• ← Thesis 2013



    My mother likes watching healthcare shows. She also loves to share with me, even though she has to call me from China. Most of these shows are about teaching people general knowledge, like the ingredients of a healthy diet or special recipes to relieve back stress or headache. She likes to talk about new information she learned from these shows, although sometimes I am not totally listening.

    But the conversation makes me think a lot about traditional healthcare. For example, I was introduced to reflexology in the first grade in primary school. In school in China, we have a special reflexology for the eyes. This eye-reflexology treatment has been used as the standard exercise for all students in China since 1963, with familiar music playing over loud speakers. We do this treatment twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. It helps the students reduce eye strain from reading. It is like a massage for eyes. There are four exercises in the treatment for the four different reflex zones around eyes.

    Reflexology, or zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or face with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. The hands are open doors to the body’s systems. Each section of the hand correlates to a specific organ. Stimulating nerves on specific areas of the hand can increase blood flow and eliminate toxins in the corresponding organs and systems of the body. Although reflexologists cannot claim to cure a sickness or disease, the practice is known to be beneficial for relaxing the body and relieving stress, for improving circulation and relieving pain, and for stimulating the immune and nervous systems.

    Eastern cultures have been using reflexology treatment for thousands of years. Shiatsu is Japanese for "finger pressure". It is a type of alternative medicine consisting of finger and palm pressure, stretches, and other massage techniques. There is no scientific evidence for any medical efficacy of shiatsu, but some shiatsu practitioners promote it as a way to help people relax and cope with issues such as stress, muscle pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression.

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    Introductory Video