The History of Reflexology
The roots of Reflexology originate from way back in ancient history when pressure therapies were recognized as preventative and therapeutic medicine. Exactly where and how it all began is somewhat elusive, but evidence shows that therapeutic foot massage has been practiced throughout history by a variety of cultures.
One theory is that Reflexology originated in China about 5,000 years ago. Egyptian and Babylonian cultures developed before Chinese culture, however Egypt contributed a valuable piece of historical evidence. The oldest documentation depicting the practice of reflexology was unearthed in Egypt. This evidence, a pictograph dated around 2500-2330 B.C. was found in the tomb of an Egyptian physician. The picture shows two men working on the feet and hands of two other men. The patient on the left has his right hand on his right knee and his left hand under his right armpit. The other patient is opposite. The patient is touching the reflex point under his arm where he feels the corresponding pain.
Another theory claims that a form of reflex therapy was passed down to the Native Americans by the Incas. Again, no specific evidence supports this theory. However, the use of reflex pressure has been practiced by the North American native peoples for generations.
In Europe, a form of reflexology was known and practiced as far back as the 14 th Century. Zone therapy was the precursor to modern reflexology, which was reborn through the work of William H. Fitzgerald in the early 20 th century. Dr Fitzgerald was an ear, nose and throat specialist at the Boston City Hospital and St Francis Hospital in Connecticut, USA. He discovered that by applying pressure to the tops of fingers with metal clamps, and winding tight elastic bands around the middle section of each finger, he created an anaesthetic effect on the facial area. By this intervention he was able to do simple ear, nose and throat surgery without any form of anaesthesia.
Dr Shelby Riley, who worked closely with Dr Fitzgerald, developed zone theory further. He added the horizontal zones running across the surfaces of the hands and feet and he also discovered that deep pressure, especially on the feet, stimulated the zonal pathways, improving nerve and blood supply, detoxifying congested areas and reducing pain.
From zone therapy to reflexology.
Eunice D. Ingham, known as the ‘Mother of Reflexology’ was a physical therapist who worked with Dr Riley. She was fascinated by the concept of zone therapy and in the early 1930’s started developing her foot reflex theory. By treating many patients, carefully and thoughtfully, checking and re-checking each reflex point until she was able to determine with confidence that the ‘the reflexes on the feet are an exact mirror image of the organs, functions and structures of the human body’.
Reflexology and the world.
In the late 1950’s, Dwight Byers, (Eunice’s nephew), started helping his aunt in her workshops, together with his sister, Eusebia Messnger RN (Registered Nurse), under the direction of Eunice, began teaching at workshops on a full time basis.
The practice of reflexology spread to Canada and the rest of the world. Today, reflexology is one of the most popular forms of complementary medicine. It is simple, two healing hands are needed and a knowledge of reflexology.
Reflexology is found in many countries of the world, its provision of enhanced health and mental and physical relaxation coupled with it inherent simplicity and harmlessness.
What is Reflexology?
- Reflexology is a complementary health therapy which uses the application of pressure using finger and thumb techniques to the feet, hands or ears.
- Reflexology is based on the principle that the entire body is reflected in the feet, hands and ears. Reflexes in the feet, hands and ears correspond to all glands, organs and parts of the body.
- Reflexology is holistic and non-invasive, working at the physical, mental and emotional and spiritual levels.
- Reflexology de-stresses, re-energises and re-balances the body, creating a unique feeling of wellbeing.
What can I expect from a reflexology session?
At your first visit, we get to chat and I do a brief consultation, you will be asked questions about your health and lifestyle.
I will explain what reflexology is, its benefits and possible reactions you may experience.
You will then remove your footwear and be invited to place them in a warm foot bath, thereafter you get to relax in a reflexology chair or on a massage table.
Reflexology sessions generally involve a combination of foot relaxation exercises and the application of pressure using thumb and finger techniques to stimulate or sedate the body’s reflexes and promote balance with the body.
Sessions usually last an hour.
What are the benefits of Reflexology?
The benefits are endless, here are a few to mention.
- Enhance general well being
- Reduce Stress
- Encourage relaxation
- Improve circulation
- Clear the body of impurities
- Address digestive imbalances
- Revitalize energy
- Nurture emotional well-being
Who does Reflexology help?
Just about everyone, from tiny babies to the very elderly, can benefit from reflexology.
It is important to understand that reflexology is not just for helping sick people become well; it is all about maintaining health and keeping the body in the best possible condition.
Reflexology aids in detoxifying the body and therefore supports the protection of the immune system, indeed if people used reflexology when minor symptoms presented themselves then many serious conditions would never develop.
The feet are contact areas to the entire body and can bring about great changes in relieving pain, improving nerve and bloody supply and restoring the body’s equilibrium.
What clients say...
Very relaxing. Loved it.