Learn About Reflexology

In my blog I will mainly speak about foot reflexology and regularly present a new aspect of this wonderful healing technique  - I hope you enjoy the blog, it's free to learn.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Origins of Foot Reflexology

Reflexology is mainly used for:
- relaxation, stress is the cause of many physical and psychological dysfunctions
- activation of the blood and lymphatic circulation, cleansing of toxins, stimulation of the nervous system of digestive system
- prevention, reduction of many functional disorders thus aiding homeostasis. The body can recover its natural harmony and equilibrium.

Foot reflexology as we know it today has evolved from the zone therapy of Dr William Fitzgerald. Indeed in 1913 he exposed his theory which consists in virtually cutting the body in 10 longitudinal zones. Imagine dividing the body into two equal halves at the midline, and then again into 5 sections each side.
- zone 1, in the middle of the body goes from the thumb to the top of the head, down via the nose to end in the big toe;
- zone 2, from the index to the top of the head, down via the eyes to end in the second toe;
- zone 3, from the middle finger to the top of the head, down via the breast to end in the third toe;
- zone 4, from the annular finger to the top of the head, down via Bauhin’s valve on the right or the spleen on the left, to end in the fourth toe
- zone 5, from the little finger to the top of the head, down via the shoulders to end in the fifth toe.

Dr Fitzgerald mainly based his theory on acupuncture notions known at the time.
For him, each pressure applied within a zone had an effect of another part of the body situated in the same zone. For example, concerning foot reflexology, a pressure applied on the big toe will have an effect on the organs situated in zone 1. The main purpose of his method was to relieve pain.

His technique was later on promoted and refined by Dr Riley and Eunice Ingham who found that the technique could be used for all therapeutic treatments, not just for pain relief. Dr Riley mainly used the mouth whereas Ingham focused on the feet. In the 30s, she further developed her approach and trained many practiciens. Her maps of the reflex zones are still used in modern reflexology.

Doreen Bayly built on the existing theory with the notion of cross referral areas.
Indeed, according to Bayly, the cross referral area can be massaged instead or in addition to the problem zone. This is useful for injured organs that cannot be touched directly, and also to speed recovery.
Examples of cross referral areas:
- hand-foot
- wrist-angle
- elbow-knee
- shoulder-hip

Hanna Marquardt in Germany developed the theory of Transversal Zones, the body can be divided in 4 horizontal sections on the foot:
- phalanges include head and neck
- metatarsals include chest down to the waist
- tarsals include intestines, lower abdomen
- calcaneus for pelvis area

Development and refinement are ongoing in reflexology therapy. It is encouraging to see more and more nurses and doctors using this natural method as part of their treatment and patient care. Although it is not recognized by many countries, it is widely accepted and enjoyed as an efficient alternative medecine.