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The Vital Link

by Mary Martin(more info)

listed in reflexology, originally published in issue 64 - May 2001

Reflexology has its basis in traditional Eastern philosophy and medicine, which consider everything in the physical universe to be a manifestation of energy. This universal energy, or chi, animates and sustains all living organisms. A balance of energy throughout the physical body is necessary to achieve and maintain optimum health. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things, the human form being a microcosm within the macrocosm.

Most scientists dismiss these concepts as nonsense. This is not helpful in explaining the successes of reflexology. Newtonian physics is based on a mechanistic view of the world, whereas quantum physics is in sympathy with the ancient wisdom. It proposes that an all-encompassing unified field connects the entire natural world, of which we are part. Physicists can describe at a microcosmic level the inner workings of all that we are and see. Matter, being a condensed form of energy, means that everything, whether organic or inorganic, has an energy field.

Better understanding of our energetic connections and insight into the body's vibratory network provide a scientific basis for the achievements of reflexology.

Professor Harold Saxton Burr carried out research into energy fields at Yale Medical School during the 1940s. He was convinced that the blueprint for living organisms is an energy field. His studies with seedlings showed that the energy field surrounding the seedling resembled the adult plant rather than the seed. This suggests that the developing plant followed a prescribed growth template, generated by its own electromagnetic field.

Burr also discovered that the energy field around a salamander was shaped like the adult creature, with an electrical axis that aligned with the brain and spinal cord. This originated in the unfertilized egg and supports evidence for the holographic nature of the energy field. A Russian researcher, Semyon Kirlian also carried out similar research to Burr using electrography. They each discovered that disease causes marked changes in the electromagnetic fields surrounding living organisms, reflecting both mental and physical conditions.

An instrument called a SQUID magnetometer detects biomagnetic fields around the body, produced by its physiological processes.

These biomagnetic fields reflect the changes taking place within the body, although they are not the only kind of field present. Organs of the body produce their own electrical fields that can be detected on the skin. This makes possible the use of instruments such as the electrocardiograph to record the electrical activity of the heart and the encephalograph to record the electrical activity of the brain.

Connective tissue extends to every part of the body, generating electrical fields during movement. It forms a communication network between all parts of the body, exerting biological and physiological effects. Furthermore, research with acupuncture meridians indicates that they are low resistance channels for the flow of electricity. Extending to all parts of the body, including individual cells, they also create a continuous network of vibratory information.

Pressure on reflex points makes contact with this vibratory network. Ellison and Garrod documented this continuity in 1984. Interacting with its high-speed communication system, it projects specific information to restore homeostasis and trigger innate powers of healing.

Influencing the whole network enables biological communication to flow throughout. Optimum health requires total interconnection, which also makes possible the healing of old traumas. Toxins accumulating in the tissues are released and dispersed. When the natural communication channels of the body are open, the health and well-being of the individual are greatly enhanced. This explains why regular treatment plays a major role in preventive healthcare.

Evidence suggests that an important factor in facilitating healing is the natural emissions from the hands. Research carried out by Dr John Zimmerman and colleagues in the 1980s indicates that the energy exchange between therapist and patient has a magnetic quality.

The SQUID device detected very strong magnetic fields emanating from therapists' hands. Evidence suggests that these biomagnetic fields are of a frequency that initiates tissue healing. Biomagnetic fields extend beyond the physical body and interact with other fields.

Because of their interacting energy fields, the energy exchange between practitioner and patient is complex. During mental preparation for action the brain emits pulses of electric and magnetic energy, sending signals throughout the body to the relevant cells.

Investigations show that people benefit from mental imagery prior to any physical activity, and patient participation enhances this. The expression 'to have a desire to heal, and a desire to be healed' springs to mind. Experience shows that visualizing a desired outcome can facilitate this sort of change. Other research indicates that by entering into a state of loving compassion with patients, their energy patterns become more coherent and ordered. This highlights the importance of therapists' intention towards their patients.

A scientific basis may make reflexology more acceptable to sceptics but will it benefit patients? They see their problems in physical, emotional, social and environmental terms, which need to be addressed holistically. This requires many practical and mental skills within a patient-centred approach. A good understanding of human biology and pathology and when to make referral is important. An effective practical technique and attentive listening will also contribute to a successful outcome.

The art of reflexology is having the ability to draw the many facets together in a spirit of empathy, purpose and responsibility.


Burr HS. Blueprint for Immortality. CW Daniel. Saffron Walden. ISBN 0-854352-81-3. 1972.
Gerber R. Vibrational Medicine. Bear & Co. New Mexico. ISBN 1-879181-28-2. 1996.
Oschman JL. Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis. Churchill Livingstone. New Mexico. ISBN 0-443-06261-7. 1996.

Further Information

For further information please contact Mary Martin at 72b Sharps Lane, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 7JQ, Tel: 01895 635621,


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About Mary Martin

A qualified teacher, Mary Martin established her School of Reflexology in 1987. She founded the Association of Reflexologists in 1984 and is an Honorary Life Member. Previously she practised as a Gerson therapist. Mary belongs to a network of therapists attached to the cancer centre at Mount Vernon Hospital. She has had a busy practice in Ruislip since 1983. She may be contacted on Tel: 01895 635621;

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