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A Brief History of Reflexology

History of ReflexologyModern Reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy. It dates back to the Egyptian times and can be seen on ancient hieroglyphics.

There were many studies, investigations and articles written in the early 1900’s regarding the relationship between pressure points, massage and relieving pain. These were carried out by various people including Sir Henry Head, an English neurologist, Alfons Corneluis and Sir Charles Sherrington and Edgar Adrian who both shared the Nobel prize in 1932.

Dr William Fitzgerald, an ENT specialist, re-discovered that ‘constant direct pressure upon any part of a particular zone can have an anaesthetising effect on another part of the same zone’. He mapped out zone areas on the feet and called his findings ‘Zone Therapy’ – the name by which reflexology was known until the early 1960’s.

Dr Joe Shelby Riley refined the work of zone therapy and practiced it on many of his patients. He made diagrams of reflex points on the feet and also worked with reflex points on the ears, face and hands, developing four horizontal zones. Dr Riley employed a young physiotherapist named Eunice Ingham who is now known as ‘the mother of reflexology’. She took Reflexology to the general public and trained them to practise the therapy for themselves. Dwight Byers is the nephew of Eunice Ingham and was taught reflexology by her. Allison Walker, who I studied under, was taught by Dwight Byers himself and although he is now officially retired still teaches the ‘Original Ingham Method’ aided by his nephew.