Skip to content

History of Reflexology

The origins of Reflexology are believed to date back some 2,500 years ago.

Drawings found in an Egyptian burial tomb dating from around 2330 BC show healing foot massages being given with fingers and thumbs. And the Chinese have been using thumb pressure on specific points (known as acupressure points) to heal the body for over 5000 years.

Reflexology therapy developed further in the early Twentieth Century when an American Ear, Nose and Throat Physician, Dr William Fitzgerald, discovered that the body could be divided into 10 zones. By pressing a certain part of the body in a particular zone, a pain could be relieved elsewhere in that same zone. His colleague, Dr Edwin Bowers, went on to write a medical paper called ‘To Stop a Toothache Squeeze your Toe’! Together they wrote a book explaining’ Zone Therapy’ and how it works in 1917.

In the early 1930's Eunice Ingham, an American Physiotherapist, continued to pioneer the ‘Zone Therapy’ theory of Dr Fitzgerald. Interested in further reducing the pain experienced by her patients, she looked into Zone Therapy and discovered that applying thumb pressure onto the foot, in particular, would help the body to start a self healing process.

After a great deal of research, Ingham was able to map the whole body onto the feet. All the organs, glands, musculoskeletal structures and systems of the body could be worked by applying specific thumb and finger pressure techniques onto the feet. Eunice Ingham created the first foot charts that each Reflexologist uses today. Doreen Bayley, who trained with Eunice Ingham brought Reflexology back to the UK in 1964 and the therapy has gone on from strength to strength and today is used widely across the world to help maintain wellbeing and physical health.

Scroll To Top