“The eyes are the window to the soul”, says the proverb. Iridology or “study of the iris” (the colored part of the eye) takes this well-known expression seriously. Iridologists believe that iris acts as a projection area of the whole body. Each organ, and its state, is represented as such. Given a proper reading, this would enable a diagnosis of many health issues. However, this approach is still today widely disputed, especially as scientific research has not provided enough evidence to support the theory.
Applied Iridology, also known iridoscopie, is a diagnostic tool and not a therapy in itself. However, the results of this screening can lead to potential treatments. In addition to assessing the health status, detailed analysis of the iris, either live or photographic enlargement, reveal individual predispositions to certain diseases. These could be associated with genetic or environmental or emotional factors. It is, above all, this ability to discover organic weaknesses (even before symptoms) that distinguish iridology other diagnostic methods.
Specifically, Iridologists study color, texture, pigmentation and a range of other factors that define the particularity of each iris. We can group these observations into three broad categories:
- The tonicity of the fibers that make up the frame of the iris gives an overall impression of the health status. So the firmness or, conversely, loosening fibers would be accompanied by individual resistance.
- The specific signs such as stains, deposits, bumps, dips or colors act as indicators of potential weaknesses and diseases. For example, a two-colored iris raises a possible predisposition to diabetes. A white spot would indicate a process of premature aging and even a tendency to arteriosclerosis.
- According to the mapping of the iris, the eye represents a real map of the body. Each member corresponds to a defined area. The location of a particular sign in a specific area indicates which body part could be affected. This mapping is the focus of the analysis process.
In addition, Iridologists have drawn three main “profiles of constitutional weaknesses”, based on the particular eye color:
- Lymphatic (blue or gray eyes) weak immune system, so predisposition to allergies, asthma, eczema, migraines, infections of the upper respiratory tract, arthritis, etc.
- Hematogenous (brown eyes): sensitivity to circulatory disorders, liver and bilious, including anemia, diabetes, digestive nervous spasms, etc.
- Biliary (blue and brown eyes): allergies, liver problems and urinary and digestive, abnormalities of blood glucose (diabetes) and the metabolism of calcium, etc.
The first references to iridology to appear were in Chiromatica Medica, Philippus Meyen’s book, published in Dresden, Germany, in 1670.
Widely recognized as the father of modern iridology is Ignatz Von Peczely, a Hungarian physician who lived in the nineteenth century. Von Peczely recorded his clinical observations and diagnostic methods of the iris in a book titled Discovery in the Field of Therapeutic and Naturism: Introduction to the Study of Diagnosis Through the Eyes. He established the basic concepts of iridology and developed a general map of the iris. It was inspired by the astrological model (12 Iridian areas representative of different parts of the body).
The first really detailed mapping of the iris appears during the 1950’s, under the leadership of an American chiropractor Bernard Jensen. He is recognized today as one of the masterminds of the discipline. Jensen School incorporates concepts of naturopathy, giving a more concrete and practical basis for iridology. The study of the iris is then accompanied by nutritional treatments.
The popularity of iridology is increasing since the 1990’s, thanks to technological advances in information technology and photography. Practitioners and customers have increased in Europe and North America. According to a report by the World Health Organization, iridology, although it remains marginal, as an alternative therapy is well established in several European countries. In France and Norway, for example, it ranks 8th among the most used alternative therapies, behind acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractic, osteopathy, kinesiology and hydrotherapy.