Do you see eye to eye with your doctor? If he or she practises iridology, you may.

Practitioners of iridology may use it to assess the tissue strength of the various organs and systems in the body. It is both the science and the art of analyzing body conditions through an examination of the iris, the coloured part of the eye.

Many people consider iridology a diagnostic tool, but that is not how I employ it. Iridology does not diagnose disease. But it does help determine the condition of various tissues and organs, and more importantly, it assists with directing questions and dialogue with our clients.

A Cosmopolitan Field

Practitioners from around the world have spent the past century examining the correlation between certain iris features and human psychology and physiology. I have attended conferences on iridology in Germany, where more than 6,000 medical doctors discussed their use of iridology in its various forms.

Iridology is also widely used by herbalists and homeopathic doctors to assist them in discovering an individual’s predispositions to various health conditions. One could spend a lifetime studying the iris of the eye, and many scholars have.

But not for Everyone

While iridology is popular, not all natural healers believe in it. At least half of my colleagues in the field of herbology, naturopathy, and other healing arts do not believe iridology works. This is not my experience.

For more than 30 years I have been practising and teaching iridology in both my clinic and college. It is a major part of my clinical practice. I combine iridology with many other tools in my practice, but the core of my approach is definitely iridology.

It is important to understand that iridology can tell us the condition of the tissue, but it cannot specify what is flowing through the tissue. For example, iridology cannot tell us if a person has low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), but it can tell us the condition of the pancreas and adrenal glands. By understanding the condition of these two organs, we may be directed to ask specific questions about the person’s lifestyle and symptoms that would indicate if they indeed did have low blood sugar, syndrome X, or possibly diabetes.

A True Holistic Tool

Iridology provides a picture of the state of the whole body at a glance. This view helps determine if one area of the body is negatively affecting another. For example, a tipped uterus could be caused by a prolapsed transverse colon which, in turn, might be caused by a weak lower back and abdominal muscles. If we knew only that the person had a tipped uterus, our suggestions for improving their health might be focused in the wrong area. To be able to see a pathway for such problems takes a thorough knowledge of the eye chart and plenty of practice.

Another form of analyzing the iris is called Rayid. While iridology focuses on the physical characteristics of the body, Rayid focuses on the emotional, mental, and even spiritual aspects of the individual. By combining iridology with other tools, a well-trained prac-titioner can paint a thorough picture of health issues facing a person.

Window on Health

Iridology charts are used by trained practitioners to aid in developing a picture of a patient’s overall state of health. Each colour, pattern, fibre, and defect in the iris is thought to have a reflex correlation with a disease manifestation or organ system malfunction. The left eye is believed to correspond with the left side of the body and the right eye to the right side.

In this chart of the iris of the right eye, developed by Dr. Bernard Jensen, a well-known American iridologist, the upper quadrant represents the higher organs while the lower organs are represented at the bottom.

In the Beginning

The use of iridology is mentioned in the writings of Hippocrates (4th century BC) and in those of the revived medical school of Salerno (11th century AD). It was rediscovered by Dr. Ignatz von P?ely of Hungary and Pastor Nils Liljequist of Switzerland, who both claim to have discovered it independently in 1857.

Dr. Bernard Jensen is recognized as making iridology popular in North America, beginning in the late 1940s. Dr. Jensen was my mentor and I studied with him and worked at his Hidden Valley Health Ranch in Escondido, California, in the early 1970s.

About the Author

Terry Willard, CIH, PhD, is a practitioner, teacher, director of the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in Calgary, Alberta, and author of Mind-Body Harmony (Key Porter, 2003).