Reflexology is a modern western treatment, which is based on the existence of a system of longitudinal and transverse zones or channels of the body. Reflexology therapists access physical energy through the zones and thus trigger the body to eliminate any blockage that might cause imbalances.
Even if the method of reflexology, as well as the term itself is modern, similar forms of therapeutic massage for the feet have been displayed in various parts of the world, for centuries.
The first therapeutic applications and observations gradually began everywhere people existed, and the first laws governing the therapeutic progress showed up. Therefore, the relevant, therapeutic practices were carried out at parallel times, in different parts of the world.
The Chinese have applied various treatments with pressure for, at least, 5000 years, and it is likely that they showed several similarities with modern reflexology.
Around 3000 BC, inEgypt, Arabia andIndia, there’s documents from graves, on murals, depicting massaging, specifically with feet.
Around 2000 BC, Huang Di Nei, emperor ofChina, writes about reflexology in his book.
Similar healing methods are known to have been practiced inIndiaandJapan. In addition to that, certain Native American tribes inNorth America- the Cherokee in particular - used a variant of the treatment, through the reflexes of the legs. They still implement it, to this day, as part of therapeutic rituals.
Now inEurope, from 400 to 1400 AD - during the dark ages - data were destroyed and hidden, regarding all specialties. We do know, however, that pirates wore earrings in the sensitive parts of the ear, in order to be vigilant. Also, the rings they used to wear were designed to stimulate finger reflexes.
The first book regarding the therapy of the body zones was published in 532 AD, by two famous European doctors of the time, Dr. Adamus and Dr. A'tatis. It is known that at the time, lots of people inCentral Europe, from the poorest to the richest – even kings- all used some sort of mesotherapy.
Reflexology in its modern version was developed from the work of Dr. W. Fitzgerald on zone therapy. Dr. Fitzgerald found that pressing on certain points of the body would take away the pain that appeared at another point. That way, he could operate without anaesthetics. He, thus, split the body in 5 zones - left and right - which run through the entire body (from the head to the surface of foot). The zones overlap on the neck. With all 10 areas that he discovered, he gave us the key to find the various reflective points on the feet.
Dr. Lindberg, an American osteopath, found a direct correlation between the "heel" of the foot and the joint, the adjacent bones and the fifth lumbar vertebra.
Dr. Dale did very interesting work on the tools of acupuncture, which he programmed with a computer to measure and take note of the basic zones of the body. His work would scientifically establish the direct relationship between the reflective points on feet and the acupuncture points.
Reflexology was, however, used more widely for the first time by an American woman, Eunice Ingham, during the ' 30s. She invented the "Method of Pressure Massage Ingham", further introduced inBritainin 1960, by her student Ravioli Bayly. Bayly spread the method in other European countries as well. Ingham changed the name of zone therapy to reflexology and mapped out the first zones of feet reflexes.
According to Ingham, nature will do its job with the help of maintenance of a normal circulatory system. It is well known that good circulation means life, whereas stagnation means death.
It is therefore important to learn a very simple way to enhance the circulation system, in order to alleviate clogging, at the various points of feet reflexes.
There are other parts of the body other than the feet, gathering all the reflective points, like the hand, the internal and external side of the palm, the ear, the nose, the tongue and others.
Feet, however, are the most effective, because they are the only part of the man, in direct contact with the energy of the earth. Moreover, it is the easiest part of the body to work with, and because of the constant and high pressure of gravity on them and the continuous friction, lots of acids accumulate there. Acids that the body is unable to get rid of and that are damaging to human health.
Today, throughout the world, several thousand therapists train and practice reflexology. Research on the ways of reflexology and the areas it can be used on, keep growing and giving encouraging results.
Millions of people put their trust in reflexology, for the preservation and improvement of their physical condition, and in several cases it’s even been incorporated into the public healthcare systems.