Origins of reflexology

The ancient art of reflexology originates from the Orient and the Middle East. It dates back almost 5000 years and is still practiced today in the Western world. Although we remain uncertain about the true origin of this powerful therapy, it is sufficient to say that it has stood the test of time and has helped thousands of people to better health. Many people report the benefits and effectiveness of the treatment, which has lead to widespread research into the field of reflexology. During the 16th century a number of books were published on zone therapy (reflexology) but the re-discovery of some form of systemised foot treatment is accredited to Dr. William Fitzgerald who called it Zone Therapy and drew it to the attention of the medical world between 1915 and 1917.

Modern reflexology was developed by medical doctors in America in the early 1900s. The techniques that form the basis for todays practitioners was pioneered and developed by physiotherapist Eunice Ingham (1889 – 1974) who extended the work of Dr Fitzgerald and painstakingly mapped the feet with all the corresponding organs and glands of the body.

Reflexology explained

Art meets science

Reflexology is known as both an art and a science. The science lies in the physiological and neurological responses to the treatment and the art lies in the skill of the practitioner.

Reflexology is the application of pressure to specific areas of the feet, hands and ears based on a system of zones and reflex areas that correspond to organs, glands and areas of the body. This creates a vibration throughout the system, breaking up congested molecules and allowing for more oxygen and blood flow to the cells. It works with the body’s natural electrical energy and nervous system to help balance the physical, mental and emotional aspect of the whole body. The result is an awakening of the body’s natural drive to heal and renew itself!

Our feet have over 7,200 nerve endings, reflexology encourages the opening and clearing of neural pathways.

Although reflexology has recently enjoyed a surge in popularity as a modern holistic therapy to relieve pain and stress, it is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical care. For thousands of years, reflexology was used to treat a number of conditions and today it can work alongside conventional Western medicine to promote healing and improve wellbeing and vitality.

Research shows that in one reflexology session, relaxation takes place as the brain waves move to a state of ease, pulse rate decreases and blood pressure drops. Blood circulation increases to the feet, brain, kidneys and intestines, and reported pain is reduced.

According to the authors of the Evidence-Based Reflexology series, Barbara and Kevin Kunz, reflexology is 93% effective as found in a year-long analysis of 168 studies from 23 countries.