History of Reflexology
Before the emergence of the Egyptian painting, there was a belief that the practice was a spin-off of Ayurvedic medicine, a form of alternative medicine practiced in ancient India. There are also suggestions that the practice might have borrowed some of its principles from other healing techniques such as acupuncture and shiatsu.
The sixteenth century was a ground-breaking period for the practice. Benvenuto Cellini, an Italian sculptor, managed to successfully reduce pain on his body by applying pressure on his toes and fingers.
It appears that reflexology evolved from several ancient healing techniques. However, in the western society, the early accounts of the practice were accounted for by two physicians, Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis who in 1582, published a book on reflexology. Shortly after, Dr. Bell of Germany published a second book on the healing technique.
It is believed that when the twentieth US president, James Garfield, was shot during an assassination attempt in 1881, physicians applied pressure on some of his organs in order to relieve pain.
The twentieth century is the moment in history when reflexology began to take shape into what it is today. Among the early proponents of the healing technique was Dr. William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. Dr. Fitzgerald partnered with Dr. Edwin Bowers, M.D., and they published a book entitled “Relieving Pain At Home” in 1917.
Back then, reflexology was known as Zone Analgesia – as Dr. Fitzgerald preferred to call it. He reasoned that applying pressure on body organs corresponding to an injured organ would relieve the pain. The palate, back of the pharynx, and the tongue were used as pressure points (or reflex zones) by the doctor. Some of the tools he used included clothes pegs, surgical clamps, aluminum combs and elastic bands.
The Association of Reflexologists (AoR) was formed in 1984 in the UK. The year 1991 saw the formation of the International Council of Reflexologist (ICR) in Toronto, Canada. In 1994, Reflexology in European Network (RiEN) was established. Ever since then, several other reflexology organizations have been formed with the aim to promote the massage therapy.
The history of reflexology is a great story entwined with ancient Egyptian tombs, medical doctors, and an assassination attempt on an American president. Modern reflexology is nothing but an offshoot of mainstream medicine. Whatever the story, reflexology was here before this generation and will continue to be here for a long time to come.