forces, Master Books, San Diego, California, (1980), pp. 229, 230.
17 Bergson, Anika, Tuchak, Vladimir, Shiatzu, Pinnacle books, (1976), p. 13.
19 Ibid., face cover back side.
20 Ibid., page 2
Ankerberg, John; Weldon, John, Can You Trust Your Doctor? Wolgemuth and Hyatt, Brentwood, TN, (1991), p. 154.
24 Swain, Bruce, East-West Journal of Natural Health and Living, Shushi Foundation, Brookline, MA, May (1989), p. 30.
25 McCarthy, Michael, Therapeutic Touch Fails Child’s Test, The Lancet, April 4, (1998), (A British Medical Journal).
26 Kunz, Dora, The American Theosophist, Dec. (1978), Viewpoint, reported in Ankerberg, Can You Trust Your Doctor? op. cit., p. 393.
27 Ankerberg, op. cit., p. 393.
28 Krieger, Delores, The Therapeutic Touch, p. 13; Reported in Reisser, Paul C. M.D., Reisser, Teri K., Weldon, John, New Age Medicine, Global Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, (1088), p. 45.
29 Reisser, op. cit., pp. 47–48.
30 Linder, Rosa, BSN, Rosa, Emily, Sarnor, Larry, Barret, Stephen M.D., The Journal of American Medical Assn. April 4, (1998), pp. 1005-1010
32 White, E.G., Education, Pacific Press, Nampa Idaho, (1903), 607.
34 New Age Encyclopedia, Gale Research, Detroit MI, (1990), p. 28.