The origins of reflexology can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Wall paintings in a physician’s tomb, at Saqqara, dating back to 2330 B.C. show patients receiving treatments on their hands and feet.
In Greece until AD200, in addition to being the home of the oracle, Delphi was an ancient health spa where massage, hydrotherapy and reflexology were used to induce well-being, relaxation and foresight. Practices akin to reflexology appear to have been used in early China, Japan, India and Russia also.
Modern day reflexology has its origins in Zone Therapy which was pioneered by Dr. William H. Fitzgerald. He divided the body into ten longitudinal zones; the theory being that reflexes operate along these zones and that pressure and stimulation of a reflex could relieve pain affecting organs, body parts and glands within a given zone.
Zone Therapy was adopted by Eunice Ingham a physiotherapist working with Fitzgerald in her treatment of patients in the 1930’s. She developed it further, finding that some areas of the body were more effective and accessible than others she worked on the feet. Eventually she mapped the entire body onto the feet. She discovered that a therapeutic effect could be achieved by using pressure from her thumbs and fingers on specific tender spots which related to problems elsewhere in the body.