History of Reflexology
Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose & throat doctor, introduced this concept to theUnited States (called Zone Therapy) in 1915. Dr. Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist, pioneered ground-breaking studies in the 1930’s, including developing the “map” that is used in training Therapeutic Reflexologists to this day. However, paintings on caves from ancient cultures, documentation within Traditional Chinese Medicine & Auyreveda, as well as traditions within the Native American health communities, shows us that this therapy has been used within wellness practices through the ages. Recent research studies have been conducted around the world, including in the US, which have validated the effectiveness of Therapeutic Reflexology for a wide variety of conditions. Chronic conditions seem to respond especially well to Reflexology. In China, where Reflexology is accepted by the central government as a means of preventing & curing diseases & preserving health, over 300 research studies have shown Reflexology provided some improvement to 95% of the over 18,000 cases covering 64 illnesses studied. In Japan & Denmark, Reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving each company thousands of dollars annually in paid out sick leave benefits.
Many of our health problems can be linked to increased inflammation brought about by chronic stress. It is an acknowledged fact by the medical community that a body trying to function while under the influence of prolonged stress is less capable of organizing its defenses against illnesses & repair damage caused by injury. Stress can be mentally, emotionally, physically, or environmentally induced. Therapeutic Reflexology is primarily a systemic relaxation technique. Through the relaxation process, the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living & those associated with illness. Therapeutic Reflexology gently nudges the body towards better functioning by improving lymphatic drainage & venous circulation, stimulation to the nerve pathways, & muscle relaxation.
While historically Therapeutic Reflexology has anecdotally been found to have a positive affect on the body suffering from a wide variety of chronic problems, it is not a panacea for all ills. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used as a complement to any type of medical approach or therapy. Therapeutic Reflexology can also be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, & different forms of stress reduction & relaxation.