Reflexology is a therapy in which the reflexologist uses their thumbs and fingers to apply pressure to your feet and/or hands. The feet can be thought of as mirroring the body. All organs, systems and glands of the body can be mapped onto areas of the feet called reflex points. A reflexologist knows how to stimulate the reflex points in order to bring about a response in the corresponding part of your body.
Reflexology works along holistic principles treating your mind, body and spirit rather than a diagnosis or set of symptoms. For instance, if you are suffering from stress, your body is affected as well as your mind. Similarly, a physical illness can be emotionally draining. Reflexology rebalances the whole of your being and so can be more effective than working directly on one part of you.
Ancient history indicates that reflexology was originally practised in Egypt, India and China. An Egyptian wall painting, thought to show men practising reflexology on feet, dates back to around 2330BC. In China, treatment involved using reflexology and acupuncture. Reflexology was used to find energy imbalances and then needles were applied on specific points of the body. In the late 19th century, the first scientific basis for reflexology was discovered in London by Sir Henry Head who was carrying out neurological studies. He discovered areas on the skin that linked with parts of the spine and internal organs.
Eunice Ingham, an American physiotherapist, was the founder of reflexology as we know it today. She discovered that she was able to stimulate and heal other parts of the body by using pressure techniques across the soles of the feet. She made a detailed chart of the reflexes on the feet. In 1938 she wrote, ‘Stores the Feet Can Tell’ and in 1963 she wrote ‘Stories the Feet Have Told’.