"Despite thousands of years of successful treatment with reflexology, the mechanism of action has eluded us," lead researcher Gerald Fitzwilliam explained. "There has been a great deal of skepticism regarding posited explanations so far, but this should put that to rest."
Ancient reflexology wisdom tells us that there is a life force, or chi, that flows throughout the body, and that the feet serve as a nexus point. With this in mind, the feet have long been targeted by practitioners of reflexology as a means to influence this life force in an attempt to restore balance and improve health. Modern reflexlogy rejects traditional vitalistic explanations, believing that manipulation of the feet impacts the nervous system rather than any magical healing energy. All proponents, however, argue that focusing on specific areas of the foot will allow healing in related areas of the body, and that this relationship is fixed and reproducible. Until now, there has been no scientific proof of the connection between the feet and other areas of the body.
The discovery of what Fitzwilliam has called the corpus totalis nerve changes that. "Finding a nerve that leaves the foot and has connections to, as far as we can tell, everywhere else in the body provides wonderful scientific support for the practice of reflexology. Using our keen powers of observation, we knew that a physical structure had to connect the foot to the spleen, to give just one example. I have to admit, being validated feels pretty good."