History Of Reflexology


Therapeutic foot massage has been around for centuries in the ancient civilizations of China, Africa, India, Egypt and the natives of America but this form of treatment was overlooked for centuries by the West where science-based medicine prevailed. At the beginning of the 20th century an American, Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon, discovered that pressure on the feet or hands produced pain relief in distant parts of the body and he could perform an ENT operation without giving the patient any anaesthetic or painkillers.

He developed a system called 'zone therapy' where the body is divided into 10 equal parts which run vertically down the body, with 5 zones on each side going from toes to head to fingertips or visa versa. Fitzgerald believed each path has a flow of energy that is linked to the other areas in the same path and the energy in the whole zone is stimulated by the pressure and theorised that his technique was not only an anaesthetic, but it also treated the cause of the pain and in 1917 published his first book on the subject.

 In the 1930s Eunice Ingham along with Elizabeth Riley carried the idea further by mapping the entire body onto the feet maintaining that all parts of the body could be treated individually by applying pressure on a specific reflex point on the foot and hand and modern Reflexology was born.