Reflexology as we know it today, is a relatively new therapy. Types of healing through massage has been documented throughout history and healing applied through the feet and hands has been documented all over the globe.
In Ancient Egypt dating around 2500BC, there are hieroglyphics on the tomb wall of a famous physician documenting a type of massage on the hands and feet.
Moving into the 20th Century, during 1913 – 1920 in the US, a doctor called Dr. William Fitzgerald (a throat and nose surgeon) developed the therapy called ‘Zone Therapy’.
He had discovered a Chinese method where if pressure and massage was applied in a certain area it had a definite effect in bringing normal functioning in all parts of what he termed the ‘zone’. He experimented with pain thresholds and pressure points. And Within this therapy he found that by applying pressure to one part of the body created an anaesthetic affect to another.
He did extensive testing and developed a map dividing the body into 10 longitudinal zones; the midline of the body being ‘Zero’ and 5 zones either side.
In 1930 a US Doctor called Dr. Jo Selby Riley, alongside his wife began with Fitzgerald’s findings. They were joined by their assistant in their research, a Physiotherapist called Eunice Ingham.
Through much testing they began concentrating on the body’s extremities (hands & Feet) realising they had better results. The mapping of them came about during this period.
Eunice Ingham travelled all over the US, adapting her methods and teaching her findings of this new Foot Therapy. Later re-naming the therapy to ‘Reflexology’.
In 1938 she published her works in “Stories the feet can tell” and later followed with another book “Stories the feet have told”.
Reflexology finally made it to the UK in 1960’s with one of Ingham’s students and lady called Doreen Bayley.
Since reaching our shores Reflexology has gone from strength to strength with practitioners developing areas such as Vertical Reflex Therapy, Nerve Reflexology and work specifically tailored to particular conditions.
With all holistic therapies it is about finding the right one for you. A good practitioner knows this and will always refer to other good practitioners in other fields including doctors if necessary.