Reflexology and the Origins
Reflexology is a non-invasive, safe, effective and ancient method of healing that works by having pressure applied to specific reflex points on the feet and hands, corresponding to relevant areas in the body.
This touch therapy is used with a holistic approach, the term "holistic" being derived from the Greek word "holos" meaning "whole". From this we take into account a person's whole physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being. This is important, as to understand someone, we need to build a picture of the type of person they are by noting the family background, social environment, lifestyle and how they deal with life in general. Taking all these factors into account, we can consider what effects their surroundings and life stresses may be having on them.
Here, reflexology is said to date back as early at 2330 BC, where a pictograph was discovered. This was found in the tomb of an Egyptian physician named Ankmahor, at Saquarra, showing two men holding the feet of two other men and applying massage. There is an inscription above that that reads "I shall act so that you praise me". This is considered evidence that therapeutic massage was long ago considered a useful tool in healing.
Thousands of years ago, the Chinese were also known to have practised reflexology alongside acupuncture. To date in China, it is used as a means of prevention, cure and preserving general health.
Dr William Fitzgerald began developing reflexology somewhere around 1913, where he began by using a form of treatment he termed "zone therapy". This is worked through by dividing the body into ten longitudinal zones, 1-5 Zones on each side of the body, from head to toe. Everything on the right half of the body corresponds to the reflex points on the right foot and everything on the left half of the body corresponds to the reflex points on the left foot.
Several American doctors developed this work further, one of who was Dr J Riley and he introduced the term "hook work" where the hands are hooked over a part of the body to manipulate that area.
In the 1930's, Eunice D. Ingham, an American physiotherapist, developed reflexology in its modern form as we know it today and was considered a pioneer. She was heavily influenced by the teachings of zone therapy and went on to chart the feet as a map of the entire body.
Doreen Bayly, a student of Eunice D. Ingham, brought reflexology here in the 1960's where she promoted it and set the ball rolling for its continual use. She officially set up the first reflexology training school here in 1978, since when over 3000 students have qualified to go on and practice the subject.