What Is Iridology?

left_eyeIridology, also called iris analysis or iris diagnosis, is the study of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Iris “readings” are made by iridologists to assess a person’s health picture (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) and guide them to take measures to improve their health.

Iridology is generally based on the concept of neural pathways between the body and the iris. Although iridologists may differ on the exact mechanism, most maintain that the iris reflects what is happening throughout the body via nerve conduction from all parts of the body to the eye. The client’s health is assessed by the iridologist, who interprets patterns, shapes, rings, colors and pigmentation markings, fibers, structures, and changes in the pupil and iris. Many iridologists also use sclerology (reading the lines in the white part of the eyes) in their health evaluation.

iridology readings are typically performed by such holistically oriented practitioners as naturopaths, chiropractors, or nutritionists. The reading may be done using a bright light, a magnifying glass, and a notepad. The iridologist may also use various tools to better view the eye, a special camera to take pictures of the iris, and/or a computer.

Iridologists conduct their readings using charts on which each area of the iris is mapped to a specific body system or organ. iridology charts vary, with at least 20 different ones in existence. Some charts are more widely used than others; however, many iridologists believe that there is more than one correct map and that each practitioner should become familiar with several charts. Some iridologists even develop their own charts. Differences also exist among practitioner techniques; among American, European, and other approaches; and in the interpretation of specific iris signs.

right_eyeIridology charts divide the iris into numerous zones corresponding to different parts of the body. Although the specifics may differ on each chart, all share a general pattern. The left eye is mapped to the left side of the body and the right eye to the right side. The top of the eye is mapped to the upper body (e.g., brain, face, neck, chest and heart). The center of the eye is mapped to the stomach and digestive organs, with other organs being represented by concentric circular zones moving outward toward the edge of the iris. The bottom of the eye is mapped to the legs and lower half of body. Paired organs (e.g., the kidneys) are mapped to both irises.

Using a holistic approach that considers each client as an individual with unique health patterns and concerns, behaviors, and experiences, the iridologist will examine the eyes and make a health assessment. Based on the results of that reading, the iridologist generally recommends a wellness program tailored to the individual’s physical, emotional, and life situation. This program may incorporate various health improvement, maintenance, and prevention regimes. Recommendations may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, supplements, and/or diet and nutrition, among other suggestions.

History Of Iridiology

iris_signs1The basic concept of iridology has existed for centuries. The medical school of the University of Salerno in Italy offered training in iris diagnosis. A book published by Philippus Meyers in 1670, called Chiromatica medica, noted that signs in the iris indicate diseases. Dr. Ignatz von Peczely, however, is generally considered the father of iridology, with the date of his discovery given as 1861. Von Peczely was a Hungarian physician. As a child, he accidentally broke an owl’s leg. He observed that a black line formed in the owl’s lower iris at the time of the injury. After the owl’s leg healed, the young von Peczely noted that the black streak had changed appearance. As a physician, he treated a patient with a broken leg in whose eye he observed a black streak in the same location as on the injured owl’s iris. Von Peczely became intrigued by the possibility of a connection between diseases and eye markings. Through observing his patients’ eyes, he became convinced of this connection and developed a chart that mapped iris-body correlations. After several decades of comparative study, von Peczely mapped organs across zones identified by hours and minutes on a clock face superimposed over drawings of the eyes. In 1881, he published his theories in a book called Discoveries in the Field of Natural Science and Medicine: Instruction in the Study of Diagnosis from the Eye.

A Swedish pastor and homeopath named Nils Liljequist also developed the concept of iris-body correlations at roughly the same time but independently of von Peczely’s work. He was the first iridologist to identify the effects of such drugs as iodine and quinine on the iris. Liljequist based his initial observations on changes in his own irises after illnesses and injuries, publishing writings and eye drawings during the late nineteenth century. One of his students, Dr. Henry Lahn, brought the practice of iridology to the United States. A variety of practitioners, primarily European, have sought to popularize iridology since these early works. Dr. Bernard Jensen, a chiropractor, is the best-known contemporary American advocate of iridology.

Benefits Of Iridology

iris_signs2Iridologists claim that by studying the patterns of a person’s iris, they can provide helpful and accurate health and wellness information. iridology is a holistic endeavor in that it addresses the person’s whole being in the reading. The range of information gleaned encompasses physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of the person’s health picture. In addition to assessing the person’s general level of health, readings can reveal other data, including energy quotients; internal areas of irritation, degeneration, injury, or inflammation; nutritional and chemical imbalances; accumulation of toxins; life transitions; and subconscious tensions. Iridologists maintain that the eyes reveal information about the person’s physical and emotional constitution, such as inherited weaknesses and risks to which the person may be prone. Strengths may also be revealed, including inherited emotional tendencies from which the person derives particular talents. Cleansing and healing can be verified by changes in the iris. By looking for certain signs such as healing lines, iridologists obtain information about previous health problems and injuries and discover what may have gone wrong in the person’s past.

