Fact Check: NO Evidence That Tapping, Squeezing Thumbnail Area Provides 'Brain Reboot'

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: NO Evidence That Tapping, Squeezing Thumbnail Area Provides 'Brain Reboot' Doesn't Work

Can tapping and squeezing the thumbnail and the area surrounding the thumbnail cause a "brain reboot"? No, that's not true: There is no credible information stating that this technique, attributed to reflexology, causes any significant change to the brain. A search of medical and scientific literature turned up no evidence that the action produces a "brain reboot."

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on December 13, 2023. The person in the reel, which was captioned "Brain Reboot!" began:

I wanna show you something that's gonna blow your mind. Right here in the nail bed of our thumb is anterior pituitary of our brain in hand reflexology. Take these two fingers and tap it just like this 10 times.

The person in the reel said that after tapping, one should squeeze the area around their nail bed for up to one minute. One should then feel something behind their nasal area and their brain, a sensation that should "totally wind you down."

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

brain reboot thumbnail reflexology FB reel.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Dec 19 17:17:18 2023 UTC)

The person in the reel situates the thumbnail technique in reflexology. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), reflexology (archived here) is:

... a practice in which different amounts of pressure are applied to specific points on the feet or hands. These points are believed to match up with certain other parts of the body.

The NCCIH notes that while these corresponding points in the body can be stimulated to promote healing and relaxation, "this has not been proven."

Lead Stories did not find any medical or scientific literature that corroborated the claim made in the reel on Facebook. We searched for "(reflexology) AND (thumb) AND (nail) AND (brain)" in three large databases that contain medical and scientific research: PubMed (archived here), ScienceDirect (archived here) and Google Scholar (archived here). The PubMed search generated zero results, while the ScienceDirect results, upon further review by Lead Stories, did not corroborate the claim under examination. There were hundreds of Google Scholar results; however, the top results -- sorted by relevance to the search -- did not present peer-reviewed works that would prove the claim under examination either.

Lead Stories reached out to experts on the subject for comments on the claim. We will update this story with any relevant responses.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to reflexology can be found here.

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