History of Reflexology

Ariana Institute offers online and onsite Reflexology continuing education courses for massage therapists. These courses are approved by the National Certification Board as well as the majority of states within the US.  Please visit www.arianainstitute.com for details.

Reflexology has been used for more than 5,000 years. History suggests that foot reflexology was used by the ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Japanese. The most concrete evidence of the practice of Reflexology in ancient cultures was the discovery of the wall painting shown below depicting the practice of Reflexology in the tomb of Ankhmahor (highest official after the Pharaoh) at Saqqara, which is also known as the Physician’s Tomb. This Egyptian wall painting is dated at the 6th dynasty, about 2330 B.C.

Similarly, North American Indian shamans are believed to have manipulated and stimulated the feet as a part of their healing practices.
As additional information is gathered, it seems that variations of the modern practice of Reflexology existed in many of the ancient healing cultures.
The precursor of modern Reflexology was introduced to the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872-1942), an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and Dr. Edwin Bowers. Fitzgerald claimed that applying pressure had an anesthetic effect on other areas of the body. Reflexology was further developed in the 1930s and 1940s by Eunice D. Ingham (1899-1974), a nurse and physiotherapist. Ingham claimed that the feet and hands were especially sensitive, and mapped the entire body into “reflexes” on the feet. It was at this time that “zone therapy” was renamed Reflexology.  Her nephew, Dwight C. Byers, continues her work today. His lifelong association with Eunice Ingham has given him nearly sixty years of practice and teaching experience in Reflexology.

For information about online Reflexology classes at Ariana Institute, visit www.arianainstitute.com/ce-online/.

Ariana Vincent directs the Ariana Institute in Houston, Texas, which offers continuing professional development for massage therapists. Ariana is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Massage Therapy Instructor who has practiced massage therapy and bodywork for thirty years. Her highest aspiration, personally and professionally, is to facilitate the integration of mind, body, and spirit, and to ultimately allow a state of balance to effortlessly and peacefully become an integral part of everyday life.

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