What is Reflexology?

What is Reflexology?

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Reflexology is usually practiced by qualified, non-medical therapists, working in clinics, reatment rooms or who visit offices for on-the-spot stress relief. But demand for the therapy is so great, and its effects so impressive, that some medical staff have also taken up reflexology training. Like most alternative therapies, reflexology is not a new therapy. It has roots in the cient civilizations of Egypt, India and China as well as among African tribes and native American Indians.

But the therapy did not make any real impact in the West until the early 20th century when Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear nose and throat specialist at Boston General Hospital, became interested in zone therapy, which provided the foundations for reflexology. In zone therapy, the body is divded into ten vertical zones, running from the tips of the toes to the top of the head and back down to the finger tips and all the parts of the body within one zone are linked. By applying pressure to one part of the body, Fitzgerald was delighted to discover that it was possible to relieve pain in other areas within the same zone.

It is not clear where or how Fitzgerald found out about zone therapy, but it is assumed tht it was while he was in Europe, because on his return to the United States he began to introduce his patients to zone therapy. He applied pressure to their feet and hands to relieve pain in other parts of the body. He shared his knowledge witha colleague, Dr. Joe Riley.

Building on the information received from all of these pioneering aromatherapists, moder therapists agree that essential oils should be prescribed for the individual and that they are most effective when massaged into the skin.

Through Riley, a physiotherapist named Eunice Ingham got to know about zone therapy. She was fascinated by the concept and began to use it on her patients. To her satisfaction, Ingham noticed a marked speeding up of her patients'' healing abilities awhen they were treated with zone therapy.

It was Ingham who developed and renamed zone therapy reflexology. She also mapped out the feet''s reflex zones as charts that are used today. Ingham also made the important discovery that applying pressure to reflex points could have a much wider theraputic effect than just pain relief. Reflexology was brought to Britain in 1966 by a pupil of Ingham''s, Doreen Bayly.