The Reflexology Atlas by Bernard C. Kostler, M.D. & Astrid Waskowiak, M.D.

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    The Reflexology Atlas by Bernard C. Kostler, M.D. & Astrid Waskowiak, M.D. © 2003 (English Translation © 2005)  Healing Arts    ISBN  1-59477-091-3   Paperback  256 pages includes Index                   $24.95 (U.S.)


    This book is oversize (10 inches wide by 13 inches tall) and profusely illustrated, which was good thing for me, as I am only minimally familiar with the procedures associated with reflexology.  Oh, I’ve carried a wallet-sized reflexology card for years, but I’ve never really felt a pull to explore it in any depth.  Thus, I was surprised when this book was delivered to my door.  I’ve learned over the years, however, that things often happen for a purpose.


    The authors of this work, both M.D.s, stress the importance of not self diagnosing, and of not relying on reflexology to the exclusion of traditional medical treatment.  Reflexology is seen as an adjunct to, not as a replacement for, conventional medical treatment.  Reflexology can be effective in the case of functional disorders where no underlying organic problems can be found, but if you have acute appendicitis a trip to the ER would be more appropriate and effective.


    There are four sections devoted to various types of Reflexology – Foot, Hand, and Ear  – and one to Shiatsu, Each of which is divided into two sections – “Knowledge” and “Administering.”  The “Knowledge” section identifies each zone of the particular area being discussed in depth.  It provides anatomical references in addition to the appropriate massage points.  The greatest depth is devoted to Foot Reflexology (over 70 pages), with the other area receiving between 8 and 35 pages.


    When you get to the section on Shiatsu, which is not a Reflexology method, a familiarity with eastern martial arts or some of the esoteric teachings of Western mysticism will be beneficial.  Such knowledge beforehand is not essential, but it is helpful.


    The second part of the book is dedicated to “Alleviating Ailments” and covers 45 pages.  It covers a variety of topics ranging from allergies to urinary tract infections.  Obviously these ailments are not discussed in great detail, but each contains suggestions for each of the types of massage discussed in the first part of the book.


    There are two things this book is NOT.  It is not a cure-all for what ails you.  And, it is not a light-weight book.  It is, or it could be, a valuable reference to have handy while taking a course in massage.  Each step in the massage is illustrated with photographs so there is no doubt about what to do and how to do it.


    The majority of the book is composed of illustrations.  The descriptions and instructions are clear and concise, and having the illustrations being clear and on the same page makes it even easier to understand.  Many of the illustrations consist of photographs combined with drawings of the underlying structures.


    Although I have no plans to take up Reflexology as a career and, indeed, have little desire to use it in my daily life, I found this book highly informative, clearly written, easy to understand, and well designed.


    At $24.95 it is not cheap, but it well-produced and, in my opinion, worth every penny of it.  It looks like it will hold up for the long run, the illustrations are clear and large enough to be good references.  This is an excellent book.  If you are interested in Reflexology, this is a book to add to your library.


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