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What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. It uses unique manual techniques to deliver pressure to neural pathways assisting the body to function optimally. 

 Reflexology is a serious adjunct to the health field and should not be confused with massage.

Ingham Method Reflexology was the start for modern reflexology practiced today.

Inscriptions found in physician's tomb in Saqqara, Egypt.

Photo Courtesy of the International Institute of Reflexology

Eunice Ingham working on a client's feet.

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A Long Time Ago...

The origins of reflexology are believed to have stemmed all the way back to ancient Egyptian times as seen in hieroglyphics found in a physician's tomb in Saqqara, Egypt(Top Photo). It clearly shows the practitioners are working on the hands and feet of their patients. However, reflexology as we know it today was researched and developed by Eunice Ingham(Bottom Photo) who was a physical therapist working with Dr. Joe Shelby Riley in the early 1930's. Dr. Riley had been working with Dr. William Fitzgerald who had developed "Zone Theory" in 1917. This theory was based on applying pressure to "zones" in the feet to relieve pain and often the cause of the pain in corresponding "zones" of the body. Eunice Ingham picked up where the doctors had left off to develop zone theory further. Eunice treated many patients with what she called "Reflex Therapy" and later named "Reflexology". She had much success discovering reflex areas in the feet which had an affect on a certain part of the body. As a matter of fact the body's "map" on the feet(as seen below) is an exact copy of the body itself! Finding and working the body's reflexes in the feet helped to relieve an abundance of health problems through a natural reflex action that improved life giving blood flow to vital organs and parts of the body. Eunice wrote two books on all her findings and what started out as short book reviews, over time with the help of her niece and nephew, turned into training workshops. Eunice helped raise her niece and nephew from an early age. Her nephew, Dwight C. Byers, taught reflexology at the workshops as well, helped to develop reflexology even further, and went on to establish the National Institute of Reflexology in the early 1950's. In 1980, the workshops had gone worldwide and became the International Institute of Reflexology. To this day these workshops, all over the world, are being taught to keep Eunice's dream alive and that was simply using reflexology to ease the suffering of mankind.

Benefits of Reflexology

  1. Relieves stress and tension

  2. Improves nerve and blood supply

  3. Helps nature to normalize which brings balance to the body

Today, it is said by doctors that 60-90% of all ailments are linked to stress. In this modern life we rarely find an "off" switch for our minds and rest for our bodies. This can cause tension to build and build until necessary functions in the body are disrupted which can cause illnesses or diseases to take hold. Reflexology gives your nervous system that much needed space to de-stress and return to normal function.  

The map of the body depicted on the feet.

Photo Courtesy of the International Institute of Reflexology

Can Reflexology Make A Condition Worse?

No.  Reflexology is non-invasive and simply helps the body to normalize. It cannot make any condition more acute. Anyone can receive reflexology at any age and any stage of life. Your reflexologist will ask you about your health history to cater your sessions to suit your indidvidual needs. Some clients of reflexology do experience something called a health response after their session. This may include responses like tiredness, a surge in energy, change in sleep pattern, frequent urination and nausea just to name a few. This is a completely normal response from the body being able to release waste materials it may have been holding on to due to stress and poor circulation. This is a good thing! These symptoms usually don't last long, often resolving in a day or two.

*Disclaimer: Reflexology is not a replacement for medical care. Reflexologists do not:

  • Diagnose

  • Prescribe

  • Treat for a specific condition

How Often You Should Get Reflexology

Reflexology is unique for every person because every person is unique. A regular foot reflexology session lasts about 45 minutes which is plenty of time to work through all the reflex areas. Depending on what your body needs, reflexology can be done as often as a few times per week or spread out to once a month. Again it all depends on the individual's needs. To explain how the effects of reflexology stay with your body picture, if you will, a piece of cloth. You dip the cloth in yellow dye and then hang it in the sun to dry. If this is done few and far in between the cloth fades pretty quickly and a brilliant yellow color is never really achieved. Now if the cloth is dipped more frequently it will have a better chance of becoming a brilliant yellow and retaining that bright color. The cloth is your body, the dye is reflexology, and the sun is stress.

Can you picture it?

In Memoriam

Past President of the International Institute of Reflexology

Dwight C. Byers

February 11, 1929 - August 29, 2020

Photo Courtesy of the International Institute of Reflexology

Photo Courtesy of the International Institute of Reflexology

© 2010 Whispering Hands Massage & Whispering Hands Wellness. All Rights Reserved.

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