An iridology reading reflects the causes of problems, not symptoms. It may, iridologists claim, reveal that organs or systems are overstressed or predisposed to disease before clinical symptoms even develop. By predicting future problems, iridology can be used as a preventive tool. People can use the information from iridology readings to improve their health and make better behavioral choices in the future, thereby heading off problems before they occur.

In North America, iridology is generally considered to be an assessment tool to be used in cooperation with other health specialties. iridology is not a diagnostic tool (although it is more likely to be considered so by European iridologists) and should not be used to diagnose or name specific diseases. Not only would diagnosis represent an improper application of iridology according to many iridologists, as noted by the International iridology Research Association (IIRA), it could also be construed in many countries as practicing medicine without a license.

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What Is Reflexology?

hand1hand2Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain by stimulating predefined pressure points on the feet and hands. This controlled pressure alleviates the source of the discomfort. In the absence of any particular malady or abnormality, reflexology may be as effective for promoting good health and for preventing illness as it may be for relieving symptoms of stress, injury, and illness.

In a typical reflexology treatment, the therapist and patient have a preliminary discussion prior to therapy, to enable the therapist to focus more accurately on the patient’s specific complaints and to determine the appropriate pressure points for treatment.

A reflexology session involves pressure treatment that is most commonly administered in foot therapy sessions of approximately 40-45 minutes in duration. The foot therapy may be followed by a brief 15-minute hand therapy session. No artificial devices or special equipment are associated with this therapy. The human hand is the primary tool used in reflexology. The therapist applies controlled pressure with the thumb and forefinger, generally working toward the heel of the foot or the outer palm of the hand. Most reflexologists apply pressure with their thumbs bent; however, some also use simple implements, such as the eraser end of a pencil. Reflexology therapy is not massage, and it is not a substitute for medical treatment.

Reflexology is a complex system that identifies and addresses the mass of 7,000 nerve endings that are contained in the foot. Additional reflexology addresses the nerves that are located in the hand. This is a completely natural therapy that affords relief without the use of drugs. The Reflexology Association of America (RAA) formally discourages the use of oils or other preparations in performing this hands-on therapy.

Reflexologists work from maps of predefined pressure points that are located on the hands and feet. These pressure points are reputed to connect directly through the nervous system and affect the bodily organs and glands. The reflexologist manipulates the pressure points according to specific techniques of reflexology therapy. By means of this touching therapy, any part of the body that is the source of pain, illness, or potential debility can be strengthened through the application of pressure at the respective foot or hand location.

History Of Reflexology

foot1Reflexology is a healing art of ancient origin. Although its origins are not well documented, there are reliefs on the walls of a Sixth Dynasty Egyptian tomb (c. 2450 B.C.) that depict two seated men receiving massage on their hands and feet. From Egypt, the practice may have entered the Western world during the conquests of the Roman Empire. The concepts of reflexology have also been traced to pre-dynastic China (possibly as early as 3000 B.C.) and to ancient Indian medicine. The Inca civilization may have subscribed to the theories of reflexology and passed on the practice of this treatment to the Native Americans in the territories that eventually entered the United States.

In recent times, Sir Henry Head first investigated the concepts underlying reflexology in England in the 1890s. Therapists in Germany and Russia were researching similar notions at approximately the same time, although with a different focus. Less than two decades later, a physician named William H. Fitzgerald presented a similar concept that he called zone analgesia or zone therapy. Fitzgerald’s zone analgesia was a method of relieving pain through the application of pressure to specific locations throughout the entire body. Fitzgerald divided the body into 10 vertical zones, five on each side, that extended from the head to the fingertips and toes, and from front toback. Every aspect of the human body appears in one of these 10 zones, and each zone has a reflex area on the hands and feet. Fitzgerald and his colleague, Dr. Edwin Bowers, demonstrated that by applying pressure on one area of the body, they could anesthetize or reduce pain in a corresponding part. In 1917, Fitzgerald and Bowers published Relieving Pain at Home, an explanation of zone therapy.

foot2Later, in the 1930s, a physical therapist, Eunice D. Ingham, explored the direction of the therapy and made the startling discovery that pressure points on the human foot were situated in a mirror image of the corresponding organs of the body with which the respective pressure points were associated. Ingham documented her findings, which formed the basis of reflexology, in Stories the Feet Can Tell, published in 1938. Although Ingham’s work in reflexology was inaccurately described as zone therapy by some, there are differences between the two therapies of pressure analgesia. Among the more marked differences, reflexology defines a precise correlation between pressure points and afflicted areas of the body. Furthermore, Ingham divided each foot and hand into 12 respective pressure zones, in contrast to the 10 vertical divisions that encompass the entire body in Fitzgerald’s zone therapy.

