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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 983769, 11 pages
Research Article

Noninvasive Characterisation of Foot Reflexology Areas by Swept Source-Optical Coherence Tomography in Patients with Low Back Pain

1Department of Biophysics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110 029, India
2School of Medical Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal 721 302, India
3Department of Biostatistics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110 029, India
4Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India

Received 3 December 2012; Revised 30 January 2013; Accepted 31 January 2013

Academic Editor: Roja Rahimi

Copyright © 2013 Krishna Dalal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. When exploring the scientific basis of reflexology techniques, elucidation of the surface and subsurface features of reflexology areas (RAs) is crucial. In this study, the subcutaneous features of RAs related to the lumbar vertebrae were evaluated by swept source-optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT) in subjects with and without low back pain (LBP). Methods. Volunteers without LBP ( (male : female = 1 : 1)) and subjects with LBP ( (male : female = 2 : 3)) were clinically examined in terms of skin colour (visual perception), localised tenderness (visual analogue scale) and structural as well as optical attributes as per SS-OCT. From each subject, 6 optical tomograms were recorded from equidistant transverse planes along the longitudinal axis of the RAs, and from each tomogram, 25 different spatial locations were considered for recording SS-OCT image attributes. The images were analysed with respect to the optical intensity distributions and thicknesses of different skin layers by using AxioVision Rel. 4.8.2 software. The SS-OCT images could be categorised into 4 pathological grades (i.e., 0, 1, 2, and 3) according to distinctness in the visible skin layers. Results. Three specific grades for abnormalities in SS-OCT images were identified considering gradual loss of distinctness and increase in luminosity of skin layers. Almost 90.05% subjects were of mixed type having predominance in certain grades. Conclusion. The skin SS-OCT system demonstrated a definite association of the surface features of healthy/unhealthy RAs with cutaneous features and the clinical status of the lumbar vertebrae.