The History of Reflexology

There was first evidence of reflexology found on a Physicians tomb stone in ancient Egypt dating back to 2330BC.  The hieroglyphics next to it read ‘Don’t hurt me’ & ‘I shall act so you praise me.’

Akmanthor reflex tomb

The Ancient Chinese were also using a form of reflexology early on in 2500BC when they started using meridian lines to segment the body into zones and once you understand these zones you can treat a condition in that zone from the feet & hands.  Acupuncture and reflexology share similarities they are both based on meridian lines & treating the zones.

However not until the 1890’s in the western world was it published by Sir Henry Head in a neurological report that zones in the skin became hypersensitive to pressure when an organ connected by nerves to this skin was diseased.

Dr William Fitzgerald in the early 1900’s was researching to try and discover a type of pain relief and noticed that using zone therapy, which is similar to the Chinese meridians was a good way of relieving pain & improving organ function.  Dr William Fitzgerald & Dr Edwin Bowers wrote a book about their findings and called it zone therapy and this is what reflexology has been called up to the 1960’s.  Dr Edwin Bowers decided to join Fitzgerald because he was a medical writer & critic & was originally only working with Fitzgerald as a sceptic but was won over.

The medical profession were very divided about zone therapy but in some practices doctors started to work with it.  Dr Riley was working with zone therapy he was taught by Fitzgerald and it was his assistant Eunice Ingham (1879-1974) that really got to grips with the therapy and has made it what it is today.

Eunice Ingham is called the modern mother of reflexology, she has written two books, toured & tirelessly promoted the therapy to get it the recognition it has today.  Ingham developed the foot chart that maps out all the organs on the feet & it is her treatment style & findings that influence & have been passed on & is what all reflexologists today are using.  Ingham’s books are very interesting & are full of amazing examples from all her many finding s in her reflexology treatments.  I would thoroughly recommend reading this one if you are interested:

Stories the Feet Can Tell Thru Reflexology & Stories the Feet Have Told Thru Reflexology by Eunice D. Ingham

The book pictured below of East Asian medicine showing meridians and energy lines was misinterpreted by the West & used as an example of the Easts ignorance to anatomy.

meridians book

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