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History of Reflexology

From as far back as 2330BC Man has known the ancient healing art of Reflexology when a wall painting in Egypt showed a person holding the foot of another person and applying pressure to the soles.

For centuries it has been practised by American-Indians, Chinese and other Asian countries and by African tribes. Dr William Fitzgerald, an American ENT surgeon who developed the theory of the link between reflex zones in the feet and hands with corresponding areas and organs of the body, introduced reflexology to the West about 1913.

Dr Fitzgerald discovered that some of his patients were producing an anaesthetic-type effect on certain parts of their bodies by applying pressure to other parts of their bodies. He discovered that by applying elastic bands on the middle parts of the fingers or clothes peg-like clamps to the tips of the fingers he could create a local anaesthetic-type effect to the hand, arm, elbow, face, nose and ear. This enabled him to perform some minor surgical operations without the aid of an anaesthetic. He found that he could divide the body into ten vertical zones - five on each side of the body - and that there was an energy link between parts of the body found on the same zone.

Dr Fitzgerald's fellow American - Eunice Ingham went on to refine and develop zone therapy. She realised that by applying pressure to certain areas of the feet she could not only reduce pain but treat a whole range of other ailments too. Reflexology finally arrived in Europe including mainland Britain, in the 1960's and in Ireland in the 1980's. It is rapidly growing in popularity in Ireland and is becoming firmly established as an effective and gentle complementary therapy, which can be practised on persons of all age groups. Reflexologists now practise side-by-side with other healthcare professionals in health care centres etc.