Reflexology – a historical background

Reflexology is a complementary therapy based on the belief that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands (and ears) which are believed to relate to all organs and parts of the body. By stimulating these reflexes it is believed that the body then responds by identifying imbalances and malfunctions within the body’s systems, rebalances and begins to heal. Specific points are manipulated to target specific areas and conditions and treat diseases and dysfunction.

Although there is no absolute scientific evidence for meridians and pathways, reflexology has been used for thousands of years and in modern times has been shown to be effective for many clients. It is now widely known and used in the west as well as east.

It is thought that the practice originated in China & Egypt about 4000 years ago; Native American Indians also practised. Modern practice was developed in the USA in 1913 by Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, then refined by Ingham in the1930s/40s. Ingham claimed that feet and hands were most sensitive, and charted the body into “reflexes” on the feet, renaming zone therapy as reflexology. Modern techniques have been further developed by the reflexologist Laura Norman.