Eating With Your Eyes — the Iridology Diet
by Catherine Morris | August 13, 2020, updated about 1 month ago
Philosophers say the eyes are the window to the soul, but iridologists believe they're a portal to the entire body.
A branch of alternative medicine that dates back over 150 years, iridology is the practice of examining a patient's iris to determine their health—a white smudge near the centre of the iris might indicate digestive upset, while changes in eye colour can show inflammation, toxic burden, or organ dysfunction.
Iridologists consider themselves wellness-detectives, and look in the iris for clues about what's going on under the hood. For those who blend iridology with nutrition, information from the iris is used to develop a custom eating plan that helps clients tweak what's on their plate to treat what's seen in the eyes.
Enthusiasts claim that this sort of ocular diet addresses the root cause of disease and prevents health complications down the road.
The History of Iridology
The story of iridology begins with an owl, a Hungarian doctor, and an interesting observation.
Sometime in the mid 19th century, when he was still a child, Dr Ignatz von Peczely rescued an owl with a broken leg. Examining the bird, he noticed a black mark in its eye that gradually disappeared as the leg healed. Intrigued, Peczely went on to study medicine and created the first iris chart in 1880—a diagram that linked parts of the iris with parts of the body.
Peczely's work was later taken up by Swedish healer Nils Liljequist, who is considered the second founding father of iridology. While gaining ground in Europe, the practice didn't get much attention in North America until the 1970s when nutritionist and chiropractor Dr Bernard Jensen began creating the definitive iridology chart still in use today.
What is Iridology?
Iridologists believe that discoloration, changes or marks in the affiliated areas of the iris, indicate disease or ill health in an affiliated part of the body. Iridology charts detail the areas of the iris, linking around 90 different sections of the eye to organs or bodily systems such as the thyroid, kidneys, and reproductive system.
B.C-based iridologist Fumie Yamaguchi explains,
“You can see in the iris where imbalances exist, close to the centre of the iris is the stomach area, so that tells us about digestive health. If I see imbalances there I might ask about stomach acid or bowel movements. I can clearly see the toxins coming from the gut.”
Yamaguchi was first drawn to iridology out of curiosity. She studied under a student of Dr Jensen, and says she's still learning about the practice's potential—most recently the theory that your iris can also indicate certain aspects of your personality.
How Does Iridology Work?
In a typical iridology session, Yamaguchi looks into her client's eyes using a light and magnifying equipment. She takes an image of the iris that is used to draw up a more detailed report after the initial consultation, and gives feedback and advice based on what she sees. Yamaguchi says she doesn't directly diagnose conditions, but rather, advises where there might be trouble, and offers nutritional, and other forms of support to address those troubles.
“I just make sense of it. I help people connect the dots. You have to know why [a symptom] is happening, and what you can do about it. I am fascinated by the body—it is always trying to heal itself, so I support the whole system. I want to know the root cause of people's illnesses—sometimes they know something is wrong, but they don't know where.”
Iridology and Nutrition
Yamaguchi has practiced iridology since 2012, and integrates it into her work as a nutritionist. She takes a holistic approach and says her focus is on identifying problems, and working with patients to create a healing diet.
Her dietary recommendations are tailored to each client—digestive bitters for stomach upsets, protective herbs for the adrenals and liver, calcium supplementation for acidic inflammation—but she warns it's not an instant fix, and that it takes time and commitment to resolve problems via nutrition—
“Some people want an overnight fix, they want change to happen in a day, but natural medicine doesn't happen like that. Iridology can reveal the things you can reverse, and that takes time. It's trial and error sometimes, it's not a straight road. I love using iridology to help reverse certain conditions, but I prefer using it to prevent future disease. I help people know their state at that moment, so they can start changing themselves.”
She also warns that changing eating habits can evoke unexpected reactions, saying—“When we change our diet and our biochemistry [...] we start having an emotional release. We have to go through an emotional detoxification too.”
Why Try Iridology?
Yamaguchi encourages people to embrace their own curiosity and says iridology is a non-invasive, safe way of learning more about yourself.
“If somebody feels like conventional medicine can only do so much and they feel like they need new opportunities or new tools, why not try something like iridology? People should try whatever calls to them. I had a client who went from practitioner to practitioner and was overwhelmed. I told her to trust it. Sometimes people find iridology and it just clicks.”
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Catherine Morris is an award-winning journalist with a bad case of wanderlust and a passion for all things health and wellness. Originally from Northern Ireland, she worked as a news and feature writer for media outlets in the UK, South Africa, France and the Caribbean before settling in Canada. Catherine now lives in Alberta with her husband and rescue mutt and spends her time happily exploring the great outdoors with both.