The His-toe-ry of Reflexology

Reflexology has it’s origins traced to ancient Egypt, India, China and Japan.A pictograph was discovered around 2330 B.C. in the tomb of an Egyptian physician- Ankmahor, in Saqqara, Egypt. It depicted four men in what seemed to be a reflexology session in progress. The hands and feet of two men were being worked upon by the other two figures. The Egyptians believed that the human body was a symphony of energetic vibration and that the internal organs made up the orchestra. They maintained that these organs could be “tuned” or “played” by manipulating points on the feet–restoring health. They even went so far as to say that a persons’ soul was actually contained within the feet!

In China, during the 4th century B.C. a physician by the name of Wang Way, who practiced acupuncture also apply reflexology to the hands and feet of his patients during a treatment. He believe that this “added” application of pressure- tremendously enhanced the effects of acupuncture.

In the beginning of the 20th century, an earlier form of reflexology (zone therapy) was introduced to the United States by Dr. William Fitzgerald– an ear, nose and throat specialize. He discovered that the body was divided into 10 vertical zones (running from finger to toe). He would perform surgeries by applying pressure (using wooden clothespins!?!?!) to the tips of each finger on the patient. In doing so, this would cause an anesthetic effect enabling him to work without the use of a chloroform mask (which had major side-effects). He believed, that when the nerves of the hands and feet were clearly understood…there would be a tremendous breakthrough in the field of healing.

During this same time- Dr. Joseph Shelby Riley, an ardent practitioner of zone therapy, was further developing Dr. Fitzgerald’s techniques.

Eunice Ingham, a physical therapist who worked for Dr. Riley began taking zone therapy to another level. Her main focus was on the feet. She believed that the feet, being more sensitive, could produce greater results. She discovered that when there was a problem with the physical body- she could match up a painful spot on the foot (foot mapping). After sometime, she began to see that not only did this therapy work to reduce pain….but it also stimulated the body’s ability to heal naturally.

She was responsible for developing the original Ingham Foot Chart & Method of Reflexology. She also developed the International Institute of Reflexology- located in St Petersburg, Florida. She was a pioneer for this ancient art– creating a path for even further discovery.

Since that time, many different methods have developed- all of which should be honored and respected.

All of which evolved from….. His -toe- ry!