|RACHAEL E. HUBER
Bringing Professional Reflexology Therapy to the Northern New Jersey & New York City Area
|A LITTLE REFLEXOLOGY HISTORY ...|
|From the American Reflexology Certiifcation Board ....
The practice of reflexology has a long history stemming from the distant past. In most ancient cultures, there exists a tradition of manipulation of the feet as a means of helping the body balance itself. Although most of these cultures have had an oral tradition and not much remains of written records that may have pertained to this practice, there is some evidence of reflexology found in artwork. For instance, in an Egyptian physician's tomb from about 2,300 BCE there can be found a pictograph evincing reflexology's application (note: which appears on this website).
In 14th century Europe, there existed a form of "proto-reflexology" called Zone Therapy which developed a following and was popularly employed throughout the continent. In Asia, several examples have also been found. Modern reflexology is based on the 1930's work of two American physicians, Dr. William FitzGerald and Dr. Joe Shelby Riley, and on the efforts of physical therapist Eunice D. Ingham who developed FitzGerald's and Riley's knowledge into a usable therapy, calling it Foot Reflexology. She popularized and promoted the practice from the late 1930's through the early 1970's.
|The discovery of the scientific mechanisms underlying reflexology's clinical effectivenss begins in the last century. In the 1890's, research scientist and physician Sir Henry Head demonstrated the neurological relationship that exists between the skin and the internal organs. Nobel laureate Sir Chartles Sherrington proved that the whole nervous system (hence, the body) adjusts to a stimulus when that stimulus is applied to any part of the body, however distant. Around the same time in Germany, Dr. Alfons Cornelius observed that pressure to certain sports triggered muscle contractions, changes in blood pressure, variation in the warmth and moisture in the body as well as directly effecting the "psychic processes," or mental state of the patient. Russian researchers, beginning with Drs. Ivan Pavlov and Vladimir Bekhterev, have also been exploring reflex responses in the body for nearly a century.
In the last 30 years, because of Eunice Ingham's travelling around the country teaching groups of people her method of reflexology, a grassrotts reflexology following emerged in the United States. In that same tme, countless practising reflexologists have emerged, more than 40 books on reflexology have been published, and the number of magazine articles published has risen by 500 percent since 1982. Television appearances by reflexologists have increased by 500 percent since 1988.
Contemporarily, research studies have been conducted around the world including the U.S., which are validating the effectivensss of reflexology on a wide variety of conditions. Chronic disease states seem to respond especially well to reflexology. In China, where reflexology has long been accorded official recognition in medicine and academia as a means of preventing and treating disease and maintaining health, over 300 research studies have demonstrated that reflexology has provided some improvement to 95% of the over 18,000 cases covering 64 illnesses studied. In Japan and Denamrk, reflexology has been incorprorated into the employee health programs of several large corporations saving each company thousands of dollars annually in paid sick leave benefits.
Many of our health problems can be linked to stress. It is a fact acknowledged by the medical community that a body while attempting to function under the influence of protracted stress is less capable of organizing its defenses against illnesses and repiar damage caused by injury. Stress can be mentally, emotionally, physically or environmentally induced. Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique, and can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax and balance, allowing it to marshall its defenses against whatever health-diminishing circumstances might arise. Through the relaxation process the body is rendered more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living, as well as those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body toward better functioning by improving lynphatic drainiage and venous circulation, stimulation to the nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation, helping the body to balance itself.
While historically reflexology has been anecdotally found to have a positive effect on the body suffering from a wide variety of chronic problems, it is not a panacea for all ills. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used as a complementary therapy to any type of medical approach to a health problem. Reflexology can also be incorporated as one elements of an overall healthy lifestyle, which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise, and different forms of stress reduction and relaxation.
For further information on reflexology's fascinating history, please visit the websites maintained by the Ontario College of Reflexology and by MedicalLibrary.net.