The origins of reflexology are believed to date back some 5,000 years. This ancient healing therapy was first used in India, China and Egypt. Dr. William Fitzgerald bought reflexology to the western world during the early 1900’s. He discovered when pressure was applied to certain areas such as joints or fingers, he could produce numbness in other parts of the body, in other words, the pressure had a reflex response. He experimented further and found the body could be divided into 10 longitudinal sections which he called zones. He found that by applying pressure to anywhere in a zone, all the rest of the zone was affected. Applying pressure to reflex areas on the feet and hands are linked to other areas and organs of the body in the same zone.
During the 1930’s a remedial therapist called Eunice Ingham became fascinated by zone therapy. She found that a disorder in a particular body part also consistently had sensitivity in the same area or point on the feet. She was able to develop a map of reflexes on the feet and hands to correspond with every organ, gland and part of the body. She discovered that while steady pressure had a numbing or anaesthetizing effect, an alternating pressure seemed to stimulate healing. Initially she referred to this as zone therapy, but later adopted the term Reflexology.
An Englishwoman, Doreen Bayly, who trained with Eunice Ingham brought reflexology back to England in 1964.