Reflex Area Work Linked to Visions Centers of the Brain
by Barbara & Kevin Kunz
In an fMRI study by Hong Kong researchers, reflexology technique stimulation of the eye reflex area activated a region of the brain matching acupupoint stimulation of stroke patients with vision defects but not the visual part of the brain. The researchers worked under the hypothesis that the the corresponding (visual) cortex would be activated. (Tang M.Y., Li G., Chan C.C., Wong K.K.K., Li R. and Yang E.S., Vision Related Reflex Zone at the Feet: An fMRI Study, 11th Annual NeuroImage Meeting. 2005, 1431. (Publication No. : 102226)
Researchers applied reflexology technique to the eye reflex area of the left foot at bases of second and third toes of the left foot of ten healthy volunteers. They found that the visual cerebral cortex was not activated.
￼Areas activated included: left frontal lobe (strongest activation), cerebellum, left insula, and temporal lobe. Reflex area stimulation was consistent with results from an fMRI study of acupuncture. When the eye acupoint was stimulated in stroke patients with vision deficits areas of the brain areas activated were the frontal lobe and insula. Another fMRI study of acu- puncture showed that stimulation of the eye acupoint of healthy individuals activated the visual cortex.
Speculation about this result for reflexology work begins with the observation that the locations of the eye and ear reflex areas are anomalies among reflex areas. The foot and reflexology charts technique reflect the body, except for these two areas. Their location at the bases of the toes reflects a direct reflection of the tops of the shoulders reflex area. Reflexologists achieve results for eye-related problems when working this area. Strictly speaking, however, an eye reflex area exists in the toes themselves, matching other reflex areas as a direct reflection of the body. Charts by Anne Lett, British, reflexology educator and author, (Reflex Zone Therapy for Health Professionals, p. 143) show an eye reflex area on the tops of the second and third toes just below the nail. She also shows a visual cortex reflex area on the sole of the foot in the second and third toes at the distal joint. These match the eye reflex areas and visual centers of Hanne Marquardt (Reflexother- apy of the Feet, p.p. 44-45) If the fMRI study were conducted testing these areas would the visual cortex by activated?
The fMRI study showed activation of areas of the brain with reflexology work: Left frontal lobe (strongest activation) (movement planning, polysensory, premotor area, language related movement (writing)); Cerebellum (conducts impulses to cerebral cortex; posture, balance, and coordination of movements); Left insula (pain, emotion, homeostasis); Temporal lobe (bilateral superior gyrus, Brodmann’s Area 22) (sensory pathways, memory, auditory or language functions).
The strongest activation following reflexology technique application to the eye reflex area of the left foot was in the left frontal lobe.
Researchers state that “This area may be related to the cross-modal transfer of the massage (reflexology) stimuli and the visual information as a part of the polysensory areas.” Other sources includes functions of the frontal lobe as: “Body’s orientation in space” and “fine movements and strength of the arms, hands and fingers.”
Activation of the cerebellum occurred during two fMRI studies, reflexology work applied to the inner corner of the big toe and the eye reflex area. We have speculated about the role of the big toe in walking and the role of the cerebellum in coordinating such activites. We now an unsual response resulted from technique applied to the eye and ear reflex areas (bases of second thirrd and fourth toes) during our work with paralysis. Such work prompted movement of the fingers of the quadriplegic’s opposite hand as if playing a guitar. For the two paraplegics, such work prompted a spasming of the opposite foot. Over time, the spasming become movement into the position of dorsiflexion or plantarflexion. During dorsiflexion the foot ia flexed into a 90 ̊ ready for the heel strike phase of a foot step. Plantarflexion is a toe-point of the foot, the toe-off postion of a foot step. This observation has been repeated during one-time work with a variety of paralyzed individuals.)