Is reflexology a modern day fad?

Is reflexology a modern day fad?

In short, no it is not.  No one knows when reflexology was first used as it is such an ancient practice, however we do know that it has been practiced in some form around the world for at least 4,000 years! In fact this artwork was discovered in the tomb of a noted physician named Ankmahor in Saqqara, Egypt.

Many believe that the header image (dated around 2,500- 2,330 BC) depicts the giving of foot and hand reflexology.  The hieroglyphics read ‘Patient:Don’t hurt me’.  To which the practitioner replies, ‘I will work so that you praise me.’

Evidence also suggests that reflexology was also given in Ancient China, Japan and India; the difference being in the use of short sticks and knuckles to apply the pressure- ouch!  Pressure being applied to the feet as a form of healing therapy was also used by the Native American Indians.

More recently-and by recent we’re talking the 19th Century- it was discovered that nerves control body functions and that of the brain and spinal cord, and reflex pathways control all the activities around the body- basically speaking, nerves were able to transmit signals around the body.

With this in mind, in the 1800’s, Dr. Fitzgerald evolved the theory of ‘Zone therapy’ in which he believed the human body is divided longitudinally into five zones on the left and five zones on the right running form head to toe.  He found that he could relieve pain in one part of the patient’s body by applying pressure somewhere else within the same zone.

When a physiotherapist by the name of Eunice Ingham heard about this therapy it changed her life (and  the life of thousands who benefit from modern day reflexology as we know it today!)  She had seen one of the doctors applying the principle of zone therapy working on patients hands.  If pressing on hands can influence internal organs, she thought, then pressing on soles should also produce similar effects, especially being that the feet were highly sensitive. Driven with this idea, she began probing the feet of all persons she came across, finding a tender spot and correlating it with the diseased internal organ. Such careful study enabled her to map the entire human body on the soles of the two feet. As we know, Dr. Fitzgerald divided each foot into five longitudinal zones; Eunice Ingham further subdivided it (with the help of three lines into four transverse zones).

Many regard Ingham as the mother of reflexology.  In fact, it is this mapping system that I have trained in and use in my reflexology today!

So, be rest assured that this isn’t just a fad- its roots are based on many ancient civilisations and more recent modern studies- and who are we to argue with that?

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