Why is this Slam game sequence on foot reflexology creating a bad buzz today?

Why is this Slam game sequence on foot reflexology creating a bad buzz today?

On January 2, during the game show Slam (Europe 3), host Cyril Féraud was very enthusiastic in discussing the subject of foot reflexology with a candidate who has made it her profession. But Internet users criticized the lack of scientific perspective in this sequence, at prime time.

It’s an extract like you see every day when you turn on your TV. At the heart of the game show Slam, host Cyril Féraud takes an interest in today’s candidate and asks her questions about what she does for a living. Nothing crazy a priori. But this January 2, the participant responds that she practices foot reflexology and expands on the therapeutic benefits of this practice. Faced with her, the presenter is enthusiastic about this subject which he considers fascinating (and uncommon) to the point of asking if rather than “loading yourself with medication, it would be enough to press on specific areas of the foot”. What the candidate confirms, to the applause of the public. The game then continues completely normally.

An extract that goes viral, a report to Arcom

This was all it took to trigger the amazement of certain Internet users, offended that we could praise an alternative medicine practice on a public service channel. One Internet user, in particular, protests, and indicates in his thread that he reported the sequence to the audiovisual policeman, Arcom. He denounces the “advertising for a totally ineffective pseudo-medical practice, with an authority figure (…) who tells them that it is better than medication”.

He also posts an extract from the Wikipedia page on reflexology, which explains that “the idea that there are reflex pathways between a given area of ​​the foot, hand or ear and a particular organ is a belief without biological basis”.

In two days, said sequence already reached 1.4 million views.

Too little scientific data to date

Plantar reflexology is an ancestral practice based on the principle that the sole of the foot is the seat of reflex points whose stimulation would improve the functioning of the organs. By stimulating the representations of the organs mapped on the sole of the foot, the practitioner would improve the function of the targeted organ and treat diseases.

Although it has been practiced in various cultures and for centuries, it is nevertheless listed in the 400 unconventional care practices listed by the World Health Organization.

It also encounters many skeptics because of its lack of scientific basis to date. As Bruno Falissard, director of the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (Cesp) indicates in 20 Minutes: “Foot reflexology is not based on serious foundations. There is nothing credible about this treatment. But can it help some people? Why not, of course. But this is another story… “

Indeed, several studies have failed to show the effectiveness of foot reflexology, as identified by Edzard Ernst in 2009 in a meta-analysis. “The best clinical evidence does not convincingly demonstrate that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.he wrote in 2011. But scientists also recognize it: this basis “never demonstrated” also explains that there are not many studies that have been carried out to test the technique.

A complementary practice

However, can we say that foot reflexology is dangerous, and that talking about it is a problem? Yes, if faced with a serious illness, a patient will consult a reflexologist rather than a doctor.

But as things stand, discipline itself is not a threat. The Order of Physiotherapists does not include it among the “illusory techniques reported”, for example, (it remains monitored, however) in its latest report. The Order of Nursing also understands that the practice has positive effects in a number of illnesses such as allergies, arthritis, cirrhosis, diabetes, fibroids, hypertension… But techniques should not be perceived “as a form of care, nor contribute to subjugating fragile people”.

For Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, the method should in fact not be perceived as a priority medicine, but should not be demonized.

“In the event of a pathology, the right attitude is to first go to the doctor, adopt foot reflexology as a complementary method, why not, and consider it as an alternative treatment, in the event of functional disorders and on medical advice”

In an honest exchange with your doctor, the practice could just as easily integrate your care pathway.

“The doctor must be a compass for patients and not exclude a priori ancestral practices or medicines. He must advise, verify that there is no deviation (sectarian, financial, etc.) or endangerment through loss of opportunity for example (stopping treatments).”

Moreover, some mutual insurance companies cover it.