Reflexology Research

Reflexology Research Study
Biopsies of Foot Deposits Reveal Organic Composition
and Mechanism of Action for Reflexology.
Jesus Manzanares, M.D, University Hospital Vail D’Hebron, Sagrado Corazon, Barcelona

The following is an excerpt of a lecture presented by Dr. Manzanares at the International Council of Reflexologists. 2009 Conference, Los Angeles, California. Published in the ICR conference transcript and, Reflexology Association of America.

Purpose: To study biopsies of deposits taken from human foot tissue. Deposits can be located throughout the feet in reflex areas that correspond to specific organs, glands and body parts. The purpose is to determine anatomical characteristics and tissue composition of the deposits to understand their relation to pathologic conditions in the body and to demonstrate the role of the nervous system in reflexology.

Method: Areas for biopsy were chosen from three specific cases. Biopsy was performed on tissue taken from the feet of three (3) adult patients. This task was a difficult one over a period of years, finding patients to give permission for biopsies without personal benefit and for the advancement of reflexology. Biopsies were taken from areas of the feet that correspond to:
(1) stomach reflex area of a patient with gastro duodenal ulcer; (2) L5-S1 reflex area of a patient with a disk hernia; (3) from the thymus reflex area for a patient with asthma.

Conclusion: The anatomical-pathologic study revealed that deposits are formed by a net of hypodermic connective tissue with abundant neurovascular elements. There is not one characteristic structure that represents a reflex area that contains a deposit but rather it is a mixture of different tissues. A fundamental difference in the amount of nervous fibers is found in a deposit compared to the low number of nervous fibers found in a non-deposit biopsy. The presence of abundant nervous fibers in deposit tissue supports the relationship between reflexology and the neurological system. The mechanism of action of reflexology has a
neuro-biochemical basis.

A. The Nature of Deposits: Characteristics, Location, Nervous System Correlation

Characteristics of deposits depend on three main factors: The type of pathology that affects the organ, gland or body part; the duration of the pathology; the foot location (reflex area) where the body organ is reflected.

Physical Deposit Characteristics: Shape and Form (e.g., round, triangular), Consistency, Size, Pain intensity and Skin Depth (e.g., 1mm–3mm depth). Characteristics vary between acute, subacute or chronic disease.

Location of Deposits: Deposits (explored in reflexology as a swollen part in the feet) are located in the hypodermis (subcutaneous cellular tissue), where existent receptors (Pacini and Golgi) are extremely sensitive to pressure. Deposits reflect the imbalance of the organ represented in that reflex area

B. Neuro-Biochemical Character of Reflexology

The pathologic-anatomy study revealed that deposits are formed by a net of hypodermic connective tissue with abundant neurovascular elements. A fundamental difference exists between non-deposit biopsy and subcutaneous cellular tissue in an area where deposits do exist.

The proportion of nervous fibers in a deposit compared to the low number in the non-deposit biopsy were shown to be:
Non-Deposit Tissue: 8% nervous fibers, 27% vascular elements, 65% connective tissue
Deposit Tissue: 42% nervous fibers, 28% vascular elements, 30% connective tissue

The characteristic structure that represents the reflex area is a mixture of different tissues of organic composition (vs. theory of ‘calcification, inorganic waste matter or crystals’). The presence of abundant nervous fibers in a deposit biopsy supports the correlation of the nervous system in reflexology.

C. Research Images of Deposits and Disease Correlation

To document various pathologies and the correlating deposits located in the feet, MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, NMR: nuclear magnetic resonance and RX: radiography were used. Slides in this presentation graphically show an actual biopsy of foot tissue being performed and the resulting deposit that was removed.

Biopsy research indicates that deposits can be present in the feet resulting from acute to chronic pathologies. In acute cases, there has not been enough time evolved to form deposits that are easily detected by palpation, however they can reflect pain. The more chronic cases will present deposits that are easily felt and are more painful. A chronic deposit that is very easy to touch and very painful can indicate a chronic problem in addition to an acute problem. The deposit characteristics reflect the evolution of imbalance or disease of the organ represented in specific reflex areas of the feet.

Reflexology Defined by Dr. Jesus Manzanares, M.D

“Reflexology can be defined as the act of applying pressure on specific reflex areas in the feet using thumb, finger and hand techniques. The neuro-biochemical action that is produced by stimulating a specific area of the foot has a general or partial repercussion in the body. This is possible because there is an exact representation of the human body found in the foot, where every organ and gland is reflected in a specific area.”

This definition has considered the implicated anatomic structures and mechanisms that cause the beginning of the stimulus. These structures form a neurological circuit able to explain the conduction and response via pathways of Reflexology. This is the neuro-physiological basis to understanding reflexology, as taught in the Manzanares Method™ of Reflexology.

The Study of the Manzanares Method™ of Reflexology

A full comprehension of reflexology requires study of the structures involved: receptors, mechanisms that stimulate the receptors, cellular tissue, deposit characteristics based on pathology, cerebral structures and the path of the impulse to the spinal cord, the reticular formation (the neurologic center for reflexology), the somatropic representation (human body map), and the finality of the reflex connection that harmonizes the organ or structure to result in a ‘normalizing’ effect produced by a rebalance of the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system.

Dr. Manzanares’ medical reflexology research of 30 years has contributed toward the recognition of reflexology as a science. His research includes EEG studies of theta brain waves that occur during the application of reflexology, mapping of the reflex locations in the foot -to-body connection obtained from 70,000 clinical cases, reflexology protocols for specific pathologies and charts of the physical characteristics of deposits based on organ imbalances, location of the reflex areas and the type of pathology.
© 2010 Copyright. All rights reserved. Jesus Manzanares, M.D. Article reproduction prohibited without written permission. Contact the Author, Linda Chollar:

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