A point or not a point

To the point

I’m probably more that average conserned about language. I see it as fundamental tool to gain knowledge. It is obvious that if the teacher and the studen don’t have a common language, the teaching process can be very hard. But even if the language is common, there might be different interpretations of central words. This problem can also occure in discussions between peers. When I as professional am going to briefly explain something to a person with no background knowledge, I might be less accurate in my selection of words than if I discuss advanced topics with colleagues. The pitfall here is that we become less concious on our language when it is needed to be accurate and precise.

I recently found an article named Ease stress, headaches and anxiety with these at-home reflexology pressure points.

My immediate response to reading that heading is: Do we have points in reflexology? Just as immediate, I conclude that we don’t. To explain this we first have to look at the definition of a point. In this context a point is about a location, that is to say geomety. In short, the following is what Wikipedia has to say about point.

Point (geometry), an entity that has a location in space or on a plane, but has no extent; more generally, an element of some abstract topological space.

The ting to notice here is “has no extent”. It does not cover a single square milimeter, or fraction of it.

In reflexology we work on projections of the body on the body. For most reflexologists these projections will be smaller that the body that is treated. If I wish to treat my klients knee on the projection used by Ingham, the relativly big knee will project as a small spot. But it is bigger than a point. If I wish to treat the clients relativly smaller finger nail on the same projection, the area to treat is even smaller. But it still has an extent. It is an area and not a point, indipendent of how small that area is.

In my opinion the correct terminology is reflex, or area reflecting something.

Well, there is an exception. Kind of. This is probably of more theoretical interest. We have some fenomens that can be considered as points on our body. When these points are projected, also the projections will be points. The points I’m refering to here are the TCM acupuncture points and the center of chakras. Even if they are points they will be affected by influence on the nearby tissue.

A bad tradition

Usually the TCM acupuncture points are manipulated by needles. Hence the name, acus  is needle in Latin, and punctura is to puncture. That misleaded someone to believe that every time you use a needle it is related to a point. Thuse we got points in ear acupuncture. Pity. This has lead to much misunderstanding, and it continues to do so.
Even WHO is infected by this belief. They created the
Report of the working group of auricular acupuncture nomenclature. The famous Dr. Paul Nogier and other celebrities contributed to this work.

Screenshot_2019-10-12 Auriculotherapy Manual

Auriculotherapy Manual. Fourth edition. Page 245.

The most usual projection used on the eare is the reversed fetus. In books you can find referencers to French and Chinese ear reflexology points, and other. Here is the pitfall. Lots of authors don’t understand that the ears are a surface with a somatotopic projection. Our bodies are continuous. Even the famous Terry Oleson. From his book Auriculotherapy Manual I will give an examples that is common in the world of ear reflexology and ear acupuncture.

On my body the wrist is tightly connected to the forearm, which again is connected to the elbow. And so on.Øre1

As I see it, there is an area between the wrist and the elbow that projects the forearm. With this kind of map the readers are mislead. The forearm is not a point on my body, neither on the projection of the body on my ear. The same goes for both the wrist and the elbow. They are not points, they have an extent.

To avoid this kind of misunderstandings I use my own charts that express the projections as a continuum. I also prefer to teach ear reflexology without needles. Needles can come after some experience.

Please, be careful when using reflexology and point in the same sentence.

scapula – shoulder blad
artculatio humeri – shoulder joint
clavicle – collarbone
brachium – upper arm
ancon – elbow
antebrachium – forearm
carpus – wrist
manus – hand
pollex – thumb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s