The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as:
Reflexologists suggest that the blockage of an energy field, invisible life force, or Qi, can prevent healing. Another tenet of reflexology is the belief that practitioners can relieve stress and pain in other parts of the body through the manipulation of the feet. One claimed explanation is that the pressure received in the feet may send signals that 'balance' the nervous system or release chemicals such as endorphins that reduce stress and pain. These hypotheses are rejected by the general medical community, which cites a lack of scientific evidence and the well-tested germ theory of disease.
- · "A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."
Common criticisms of reflexology are the lack of evidence for its claimed effects, or of a scientific or demonstrated basis for its theories, of central regulation, accreditation and licensing, or of medical training provided to reflexologists, and the short duration of training programmes.
Reflexology's claim to manipulate energy has been highly controversial, as there seems to be little scientific evidence for the existence of life energy (Qi), 'energy balance'.