My impressions is that the most common theories about the mechanisms of reflexology involves the nerve system. I doubt this. I have my own thoughts about these mechanisms, but they will rest now. The one thing that I’m quite sure about is that the nerve system is not involved. To understand the reasons for my opinion much knowledge and understanding of full-body reflexology is needed, so I will not go into such explanation at this moment. Instead of arguing about this I will describe how this kind of theories can be falsified1.
This procedure involves a client with a spine injury that is laming below the point of injury. I have not succeeded in my search for such person, but other might do.
If the nerve system theory is false, applying reflexology on any areas somewhat below the point of injury should give a reflexological effect on the body. Other vice, in the case of no effect at all, the nerve system theory have survived. That is not to say the theory is true, but it is probably the best we have at that moment. For most reflexologists applying reflexology on any areas somewhat below the point of injury can be read as on the feet.
From my experience with Biodynamic massage2 I learned to use an electronic stethoscope. I have taken this knowledge with me into my reflexology practice. I will neither explain this at the moment, but only give the necessary information. By placing the stethoscope on the belly of any client in rest there will hardly be any sounds. There will only be sounds related to the normal digestion. They will have certain qualities and intensities that is quite constant. If then a gut reflex is stimulated intensively, the quality and intensity of the sounds will change in character. By doing this exercise on a handful of clients it should be easy to get familiar with the diversity of the sounds in those two states, and be able to differentiate them.
With this newly acquired knowledge the injured client can then be evaluated. First for a while in resting state, to stabilize. Then in gut stimulated stat. If the quality of the sound from the stethoscope do not change in a similar way as with the first persons, we can conclude that there are no nerve response in the gut as a response of the stimulation. The nerve system theory survived.
If the outcome is changes in the sounds similar to those of the first persons, it can be concluded that stimulating a reflex gives a response despite no nerves are involved. The following theorem will then be valid:
Reflexology can not be explained as a stimuli/response action trough the nerve system.
I will encourage everyone whom do this experiment to report the results, what ever they might be.
1 For more information about falsification take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsification
2 For more information about Biodynamic massage take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerda_Boyesen