History of Reflexology
The origins of Reflexology evidently reach back to ancient Egypt as evidenced by inscriptions found in the physician’s tomb at Saqqara in Egypt. The translation of the hieroglyphics are as follows: "Don’t hurt me." The practitioner’s reply:- " I shall act so you praise me. "
We cannot determine the exact relationship between the ancient art as practiced by the early Egyptians and Reflexology as we know it today. Different forms of working the feet to effect health have been used all over the ancient world. Dr. Riley maintained that this form of healing spread from Egypt via the Roman Empire.
Zone Theory was the precursor to modern Reflexology which began with Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. Dr. Fitzgerald, was an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist working at the Boston City Hospital, as well as at St Francis Hospital in Connecticut.
Eunice D. Ingham, a Physical Therapist, worked closely with Dr. Riley and was fascinated by the concept of Zone Therapy and started developing her foot reflex theory in the early 1930's. She had the opportunity to treat hundreds of patients where each reflex point of contact had been carefully and thoughtfully checked and rechecked until with all confidence she was able to determine that the reflexes on the feet were an exact mirror image of the organs of the body. Dr. Riley encouraged her to write her first book entitled "Stories The Feet Can Tell" where she documented her cases and carefully mapped out the reflexes on the feet as we know them today.
After the publication of her book Eunice Ingham found herself on the program at many health workshops. She traveled around the country giving book reviews. Only sick and dilapidated people attended these book reviews/ workshops where she would teach people by working on them and discuss their particular health problems. As these sick people, whom everyone else had given up on, got better the word spread and Reflexology became better known amongst the medical fraternity as well as lay people.
In the late 50's Dwight Byers started helping Eunice Ingham at her workshops. In 1961 Dwight Byers and his sister Eusebia Messenger, RN joined their Aunt Eunice teaching at workshops on a full time basis. Seven years later they became responsible for the continued teaching of Reflexology under the banner of The National Institute of Reflexology. In the mid 70's Eusebia retired and Dwight Byers formed The International Institute of Reflexology®, where the theories and techniques of Reflexology were further refined.
Eunice Ingham’s undisputable contributions to the world of Reflexology are as follows:
1. The discovery that the reflexes on the feet are a mirror image of all the organs, glands and parts of the body - the charted map of the reflexes according to the anatomical model.
2. The alternating pressure, has a stimulating effect on the body rather than a numbing effect as demonstrated by Dr. Fitzgerald.
3. Bringing Reflexology to the public and the non-medical community, as well as Naturopaths, Chiropodists, Osteopaths, Massage Therapist and Physiotherapists.