Reflexology treatment is a holistic therapy that works on the whole body rather than
the condition or disease. It works on the principle that there are reflexes in both the
hands and feet that are associated or connected to all the various systems, organs and glands
in the body. The body is made up of 10 zones and the skillful application of therapy to
a single zone will influence all parts of the body within that zone. Reflexology originates from
the ancient Egyptians and works on the same principle as acupuncture, although using the hands
as tools and not needles. As well as being an effective therapy for many disorders, reflexology
is an immensely relaxing experience. Reflexology as a gentle treatment that can be used to
treat many common conditions such as: sciatica, sinusitis, arthritis, insomnia, head aches,
odema, tinnitus, shingles, p.m.s., vertigo, muscular & sports injuries, migraine.
2330 BC—The first findings of reflexology date back to 2330 BC,
over 5,000 years ago. A wall painting was found in the tomb of Ankhmahor (the
highest official after the king) at Saqqara near Cairo. One man had his hands on
the other man's foot. And the translation read: “Don't hurt me!”. The
Egyptian physician replied, “I shall so you will praise me”.
60 BC—Cleopatra is said to have worked on Mark Anthony's feet in 60 BC.
Date Unknown—The Incas passed down to the American Indians the use of pressure therapy on the feet. It was taught that it healed the whole body, and it has been passed down through the generations.
Date Unknown—Ancient Chinese used pressure points on the feet for healing the whole body.
700 AD—Buddha's up-turned foot as a stone carving, with Sanskrit symbols on the sole is found at the Medicine Teacher Temple in Nara, Japan in 700 AD.
1300 AD—It is said that in 1300, Marco Polo introduced reflex-massage to the west.
1582 AD—The first book on Zone therapy was published by two European physicians, Dr. Adamus and Dr. A'tatis in 1582. The second book on Zone Therapy was published by Dr. Bell in the 19th Century.
1870—In 1870, Russian physician Dr. Ivan Pavlou, founder of the Russian Brain Institute, used Zone therapy.
1890—In 1890, a physician from Germany named Dr. Alfons Cornelius, discovered by trying reflex-massage on certain spots to cure his own disease, that the healing process intensified. He took notes, and in 1898 he published a book called “Druckpunkte”, which means “Pressure Points”.
1913—In 1913, Zone therapy was brought into America by Dr. William Fitzgerald, a ear, nose, throat surgeon from Connecticut. He used Zone therapy to deaden the pain, and to replace drugs in minor operations. He also used it to relieve the underlying causes. He treated lumps in the breast, uterine fibroids, respiratory problems, and eye conditions. Dr. Fitzgerald was responsible for designing a chart on the longitudinal zones of the body.
1917—Dr. Bowers a dentist encouraged and helped Dr. Fitzgerald to write his first book called “Relieving Pain at Home”, published in 1917. Dr. Bowers had published a book in the early 1900's called, “Stop that Toothache, Squeeze your Toe”. But the medical world did not accept it then.
1919—In 1919, Dr. Joe Riley a D.C. discovered horizontal Zones on the feet and body. He worked with facial and ear points and published a book called “Zone Therapy Simplified”. He detailed the first diagrams of the reflex points found on the feet.
1930—In the 1930's, Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist and a student of Dr. Joe Riley, continued to chart the feet and developed it into Reflexology. In 1938, she published “Stories the Feet Can Tell” and in 1951 she published “Stories the Feet Have Told”. After publishing the books she toured America giving workshops.
1952—In 1952 Dr. George Starr White, M.D. traveled the U.S. lecturing doctors the principles of Zone therapy. Dr. White states “Zone therapy must be classed with the best and most original procedure in medicine today”. Dr. Fitzgerald is to be congratulated upon giving to mankind a valuable adjunct in therapy. “The system is simplicity itself, yet the technique must be carried out in an exact manner. It cannot be done in a haphazard way”.
1950—In the late 1950's Eunice's niece (Eusebia Messenger, R.N.) and nephew (Dwight Byers) joined her in helping out with the workshops. It grew and they started a school called “National Institute of Reflexology”. Since her death in 1974, at the age of 85, Dwight and Eusebia have picked up where Eunice left off. Dwight Byers renamed the St. Petersburg, Florida school, to “International Institute of Reflexology”. Dwight published his book called “Better Health with Reflexology”, and he started schools all across the world. If it was not for Dwight, the field of Reflexology would not have gained the acceptance that it has in the past years.
Run The Planetthanks for the permission to republish the introduction and the illustration on reflexology; and the for the permission to reprint the time line article "The History of Reflexology" by Susan Watson.