Reflexology is a complementary therapy where pressure is applied to reflex points in either the hands or feet, which correspond to parts of the body as well as the body’s organs and glands. Research on the history of reflexology has found similar types of foot and hand treatments dating as far back as 4,000 B.C. and were geographically spread across ancient civilizations in China, India and Egypt.

But fast forward to the present day and New Zealand, where reflexology has a growing army of followers and has become well-established within the alternative and preventive health care scene. Reflexology NZ is the national association that regulates reflexology and provides services to its members as well as the public.

Alternative methods for treating and preventing eye problems

Eye problems are major drain on medical resources and can affect anyone irrespective of whether you wear contact lenses, glasses or have perfect vision. We decided to find out more about how reflexology could help with eye conditions and turned to Jeannette McCallum, Dip. Int. Inst. Reflexology; M.Ed.Admin., who runs a studio in the stunning environment of Waihi Beach called Yoga and Reflexology at the Beach. Jeannette is a professional member as well as a council member of Reflexology New Zealand so we knew we would be getting expert advice.

Insights from an expert reflexology practitioner

The first question we asked was her own opinion of the benefits of reflexology as a whole:

“Reflexology is a wonderful way to feel pampered as well as to simultaneously receive many health benefits. Any natural therapy that has been in existence for thousands of years, has proven itself to be worthy of our notice. No matter what the disorder in the body, reflexology helps to restore a natural balance, so the body can be in a better place to heal itself. It also improves blood and nerve circulation throughout the whole body and relaxes body and mind.”

The next question was about reflexology and its ability to help with eye problems in general:

“Many eye problems, for example, tired and strained eyes, conjunctivitis can be greatly helped by reflexology. A lot of eye problems are found in people who are suffering a lot of stress and they find their eye sight deteriorates rapidly. Sometimes when they receive reflexology they find the stress and tension is alleviated and their eye sight quickly returns to its original state.”

Glaucoma and reflexology

We asked in particular about glaucoma because it is especially serious and is often referred to as the silent thief of sight because by the time a patient starts to suffer symptoms the disease may have already progressed quite far. We wanted to know if reflexology had been used in treatments at all:

“Even relief from glaucoma has been found with reflexology treatments along with eye drops and oral medication. This was a study carried out with seven cases, five with chronic angle closure glaucoma and two with open-angle glaucoma. They were given foot reflexology twice daily for 12 days along with local miotic drops. The intraocular pressure decreased in all but two cases. These were given oral medication to reduce pressure. The study was conducted at Air Force Logistic Clinic, China. Paula S. Stone (2011). Therapeutic Reflexology (Pearson, New Jersey) p 246.”

Reflexology a calling

Finally, we asked Jeannette if reflexology was something she always wanted to do:

“Yes, there was no hesitation. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I loved to give foot massages and reflexology seemed to be ‘calling me’. I find reflexology fascinating. Every foot is different and every foot tells a story. Not only does reflexology reveal what is going on in the body, it can bring the body back into balance so it can get on with healing itself. There are so many stories of amazing results. I look forward to the day when doctors in New Zealand refer patients to a professional reflexologist.”