The History of Reflexology

The History of Reflexology

The history of reflexology. Many different cultures and places independent of each other throughout history have had different forms of working on the feet to affect health including India, China, Far East, Egypt and Europe.

Perhaps it even came about after our primitive ancestors ran and walked in bare feet over uneven ground resulting in tender areas on their feet and they instantly rubbed them.

The History of Reflexology

The origins of reflexology are believed to date back at least 5,000 years ago.

A German physiologist, Johann Unzer was the first to use the word ‘reflex’ in 1771.

In the 1890s Europe saw an explosion of medical and scientific discoveries especially in the neurological field, two notable researchers in the UK were Sir Henry Head and Sir Charles Sherrington.

Meanwhile similar research was being carried out in Germany, where massage techniques were becoming popular they used the term ‘reflex’ massage.

In 1902 Dr Alfons Cornelius produced a paper showing the effectiveness of certain sensitive spots on the body, he discovered that this caused other changes to occur, including changes in blood pressure, temperature and the patient’s mental state.

Dr William Fitzgerald upon his return to America working as an ear, nose and throat specialist in the early 1900s was intrigued by the fact that at times he was able to carry out minor operations without the patient feeling much pain. This led him to mapping out the zones on the body. The theory being that parts of the body found with a certain zone will be linked with another by the energy flow within the zone.

During the 1930’s Eunice Ingham further developed reflexology by finding that the feet and hands were especially sensitive and mapped out the entire body into ‘reflexes’ on the feet. She taught her methods travelling through America for over 30 years and wrote 2 books “Stories the Feet can Tell” and “Stories the Feet have Told”.

In the 1960’s after studying with Eunice Ingham, the late Doreen Bayly brought reflexology to the UK where she founded the Bayly School of Reflexology.

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