What is Iridology?

Iridology is a diagnostic technique based on studying the appearance of the eye, specifically the Iris which is the coloured part. Practitioners claim to be able to identify not only past problems, but currents issues and potentially future risks by the markings, discolouration, and condition of the iris. Iridology is founded on the idea that each section of the iris – like slices of a circle is mapped on to the body and corresponding to different body parts or systems.

The theory of modern iridology was pioneered in the 19th century by a Hungarian doctor called Ignatz von Peczely; it is said that he dedicated his career to charting patients’ diseases from markings in the iris. The technique has since been further refined by others, like American chiropractor Bernard Jensen in the twentieth century.

The International Iridology Practitioners Association (IIPA) states that, ‘Iridology helps identify inherited emotional patterns which can create or maintain physical symptoms, as well as identify lessons or challenges and gifts or talents available to us.’

And it should be remembered that iridology is a diagnostic device. The practitioner is likely to uses other therapies to alleviate whatever conditions have been diagnosed; that could be naturopathy or homeopathy, dietary advice or herbal remedies.


What to expect

The iris of the human eye includes thousands of nerve endings, and iridologists claim these are connected to different and identifiable parts of the body. It’s claimed that neuro-optic reflexes in the iris react to disorders in the body, showing themselves in distinctive markings or discolorations in different parts of the eye. A trained iridologist will examine your eyes to establish the state of your health and health history.

The practitioner may examine your eyes using a camera with a special lens and side-lighting facility to produce enlarged images of your eyes which can be studied. Other practitioners may use a torch, magnifying glass or ophthalmoscope. The use of advanced equipment such as fibre optic cameras and computerized scanning devices are not unusual in this field.

Using the complex Map of the Irises, devised by Ignatz von Peczely, the iridologist checks for marks, lesions and irregularities in specific quadrants or sectors of the iris believed to correspond to with specific parts of the body.  An iris flecked with marks would indicate to an iridologist that there is inflammation present in the related area or organ.

The examination at a first visit would probably take about one hour. Conventional medicine is not very convinced about the accuracy of Iridology’s findings; if a serious eye condition is detected you would be referred to an ophthalmic specialist.


Effects and Benefits

Iridology is a non-invasive diagnostic technique (not a cure in itself); it complements other therapeutic practices by providing information to establish the underlying cause of illnesses and conditions.

On the iridological eye map, the right iris is said to represent the right side of the body and the left iris to mirror that map and represent the left side of the body. The circle of the iris is divided into radial sections, like the hours of a clock. So problems with the mouth and throat are identified viewing that part of the left iris between 9 and 10 o’clock (on an imaginary clock-face) and between 2 and 3 o’clock on the right iris.  The iris map is also divided into circular zones that refer to different tissues and body systems, such are the arteries and blood circulation.

Peczely’s original Map of the Irises has been furthered refined so that today’s iridologist can view a blueprint of a patient’s past, present and future physical and psychological health, and assess their genetic and constitutional weaknesses.  For instance:

  • White marks are said to reveal the presence of inflammation of an organ (according to where the mark is on the iris, and which body area is indicated.
  • A dark rim around the iris is reckoned to show the presence of toxins.

A major benefit claimed by iridologists would be that they can give an early indication of a systemic weakness so that a problem can be treated before it becomes serious, and the iridologist would also take a view as to what kind of therapy would be helpful. Most iridologists use this diagnostic skill to complement their other expertise in related practices or to refer their patient to another practitioner.

Iridology can assist patients by informing them about their potentially vulnerable areas so that they can become more aware of what they can do to help themselves. The Iridologist can guide the patient by recommending therapies and treatments which may reverse existing conditions and help manage genetic weaknesses.


Fascinating Facts about Iridology

  • The story goes that the young Ignatz von Peczely, founding father of Iridology, tried to release a trapped owl which when struggling to escape broke its leg. As that happened, he observed that a dark mark appeared in the iris of the owl, and this mark turned white as the bird’s leg healed. That started his fascination with the study of eyes, Iridology was born and he when he qualified as a doctor, he continued to investigate and document the effect of disease on the human iris.
  • In the 5th century BC, a form of iridology may have been practised by ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, but only in the 19th century was the iris systematically ‘mapped’ as a diagnostic tool.
  • In 1950 an even more detailed map of the iris was devised by an American physician Bernard Jensen. His chart showed the 10 radial sections, relating to body areas, and adding more detail in 8 concentric rings of the iris, mapped from the outer circumference coming inwards and linked respectively to: the skin, arteries, lymphatic system, skeleton, muscle system, veins, intestines and stomach. This Map of the Iris is still used by iridologists today.
  • Those who practise Iridology consider it to be a safe, non-invasive and inexpensive method of analysis, and look to its techniques being integrated into both orthodox and complementary medicine. However, research findings has produced contradictory evidence:
  • Conventional medicine generally frowns on iridology and has even undertaken research to disapprove its effectiveness. A research project in the Journal of American Medical Association in 1949 involved iris photos of 143 patients with kidney disease and 95 control subjects were reviewed by iridologists. The iridologists were no more accurate than might have been predicted by chance. And 5 Dutch iridologists in another study failed to beat ‘chance’ rate of diagnosis of patients with gall bladder disease in 1988, as reported in the British Medical Journal.
  • In contrast, medical research in Russia in particular has established greater acceptance of Iridology. A Russian trial involving 800,000 patients found 85% accuracy in diagnosis done by iridology.  In South Korea clinical trials organised by the government found that Iridology was 78.2% accurate on average, with diagnosis of disorders of the digestive system as high as 90.2%. Orthodox medicine, on the other hand, judges other diagnostic techniques as being ‘reliable’ if they are accurate within a range of 30 – 40%.
  • In iridology, eye colour is considered to be connected with the constitution: people with brown eyes are considered to have a slower metabolic rate and those with blue eyes are believed to have a tendency towards conditions like arthritis.
  • Like fingerprints or faces, no two human fingerprints are precisely alike, nor are our faces, or our eyes. The construction of the iris is so unique it is now being used for security identification international airports and at ATM machines. And in the futuristic hi-tech home designed for Microsoft’s “house of the future” door locks will be not be operated by key or code, but an eye scanner which can identify legitimate residents by their irises, and let them in.


Professional Organisations

Guild of Naturopathic Iridologists Int

The Guild is the leading professional body for qualified iridologists in the UK. It was established in 1992, as an umbrella organisation for British iridologists,  an amalgamation of the UK College of Clinical Iridologists), the Naturopathic Iridology Register and the Iridology Association. In 1996 the Guild was enlarged by the inclusion of the British Register of Iridologists This brought about the unification of the Iridology movement in the UK. Subsequently, the Secretary of State gave the Guild the right to use the term ‘International’ in its title.

International Iridology Practitioners Association

THE IIPA aims to lead by example and ultimately raise the standard of Iridology world-wide. The name of the organization was changed from the National Iridology Research Association to the International Iridology Practitioners Association in August, 2000 to better reflect its association with other national bodies and its ‘commitment to those who practice the art and science of Iridology’.

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