Where did reflexology originate?

Reflexology originated at about the same time that Acupuncture was enjoying a period of prosperity in China. As in the case of Acupuncture, Reflexology is a plant that has sprung up from the breeding ground of Taoism and Buddhism. (Read the article on Acupuncture). It is thus not surprising to find the elements of these Eastern Religions evident in Reflexology.

Reflexology was totally foreign to the West until an American ear, nose and throat specialist, a Dr William H. Fritgerald, introduced this 3000 year old practice to the West at the beginning of this century. He put this philosophy to the test and discovered that by applying pressure on one part of the body a corresponding part would be numbed or anaesthetised. Following the example of the Easterners. he took the first step towards dividing the body into ten reflex zones. After him others like Dr Edwin Bowers and J.S. Riley expanded on this principle.

It was however a masseur Eunice Ingham who since 1930 refined the “zone therapy” to what today is known as Reflexol ogy (also known as the Ingham technique). She chartered the sole of the feet in order to indicate in detail, which part of the sole corresponded to which part of the body. Each of the ten toes is the terminal (end) of one of ten different zones which are situated lengthwise down the body. The application of pressure on any part of a zone influences that whole zone. Famous names such as Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher are coupled to this form of holistic treatment.