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History of Reflexology - A Brief Outline



A book called the Yellow Emperor's Standard of Internal Medication, a Chinese classic was created in 1,000BC and has a chapter on ''Investigating Foot Techniques'', it is also the start of discussions in print about the connection of life force energy and points on the foot. It is thought that Marco Polo translated a Chinese massage book into Italian in the 1300s, introducing reflexology and massage to Europe. In 1582, a book called Zone Treatment (which is a component of reflexology) was first published in Europe by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A'tatis. In 1917, in the United States, a man called William H. Fitzgerald, MD, wrote about ten vertical zones that extend the length of the body. He found that applying pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of an injury, could help relieve pain during minor surgeries. Dr. Fitzgerald's work was continued and expanded by doctor Shelby Riley, who later developed a map of horizontal zones going across the body and also a detailed map of reflex points on the feet and hands. He also suggested pressure points on the outer ear. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who worked for Dr. Riley, found in her research with zone therapy's pressure points, that feet are the most sensitive and responsive compared to hands and ears. She developed the foot maps and reflexology charts still used today and introduced reflexology practices to the non-medical community in the 1930s.

Eunice Ingham is still known as the pioneer of modern reflexology and is the author of 2 well known books called “Stories the Feet Can Tell” and “Stories the Feet Have Told’’ In addition to her writing and lecturing, she, along with her nephew, Dwight Byers, founded the International Institute so that her work could be continued. Throughout her forty years of experience treating thousands of people, Eunice Ingham devised a system of techniques known as the “Original Ingham Method” and this method has been refined even further through research by Dwight Byers and staff at the Institute. Eunice Ingham died in 1974, having devoted forty years of her life to reflexology.

Reflexology can benefit people of all ages and depending on the length of time a condition has been present, It can help improve or eliminate many ailments through a course of weekly treatments.

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