Ugandan Reflexologists vs. their Government

The Ugandan government has forced the closure of all reflexology centres in that country, provoking a fierce reaction from the woo-woo brigade. The government’s reasoning is that practitioners lack training and fall short of operational standards, while reflexologists argue that not all of their kind are guilty of this. That is, both sides seem to agree that reflexology actually works when done right. Faulty reasoning pervades both sides of this farce, like banning witchcraft because there’s a shortage of black cats. It’s a veritable sceptic’s dilemma — one that will leave all sceptics in a quandary over which side to support, given that it’s a laudable decision based on wholly ignorant reasoning.

Indeed, it exemplifies just how urgent is the need for well-informed critical thinking.


This is a country that banned being gay by punishment of Execution.

After I read your headline I was thinking “No way, that sounds impossible”.

All we need is properly trained witches, then all is well.

Yeah, the Ugandan government’s stance on homosexuality is another symptom of its remarkable ignorance.

But I think the reflexologists really mean to kick up a fuss over this footling issue of having their practices stepped on. They obviously think their government’s a heel and the sole obstacle standing in their way, so they won’t soft-pedal their dissent. Maybe their hotfooting it to court will keep the government on its toes if not in step…


O for god’s sake. Bloody coffee up my nose again.

Sorry, st0nes’ nose. Again.


While getting something like reflexology or homeopathy (Did uganda ban homeopathy because there were homo’s in it?) banned does make our hearts glow… I don’t think it should be banned any more than shooting yourself in the head. (Clarification: Suicide should NOT be banned in my opinion).

You CAN however control dishing out stuff like this AS MEDICINE, not mislabeling it as part of necessary medical intervention, or “in place of” such intervention, in a place where people expect MEDICAL treatment. (Same for homeopathy actually, see GCG’s thread…) But I mean if you want to do this IN ADDITION to normal medical treatment, as long as your MD/physio signs off… you should be perfectly free to.

I mean, I think witchcraft is as daft as the next guy but I DO believe in personal liberty to do whatever you like, short of “assaulting” someone else. (This is where traditional healers would step foul if they want to use human body parts, steal livestock, prescribing poison, etc…)

Objectivism defines “an act of violence/assault” as including fraud, with that I agree. I have no problem with reflexology as long as it’s not labeled as medical treatment. If it is labeled as such it is fraud, and can be dealt with as fraud. If you label it as a “relaxation aid” though (fat chance), then go for it…

I’ve had a mean foot massage or two and they can be VERY pleasant and relaxing.

As a general rule, I’m also strongly opposed to interference, especially of the overweening paternalistic regulatory kind. It’s one thing when a foot massage is sold to you as just a foot massage. It’s quite another when it is sold to you as a cure for peptic ulcers or general unease or even demon possession. This aspect of false or dubious promises is where tight control is called for without unnecessarily heavy-handed intervention in the goods and services that people are permitted to trade in — as long as it’s done without causing harm. There is in my view a gaping need for a mechanism whereby people can be held accountable for making pledges they cannot or will not keep. Our new consumer protection legislation may, in fact, turn out to be not forceful enough, but it’s certainly a good start.


Where did you find this? (If it checks out we may use it in the next episode of Consilience.)

You’ll find a link to a New Vision Online (i.e. Ugandan) news article in the OP.