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Japanese reflexology research published 2013

 '' Activity in the primary somatosensory cortex induced by reflexology stimulation is unaffected by pseudo-information: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study''

You can read the full open access paper by clicking the link below.



 The study consisted of 32 volunteers who where split into two groups.

The first group were told the base of the second toe was the eye reflex (correct information)

and the base of the third toe was the shoulder reflex (incorrect information)

The second group was told the reverse.

Pressure was applied to these areas with a wooden stick by the experimenter in response to an auditory cue whilst the volunteers where in the FMRI scanner.

Changes in the flow of blood in the brain were measured and the total time the volunteers where in the scanner was eleven minutes.


This study suggests that stimulation of the eye points on the foot caused a reaction in the part of the brain representing the eye area.

There was no significant effect of the pseudo information, meaning that the reaction of the brain did not come from what it heard, but from the way it was stimulated through the reflex point on the foot.

Stimulation of the eye reflex point on either foot produced a response in the left hand side part of the brain that represents the face. The touching of the foot produced an opposite side response in the brain


Stimulation of the reflex points caused a haemodynamic response in the relevant part of the brain. Even if incorrect body part information is given the brain only shows responses in the area the reflex point refers to.    

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