Iridologists study the iris to gauge past, present and developing health conditions of a patient. Feline iridologists apply this practice to cats as part of a natural, holistic evaluation method, similar to how reflexologists use the foot to determine someone's overall state of health.
Fibers and Pigmentation
Iridology teaches that the fibers and pigments of the iris belie the underlying health of all parts of the body. Akin to acupuncture or reflexology, different parts of the iris correspond to different parts of the body, such as the organs or joints. If, for example, a feline iridologist saw concentric circles in the iris, she might theorize that your cat suffers from muscle stiffness or arthritis.
Practitioners of pet iridology have developed charts based on the eyes of cats and dogs, as well as diagnostic software that allows iridologists to study and compare overlays of iris scans. Changes in colors and patterns in overlays are what iridologists use to conclude that potential health issues may be developing. Practitioners also use iriscope cameras to scan and record images of feline eyes for analysis.
Though iridology is not intended to directly diagnose health issues, practitioners believe that monitoring the color, patterns and textures of the eye can be advance indicators of trouble in a cat's health and life. Proponents say feline and pet iridology has helped identify problems such as colon and digestion conditions, genetic predisposition to disease, inflammation and stress. Iridology's chief draw is that it is noninvasive.
Critics of iridology claim it is a pseudoscience with no practical merit. Quackwatch, a website that seeks to debunk unsubstantiated medical and health practices, states that iridology, whether for people or cats, is worthless and can unnecessarily frighten people into spending money for treatment of nonexistent conditions. Longtime iridology practitioner Joshua David Mather has come out against the practice in recent years, saying that iris images often change depending on the angle of the light used to study an iris, even when using special cameras. With too many variables, Mather says, there is little credibility to the practice.
Becoming a Pet Iridologist
Iridology in all forms is considered an alternative healing practice and has no set standards of practice, nor is any certification or training required. Anyone can call himself an iridologist and open a practice. Professional organizations, such as the International Iridology Practitioners Association, however, have standards for certification. The Animal Iridology Center offers a home study certification course in dog and cat iridology.
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