History of Reflexology

The history of reflexology dates back millennium to ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphics of physicians applying pressure with their hands to the soles and palms of patients were found etched in ancient tomb walls (dated 2500-3000 BC); in India feet have been thought to symbolize the unity of the universe for over 5,000 years.

Reflexology in the modern world was initially introduced as “Zone Therapy” in the early 1900s by Dr. William Fitzgerald, who spoke of the mind-body connection and who was the first to chart the zones where applied pressure corresponded to improvements in areas of ailment. Zone Therapy was further developed in the 1930s into what we now call reflexology through the work of physiotherapist Eunice Ingham.

Reflexology Foot Charts

Reflexologists use foot charts to guide them in where to apply pressure to affect various body parts. Some of the corresponding pairings include:

  • Tips of the toes – Head
  • Ball of the foot – Heart and Chest
  • Arch of the foot – Liver, Pancreas and Kidney
  • Heel – Low back and Intestines

Reflexology Session

Viewing the feet as a mirror of the human body, reflexologists use a special type of skilled foot massage to stimulate nerve endings. This in turn sends signals to the central nervous system which are processed and filtered to the corresponding body part or organ being worked on.

In particular, reflexologists are trained to feel and manipulate feet with their fingers and thumb, applying gentle but firm pressure to release tensions and clear energy blockages they sense in the reflex arc. Clients generally describe reflexology as a pleasant experience which results in an energy boost and a profound sense of relaxation. However, tender areas may be located.

Refloxologists also use wooden sticks, rubber balls, and rubber bands to assist them in their work.

Conditions Treated by Reflexology

Conditions currently treated or helped by reflexology include:

  • Stress
  • Muscle Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Post-operative pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Digestive disorders
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Cancer and Chemotherapy-induced nausea

Reflexology Benefits

Reports from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Mayo Clinic, and the National Cancer Institute cite the following benefits of reflexology:

  • Releases tension
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Calms emotions
  • Alleviates depression and anxiety
  • Brings serenity to the mind
  • Reduces Pain
  • Enhances sleep
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Elevates mood
  • Restores balance and harmony

Finding a Certified Reflexology Practitioner

To find a nationally certified reflexologist and for more information on reflexology, visit the following websites:

  • Reflexology Association of America
  • American Reflexology Certification Board
  • Professional Reflexology Associations