Science of Iridology
Iridology is the study of the colored part
of the eye (called the iris) to determine
potential health problems. Iridologists
believe that changing patterns and markings
in the iris can be used to reveal emerging
conditions in every part of the body and
to identify inherited weaknesses that may
lead to physical and emotional disorders.
Iridology cannot detect a specific disease.
Rather, it is a preventive practice that
helps people to understand their basic
health issues so that they can seek
treatment, if necessary, from the
appropriate specialist. According to
iridologists, if a health problem is
detected at an early stage, something
can then be done to prevent it from
becoming a full-blown disease.
The idea that the eyes are a mirror to
the body is an ancient one: The Greek
physician Hippocrates was known to
examine patients' eyes for signs of
illness. It wasn't until 1670, however,
that the first actual medical reference
to iridology as a diagnostic tool
appeared in German physician Phillipus
Meyens' book Chiromatica Medica.
In the late-19th century Hungarian
physician Ignatz von Peczely and
Swedish clergyman Nils Liljequist
independently advanced theories
connecting the markings of the iris
with tendencies toward specific
ailments. Both men's interests stemmed
from experiences in their childhoods.
As a boy, Peczely accidentally broke
the leg of an owl and then noticed
a black mark that subsequently appeared
in the bird's iris. Later, in his
medical practice, he noted similar
marks in the eyes of his human patients
who'd suffered a fracture. For his
part, Liljequist contracted malaria
in his teens and was treated with
quinine and iodine. As the drugs
accumulated in his system, he noticed
that his blue eyes were turning a
darker color. After he later became
a homeopath, he found similar reactions
in his patients as well.
Today, modern iridology is practiced
far more widely in Europe than in
the United States, with Germany
contributing most of the research in
the field during the past century.
Iridology first became known in the
United States in the 1950's, when
Bernard Jensen, an American chiropractor,
began giving classes in his own method,
which mainly concentrates on iris color,
the body's exposure to toxins, and use
of natural foods as detoxifiers.
Although Jensen's concepts have never
been fully accepted by his European
counterparts, most American iridologists
have been trained using Jensen's techniques.
How Does It Work?
The basis of iridology is a holistic
concept well accepted in other fields
of alternative medicine, namely that
when examined correctly, each part of
the body contains information about
other parts of the body. In chiropractic
medicine, for example, misalignments
in the spine are used to diagnose and
treat diseases of the internal organs.
In Chinese medicine, examinations of
the pulse and tongue are regularly
included in the diagnostic process.
Iridolgists believe that as a
degenerative disease slowly develops,
the iris will reflect these changes.
Conventional physicians also routinely
examine the eye for evidence of internal
disease. Using an ophthalmoscope to
look at the retina of the eye, a doctor
can see how diseases such as diabetes
or high blood pressure are affecting
blood vessels. Likewise, a close
examination of the iris can give
information about high cholesterol
and certain metabolic ailments.
Iridologists contend that conventional
physicians underutilize the
iris as a source of information about
an body's health status. They
note that the iris itself is one
of the more complex organs in the
nervous system. When a photograph of the
iris is enlarged, iridologists claim
they can get a view of an ultrafine
membrane of connective tissue that may
indicate signs of degenerative diseases
well before their presence is
developed in larger organ systems.
Many iridology texts
map segments of the iris to
correspond with various internal
organs. While this concept is accepted
by most American-trained iridologists,
it continues to be debated among
European practitioners. Although the
European iridologists believe that
analysis of the eye can indicate a
propensity for disease, they point
to the lack of evidence for any
anatomical correspondence between
sections of the iris and specific body parts.
Most American-trained iridologists,
continue to maintain that the
iris is connected to the brain
and acts reflects conditions in various
parts of the body. Because thousands
of nerve endings make up the iris
it is said that the eye can indeed
provide a system of connections to
the rest of the body.
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Updated Monday 6/5/2017 10:26PM Mountain Time