In 1968 two siblings, Dwight Byers and Eusebia Messenger, established the National Institute of Reflexology. By the early 1970s the institute had grown and was renamed the International Institute of Reflexology®.

Benefits Of Reflexology

foot3Reflexology promotes healing by stimulating the nerves in the body and encouraging the flow of blood. In the process, reflexology not only quells the sensation of pain, but relieves the source of the pain as well.

Anecdotally, reflexologists claim success in the treatment of a variety of conditions and injuries. One condition is fibromyalgia. People with this disease are encouraged to undergo reflexology therapy to alleviate any of a number of chronic bowel syndromes associated with the condition. Frequent brief sessions of reflexology therapy are also recommended as an alternative to drug therapy for controlling the muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia and for relieving difficult breathing caused by tightness in the muscles of the patient’s neck and throat.

Reflexology applied properly can alleviate allergy symptoms, as well as stress, back pain, and chronic fatigue. The techniques of reflexology can be performed conveniently on the hand in situations where a session on the feet is not practical, although the effectiveness of limited hand therapy is less pronounced than with the foot pressure therapy.

Aromatherapy 101

Aromatherapy has long been a craze in America. But do you know what products really work and where to find them?

Sharleen Andrews-Miller, a botanical medicine teacher at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, says aromatherapy products can be used to help against everything from stressful days to sleepless nights. But you must find the right product.

Andrews-Miller says the key is to use pure essential oils, Most companies dilute essential oils with carrier oils, such as almond oil, she says. If these carrier oils are of poor quality, they will diminish the shelf life of the essential oil. Andrews-Miller admits that pure essential oils are expensive and hard to find. “But you need a true essential oil if you want to do therapy and not a perfume,” she says.

Odors from essential oils can modify your brain reactions by affecting the release of certain neurotransmitters (a.k.a. “brain chemicals”) or hormones.

Oils that raise endorphin levels — like rosemary, peppermint, and bergamot — can help you get your energy back. “Oils in the citrus family — like orange, lemon, and grapefruit are also good,” Andrews-Miller adds. These oils tend to give people a feeling similar to a runner’s high. But oils affect different people in different ways. “I have a friend who will smell peppermint and fall asleep,” she says .

The oils that can help you rest include lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, ylang ylang, and neroli (orange blossom). These oils raise serotonin levels, which tend to induce sleep, Andrews-Miller says. The same thing happens after drinking milk (This is why mom gave you a cup of warm milk before bed).

If you’re looking for an oil that will help you deal with stress, Andrews-Miler recommends the same relaxing oils — especially lavender. “It’s relaxing but not sedating,” she says. So you can use this oil to de-stress at work without worrying about falling asleep at your desk.

Lavender is Andrews-Miller’s favorite oil. “If I only had one essential oil, that would be the one,” she says. Aside from being able to help with stress and insomnia, lavender is also affordable and easy to ?find, unlike most essential oils. Rose oil, for example, which is also a good stress reliever, can cost up to $1 per drop.

Andrews-Miller says the cost of essential oils varies depending on the quality and the source of the plant material. Most citrus oils are relatively inexpensive. Sweet orange, for example, has a retail price of about $4 per ounce.

Lavender runs about $12 per ounce. Neroli (orange blossom), which is considered one of the “gourmet” essential oils, can cost up to $600 per ounce!

“Organic essential oils will be about three times more expensive but are worth it,” she says. Essential oils can be purchased at cheaper, wholesale prices. Andews-Miller recommends The Essential Oil company

After you purchase essential oils, you should know how to use them properly. Andrews-Miller says never use an essential oil directly on your skin without diluting it first. The safest oils to use on the skin are lavender and tea tree. Some oils, like lemon, cedar, and thyme, can cause a burning sensation when applied.

Here are a few guidelines from Andrews-Miller on how to use essential oils:

* If you want to use the oil topically, add about 15 drops for every ounce of oil, lotion, or salve (or whatever you use to dilute the oil). Add less when using more irritating oils.
* If you want to use the oil in your bath, add about 5-10 drops. Add less when using more irritating oils.
* If using a diffuser, add 4 to 6 drops.
* For inhalation, add 3 to 5 drops to a bowl of hot water.

Source: Health.com