What is Reflexology

Dwight  Byers of the International Institute of Reflexology, one of the foremost experts today on reflexology, defines reflexology as follows: "Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands that correspond to all the glands, organs and parts of the body. Reflexology is a unique method of using the thumbs and fingers on those  reflex areas.

Reflexology  includes but is not limited to:

  • relief of stress and tension
  • improve blood supply and promote the unblocking of nerve impulses
  • helps nature achieve homeostasis "

A reflexology session involves pressure treatment that is most commonly administered in foot therapy sessions of approximately 40-50 minutes in duration. The hands are the main tools used in reflexology, but sometimes other tools are used, especially those made from semiprecious stones with their own therapeutic qualities.  There are more than 7,200 nerve endings in the feet which can be affected by the pressure applied during a session.

Reflexology is extremely safe and the ultimate purpose of the therapy is to promote wellness.This is a completely natural therapy that may afford relief without the use of drugs.

Reflexology therapy is not massage, and it is not a substitute for medical treatment. Reflexology does not constitute medical treatment in any form, nor is reflexology given as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. 

A little history:  Reflexology is a healing art of ancient origin. Although its origins are not well documented, there are reliefs on the walls of a Sixth Dynasty Egyptian tomb (c. 2450 B.C.) that depict two seated men receiving massage on their hands and feet. From Egypt, the practice may have entered the Western world during the conquests of the Roman Empire. The concepts of reflexology have also been traced to  China (possibly as early as 3000 B.C.) and to ancient Indian medicine. The Inca civilization may have subscribed to the theories of reflexology and passed on the practice of this treatment to the Native Americans in the territories that eventually entered the United States.

In recent times, Sir Henry Head first investigated the concepts underlying reflexology in England in the 1890s. Therapists in Germany and Russia were researching similar notions at approximately the same time, although with a different focus. Less than two decades later, a physician named William H. Fitzgerald presented a similar concept that he called zone analgesia or zone therapy.

Later, in the 1930s, a physical therapist, Eunice D. Ingham, explored the direction of the therapy and made the startling discovery that pressure points on the human foot were situated in a mirror image of the corresponding organs of the body with which the respective pressure points were associated. Ingham documented her findings, which formed the basis of reflexology, in Stories the Feet Can Tell, published in 1938. 

In 1968 two siblings, Dwight Byers and Eusebia Messenger, (the niece and nephew of Eunice D Ingham) the National Institute of Reflexology. By the early 1970s the institute had grown and was renamed the International Institute of Reflexology.In a typical reflexology treatment, the therapist and patient have a preliminary discussion prior to therapy, to enable the therapist to focus more accurately on the patient's specific complaints and to determine the appropriate pressure points for treatment.