is known to have been used as long ago as over 2000 B.C. in
Egypt. It is depicted in cave drawings in Egypt dating to
Just as in acupuncture, there are reflexology points throughout
the body including the hands and feet. Reflexology is based
on zone theory. There are thought to be ten energy pathways
in the body, five on each side running down the body from
head to the toes. These are known as "zones" and
pass through the shoulders, down the arms to the fingertips.
Zone therapy was first practiced in the United States in the
early 1900's. One of its early practitioners was a Dr. William
Fitzgerald who learned about it in Europe and used it extensively
in his practice. In 1917 he wrote Zone Therapy, or Relieving
Pain at Home. Years later, a physician, Dr. Joe Shelby Riley,
read Fitzgerald's book and encouraged his staff to learn more
about it. One of his physiotherapists, Eunice Ingham, noticed
positive effects of the treatment, especially when applied
to the patient's feet. She mapped out the feet and spent years
fine tuning her technique. She found that by applying pressure
to various parts of the foot healing would accelerate. She
believed that all organs and glands were represented at the
feet. She spent many years documenting her approach and teaching
Reflexology. She wrote two books on the subject and is considered
by many to be the founder of modern Reflexology in the U.S.
Zone theory states that any blockage of the subtle zone energies
affects all the organs and glands present within that zone.
While these energy blockages are small the net effect is sometimes
great. Illness in one of the zones imbalances the entire system
and the rest of the body tries to compensate. Stress and exposure
to toxins can prolong this imbalance.
The anatomical position of the feet and the effect of gravity
combine to result in the accumulation of toxins in and around
the feet first. Calcification of the circulatory system (arteriosclerosis)
begins in the feet due to this accumulation of toxins. This
is thought to affect the energy flow in the nervous system
which in turn affects all the organs of the body since each
organ and gland is represented at the feet. As calcification
becomes greater, it puts pressure on these nerve endings which
upsets the communication between various parts of the body.
This communication is essential to maintain harmony and balance
within the body.
The nerve endings in the feet are reflex points for the body
and pressure at these reflex points sends signals to the corresponding
organs and glands, acting as a wake up call.. Using the body's
own innate intelligence, these signals will help speed up
an underactive body part or slow down an overactive body part
restoring harmony. Systemically, reflexology reduces stress
by bringing the body into a deep state of relaxation. Many
people enter a trance-like condition of relaxation which is