What is reflexology?
is a complementary therapy that involves the application
of pressure to the feet (and sometimes hands)
in order to bring about a state of deep relaxation,
stimulate the body's own healing power and restore
a state of well-being and health.
does it work?
Reflexology is based on the principle that there
are points and areas on the feet and hands that
correspond to all the body's major organs, glands
In a state of health, energy flows freely through
channels in the body. However, stress from emotional
issues, the environment, diet and lifestyle can
result in congestion or blockages that may lead
to discomfort or physical symptoms.
An important part of the treatment is to identify
these blockages, which can be felt as deposits
within the tissue. Gently loosening these as well
as stimulating all the points and areas that correspond
to the whole body helps to balance energy flow
and stimulate healing. In this way, reflexology
is a holistic therapy, treating the whole person
and not just the symptoms.
are its origins?
Historical evidence in the form of ancient texts,
illustrations and artifacts show that foot and
hand treatments have been used in many cultures,
including China, India and Egypt, for thousands
of years. For example, an Egyptian tomb drawing
dating back to 2,330 BC shows a person being treated
with hand massage and another with foot massage.
Reflexology in its current form had its beginnings
in the early 20th century when Dr. William Fitzgerald,
an American ear, nose and throat specialist noticed
that applying pressure to one part of the body
anaesthetized a corresponding area in a distant
part. He put together his findings to develop
In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a physical therapist,
took this work further. She realized that the
feet were the most responsive areas for working
on reflexes because of their great sensitivity.
She mapped the whole body on the feet and dedicated
many years to sharing her knowledge with other
therapists. In 1960 Doreen Bayly, one of her students,
introduced reflexology to England and its popularity
has grown since.