Have you ever wondered where has Reflexology come from? It has been around for longer than you think! It is indeed a very old art of pressure healing therapy.
First documents and traces related to Reflexology were found in Egypt! Egyptian artists recorded their daily life and activities on daily bases and that included the healing practises as well. (This is one of the reasons why journalling is so important!) There are numerous Papyrus scenes that depict medical practitioners addressing hands and feet of the people they were treating. The particular papyrus included here was found by Ed and Ellen Case of Los Angeles in 1979. The depicted scene was recorded in approximately 2500BC! The papyrus was found in the tomb of Ankhamahor, who was a highly regarded physician of that time.
Another trace can be found amongst several groups of North American Indigenous People. They used pressure to the feet as a form of healing long before colonization. Jenny Wallace, one of Cherokee Nation foot therapists, said that her father’s people, the Bear Clan, believed that feet were very important in the overall health practices. “Your feet walk upon the Earth and through this your Spirit is connected to the Universe. Our feet are our contact with the Earth and the energies that flow through it.”
This quote is very close to my heart and it is my belief!
In Europe, Reflexology's first appearance was found in the late 14th century, in a form of Zone Therapy. The body was energetically divided into zones and mapped onto the feet. The archaic definition of “reflex” is “a reflected source of light”, which means that where there is a beginning (stimulus) there must be a receiving end (the particular organ joined by the meridian). Therefore the map of our body on the feet corresponds to our entire body. For every action, there is a reaction.
Reflexology was rediscovered at the end of 19th century. In 1917, Dr. William Fitzgerald wrote a book titled “Zone Therapy or Relieving Pain in the Home”. He based a lot of his research on North American Indigenous People’s knowledge. His work and research has brought about the progress and development of Reflexology. There were many medical practitioners following his and history footsteps, amongst them Eunice Ingham, who in 1938 published a book “Stories the Feet Can Tell”. Show rote two more after that, in 1951 “Stories the Feet Have Told” and in 1960s “Stories the Feet Are Telling”. Mildred Carter was another famous woman in the Reflexology world. She wrote “Helping Yourself with Foot Reflexology” in 1969 which sold over 500,000 copies and brought greater recognition to this art.
Professor Donald Bisson is the current Dean of Ontario Collage of Reflexology and his dedication to expanding and educating people around the world about Reflexology is admirable.
It is difficult to exactly pin point who and where was the first person to find the correlation between feet and the entire body, the true origin will remain a secret. It is important however that this powerful therapy has withstood the test of time and has helped and is still helping thousands of people to better health.