Does the behavior of elephants and bears hold a clue to why reflexology has been practiced throughout history? Do we creatures all act on natural impulses for our phsyical good?
A review of some facts and reports makes one wonder. First, elephants suffer from sore feet to the extent it can be life threatening. A zoo in South Africa reports that their elephants rolls their feet on rocks if they are available. Next, an ethnobotanist made headlines a few years ago when he reported that bears in the wild act with purpose when they dig up the osha plant and rub the root all over their bodies. The purpose: to treat or care for their fur and skin with the root, used by humans to make a soap. As noted by http://www.chinese-herbs.org/osha/ “Osha is one of the herb of so-called "bear medicine". In many cultures the bear is considered to be the prime healing animal, which uses herbs for its own good. In case with Osha, bears will roll on it and cover themselves with its scent; it will have the same effect as catnip for cats. Also first thing to do after hibernation a bear will eat osha, if it can find it, to cleanse its digestive system.”
Now, we come to the human side of things. Reflexology has been practiced by cultures throughout history with no signs of direct cross fertilization. This term means that the idea was not carried from culture to culture. A sociologist does have an explanation for why so many people at so many different times would create and practice reflexology. He states: “An archestructure can now be defined as a felt or perceived function or structural feature of the nervous system, projected or unconsciously acted out in the life-style or the beliefs, customs and social structures of the indicidual concerned or of whole communities” (Gooch, Stan F., Total Man, Ballantine Books, 1972, p. 209)
Is reflexology something we naturally gravitate towards to relieve tension and relax our nervous system? Just like the elephant or the bears we maybe seeking natural remedies that take their cue from our own bodies.
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