The History of Reflexology


Reflexology is a therapy that dates back for thousands of years.  It has its roots in ancient Egypt, China and India.  The earliest known pictorial evidence was discovered in the Egyptian tomb of the Royal Physician, Ankmahor, at Saqqara, Egypt, dating back to around 2300 BC.

The Chinese have been using the application of pressure as a healing therapy for over 5000 years.  The ancient therapy of acupressure uses thumb pressure on acupoints - a series of points along lines of energy throughout the body - to help unblock energy and as a result let the body heal itself.

Modern - therapy introduced to the west

Dr William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat specialist developed "zone therapy" in which the body was divided into 10 longitudinal zones.  He believed that reflex areas on the feet and hands were linked to other areas and organs of the body within the same zone.

In the 1930's, Eunice Ingham, an American Physiotherapist, through her work she mapped reflex points for the entire body onto the feet.  This zone theory further developed into what is known as reflexology.  She discovered that by applying pressure onto these reflex points a therapeutic effect on the corresponding part of the body in that zone was achieved.  Doreen Bayly trained under Eunice Ingham and brought Reflexology to Britain in 1966.

Interactive Foot Map

reflexology Bristol

Frequently asked questions

Is Reflexology just like a foot massage?

Reflexology treatments do involve some massage techniques, particularly at the beginning of the session when getting the feet ready for treating. But reflexology is not specifically a massage therapy.  Reflexology involves the stimulation of the reflex points using a foot map as guidance. Learn more here.

Is it suitable for everyone?

Reflexology is suitable for anyone at any age, occasionally there maybe times when it is not suitable to treat and any underlying health problems will be considered.

Is it ticklish?

As feet can be quite sensitive some people wrongly assume they will be too ticklish for reflexology.  The treatment is not designed to be ticklish.  The feet are held firmly and the Reflexologist applies the right amount of pressure, involving specific reflexology techniques.

Is the therapy diagnostic?

Reflexology should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice.  It is not medical, it works holistically, therefore a Reflexologist cannot diagnose conditions or health problems.  The aim of Reflexology is to restore the body's natural ability for self-healing by encouraging energy flow around the body.

Is it painful?

Reflexology creates deep relaxation and calm and generally the experience should be relaxing,  Sometimes there could be some reflex points which are a little bit more tender than others, due to imbalances in the energy pathways.

How often should I have a treatment?

If you are looking for Reflexology to help with a specific condition then a course of regular sessions is advised.  A lot of people enjoy having Reflexology treatments  for maintaining their health and well-being and for just enjoying the deep relaxation and time out it provides.