The reflexologist’s aim is to release congestion and stress in all body systems and balance the body’s energy, thereby allowing the body to heal itself.
A session normally lasts one hour. Longer or shorter sessions may be scheduled. Sometimes shorter, more frequent sessions work better for a client. Some clients like to go really deep, with longer sessions of 75 or 90 minutes.
Background to Modern Reflexology
In 1582, a book on an integral element of Reflexology called zone therapy was first published in Europe by Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis. William H. Fitzgerald, MD, who is frequently referred to as the father of Reflexology, came across this work while working and traveling in Europe. He subsequently wrote in 1917 about ten vertical zones that extend the length of the body, defined by the ten fingers and the ten toes. He found that the application of pressure to a zone that corresponded to a problem area could serve to relieve pain during minor surgeries. (I have applied this theory myself by using pressure on my finger tips during dental surgery to reduce the pain to a tolerable level. It worked. I do not, however, recommend this for others. I just wanted to test the theory.)
Dr. Shelby Riley expanded on Dr. Fitzgerald’s work and enlisted Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist who worked with Dr. Riley and who became a particularly prominent figure in the development of Reflexology. In her research with zone therapy’s pressure points, she found the feet to be the most sensitive and responsive. Each foot contains 7,200 nerve endings. She experimented with the localization of the reflex points and introduced Reflexology practices to the non-medical community in the 1930s. She was a pioneer in both America and Europe, where her influence is still recognized today. Ms. Ingham also designed initial Reflexology charts, which have since been retooled by her nephew, Dwight Byers, at the International Institute of Reflexology in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In 1957, Dr. Paul Nogier, a French physician who practiced acupuncture, recorded a reflex map of points on the outer ear. His work has been named auriculotherapy and is now being taught as part of an integrated approach to Reflexology, adding the ear to the hands and feet already used in traditional Reflexology practices.
Images reproduced with the permission of the International Institute of Reflexology. Sources include the International Institute of Reflexology, the University of Minnesota, the Center for Spirituality & Healing, and the Life Science Foundation.
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