History of Reflexology
With origins traced back to ancient India, China, and Egypt, reflexology has been around for thousands of years. Egyptian origins of reflexology can be seen in the archeological pictograph from the entrance to the tomb of the physician Ankhmahor, dating from 2330 BC. Marco Polo is credited with introducing Chinese massage techniques to the West. The two streams of reflexology, one from the East and one from the West (Egypt) converged in Europe around the Dark Ages.
The concept of reflexology as a modern medical therapy began to emerge in the 19th century, based on research into the nervous system. Research done in the 1890s by Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington demonstrated how reflexology works with the central nervous system. Through their research, a neurological relationship was shown to exist between the skin and the internal organs; they demonstrated that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus.
In the early 20th century, the American doctor William Fitzgerald discovered zone therapy, which divided the body into ten longitudinal zones all ending at the hands and feet. In the 1930's, Eunice Ingham wrote the ground-breaking book, Stories the Feet Can Tell, which examined the reflex response when specific pressure was applied to the feet. A chiropractic therapist, she found that alternating pressure, rather than having a numbing effect, stimulated healing. Ingham is credited with further developing the ideas of zone therapy and reflexology.
“Where there is love for mankind, there is the love for the art of healing.” — Hippocrates