- ORIGINS OF REFLEXOLOGY -
Had it not been for the enquiring medical minds in the late 19th and 20th centuries, the modern understanding of foot reflexology might never have been.
Dr William Fitzgerald USA 1872-1942 was an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon. He practiced in the USA, briefly in London and Vienna for 2 years. He was the founder of “Zone Therapy”, an early form of reflexology.
Through his research he discovered that if he exerted pressure on the tips of the toes or fingers, a corresponding part of the body would be anaesthetised.
From this theory he divided the body into 10 equal zones running from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. He found that by applying pressure using tight bands of elastic on the middle section of each finger, or by using small clamps that were placed on the tips, he could carry out minor surgery using this technique only. These were very controversial ideas at the time.
The next important person that played a major role in developing Reflexology was EUNICE INGHAM (1889 -1974) USA “The Mother of Modern Reflexology”
She was a Physiotherapist who worked in a Doctors practice and used Dr Fitzgerald’s Zone Therapy method. Eunice felt that the therapy could be more effective on the feet than the hands.
After extensive research she evolved a map of the entire body on the feet. Hence the saying ‘The feet are a mirror of the body’
In true pioneer style, Eunice Ingham travelled around America for 30 years teaching Reflexology first to Doctors and Nurses and then to non-medical practitioners.
She developed charts and theories called the INGHAM METHOD that form the basis of modern Western reflexology today. Her work is carried on by The International Institute of Reflexology.
A Therapy that found its feet in Egypt.
Reflexology is a complimentary medicine dating back to 5000BC practiced in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, India and China, this therapy however was only introduced to the west in the early 20th Century.
The oldest documentation of Reflexology comes from a pictograph in the tomb of an Egyptian Physician Ankhmahor (2500-2330 B.C.) at Saqquara near Cairo.
In China there is evidence of some form of foot and hand therapy being practiced as long ago as 4,000 B.C., and the North American Indians have practised a form of foot therapy for hundreds of years.