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A brief history of reflexology.

“Reflexology is an ancient healing art dating back to the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs.” 

Since then, there have been varied pictures, charts, and written documentation of reflexology-type practices all over the world; traveling most likely from Egypt to Greece, Arabia, and then on to Europe through the Roman Empire. Reflexology can also be traced back to Africa, China, India, Japan, and Russia.

Modern reflexology in the United States began with an American physician who used “Zone Therapy” to anesthetize his patients during minor surgery. The theory behind Zone Therapy is that there are 10 energetic zones in the body that run from the head to the toes and the head to the fingers and that anything that happens in one part of the zone can effect the rest of the zone. Dr. Fitzgerald observed that if he maintained constant pressure on a zone at the toe or finger, it would anesthetize that zone.

In the 1930's, another physician, Dr Joe Riley, trained by Dr. Fitzgerald had a physiotherapist on his staff named Eunice Ingham. Eunice discovered while working on Dr. Riley's patients that an on and off pressure, rather that a strong steady pressure, would be therapeutic instead of anesthetizing.

She set about breaking down the zones even further to specific parts of the body and created a chart of reflexes—one of the many we use today. Eunice Ingham is regarded as the Mother of Modern Reflexology.


Today there are reflexologists all over the world practicing and teaching. Every day, word of mouth announces its effectiveness as well as its pleasure! There are countless books, videos, schools and websites with information on reflexology, but here are a few of the main links I recommend for further study:

Reflexology Association of America

American Reflexology Cert. Board 

International Council of Reflexologists

International Institute of Reflexology

American Academy of Reflexology

Reflexology Research

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