Aim: We examined the somatotopical relationship between cortical activity and sensory stimulation of reflex areas in reflexology using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Method: Three reflex areas on the left foot, relating to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine were stimulated during the experiment.
Results: A statistical analysis showed that reflexological stimulation of the foot reflex areas corresponding to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine activated not only the somatosensory areas corresponding to the foot, but also the somatosensory areas corresponding to the eye, shoulder, and small intestine or neighboring body parts.
Conclusion: Thus, the findings showed that reflexological stimulation induced a somatosensory process corresponding to the stimulated reflex area and that a neuroimaging approach can be used to examine the basis of reflexology effects.
Keywords: Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Reflexology, Sensory stimulation, Somatotopy