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See what an MD says about his first hand experience with Reflexology

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Healthy Soles School® of Reflexology, LLC

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is an art and a science. A Reflexologist works reflex points on the feet, hands, and ears that represent the body in miniature. The nerve pathways in each foot create an electro-chemical flow that communicates with the entire nervous system.

Each reflex point connects with a specific organ, gland, or body part. Through the application of pressure using specific thumb and finger techniques, reflexology connects with the peripheral nervous system and encourages the body to relax.

Reflexology is not a foot massage. Massage is the palpation of soft tissue and muscle whereas reflexology is the stimulation of nerve pathways. A good foot massage will relax the body; however, the thumb- and finger-walking techniques used in reflexology involve direct application to the sensory nerves.

The sensory nerves carry information to the brain while the motor nerves carry information to the body, resulting in the release of essential chemicals that the body utilizes for health and well-being.

 

The History of Reflexology

2500 B.C.: was the first documentation of Reflexology. Ed and Ellen Case of Los Angeles was touring Egypt in 1979, they discovered and brought back an ancient Egyptian papyrus scene depicting medical practitioners treating the hands and feet of their patients. 

They found six pictographs of child birth, dentistry, embalming, pharmacology, and reflexology in the tomb of Ankhmahor (the highest official after the king) at Saqqara (the physician’s tomb) near Cairo. The painting depicted an Egyptian physician with his hands on another man’s foot. The translation read: “Don’t let it be painful!” The Egyptian physician replied, “I do as you please”.

2nd century B.C.: is the early evidence from the “Historical records” written by Sima Qian of Chinese Reflexology dates back to the when Dr. Yu Fu (in Chinese Yu means healing and Fu means foot) treated patients without herbs and acupuncture but concentrated on massage, and "the illness responded to every stroke of his".

250 B.C.: Dr. Waldemar E. Sailor has searched for Buddha footprints for twenty-five years and has located them in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Union of Myanmar. Each footprint symbols were different some did not have any symbols, it meant a different time and culture.

790 A.D.: the stone carving of Buddha’s foot, with Sanskrit symbols on the sole, was found at the Medicine Teacher Temple in Nara, Japan.

1275-1292: Marco Polo traveled China and the Dominican and Franciscan missionaries, they are credited with bringing the ancient Chinese massage technique into Europe.

1582: Dr. Adamus and Dr. A’tatis wrote a book on Zone therapy

1583: Dr. Ball from Leipzig wrote a book on Zone therapy

1690’s: Jim Rolls a Cherokee Indian; said pressure therapy on the feet to restore and balance the body has been passed down through the generations. A Cherokee Indian, Jenny Wallace from Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina says the clan of her father (Bear Clan) believes feet are important. "Your feet walk upon the earth and through this your spirit is connected to the universe. Our feet are our contact with the Earth and the energies that flow through it."

1771: German physiologist Johann Auguest Unzer published his work about motor reactions and used the term “reflex”.

1833: English physician and physiologist Marshall Hall who was the first to explain the term “reflex action” because of the result of his experiments on animals. He studied the medulla oblongata and the spinal cord and their reflex actions. He stated “That the spinal cord is comprised by a chain of units that functions as an independent reflex arcs, and their activity integrates sensory and motor nerves at the segment of the spinal cord from which these nerves originate”.

1870’s: Ivan Sechenov the founder of Russian physiology wrote a book called “Reflexes of the Brain”. He brought electrophysiology into the laboratory and taught this method. The Russian physician Dr. Ivan Pavlou founder of Russian Brain Institute used Zone therapy. 

Pavlov was very interested into the research of physiology of animal digestion led him logically to create a science of conditioned reflexes. He expanded on his research into the physiology of animal digestion and the subsequent articulation of “a science of conditioned reflexes” He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on the pancreatic nerves. He lectured about the conditioned reflexes.

1878: French physician M.J. Babinski, wrote an essay called “A Phenomenon of the Toes and its Symptomatological Value”. In 1896 he wrote another essay with his new findings called “Planar Cutaneous Reflexes in Certain Organic Conditions of the Central Nervous System”.

1878: Dr. T. Lauter Brunton wrote a paper for the Brain, A Journal of Neurology called “Reflex action as a Cause of Disease and Means of Cure”.

1880’s: English Neurologist Sir Henry Head a doctor of medicine at Cambridge for his thesis on pain in visceral disease. He later published an article in the Brain, A Journal of Neurology titled “On disturbances of Sensation with Especial Reference to the Pain of Visceral Disease”. 

He discovered “Head Zones”, and also proved that pressure applied to the skin and its effect on the internal organs. He wrote “The Bladder can be excited to action by stimulating the sole of the foot, and movements of the toes can be revoked by filling the bladder with fluid”.

1890: Germany physician Dr. Alfons Cornelius tried reflex-massage on certain areas of his body to cure his own disease. He noted when he worked out the painful areas. In 1902 he published a book called “Pressure Points, their Origin and Significance”.

1907: Russian neurophysiologist and psychiatrist Dr. Vladimir Bekhterev who studied the formations of the brain and investigated conditioned reflexes. He was the founder of psycho reflexology. He also started the term “reflexology” in 1932 and lectured the “General Principles of Reflexology”.

1909: American physician Dr. William Fitzgerald a respected ear, nose, throat surgeon from Connecticut was teaching in Vienna in the same city and time frame Dr. Alfons Cornelius published his book “Pressure Points, their Origin and Significance”. 

When he came back to America he used Zone therapy to deaden pain, replacing drugs in minor operations. He treated lumps in the breast, uterine fibroids, respiratory problems, and eye conditions. There was controversy on zone therapy from 1915-1930’s but eventually it met an amount of success with doctors and dentist. He is accredited for the woodcut body that has the ten zones divided.

1911: German physician Dr. Barczewski introduced "action honoring book of my Reflexmassage".

1915: Dr. Bowers wrote an article called, “To Stop that Toothache, Squeeze your Toe”. It was published in Everybody’s magazine.

1917: Dr. Edwin F. Bowers encouraged and helped Dr. Fitzgerald to write his first book called “Relieving Pain at Home”.

1930’s: American physician Dr. Joe Shelby Riley of Washington D.C., who Dr. Fitzgerald trained. He worked with hand, facial and ear points. He published a book called “Zone Therapy Simplified”, which detailed the first diagrams of reflex points found on the feet.

1932: English physiologist Sir Charles Sherrington studied the spinal cord and later studied problems with spinal reflexes he won a Nobel Prize which proved that the whole nervous system and body adjusts to a stimulus when it is applied to any part of the body. He shared the Nobel Prize with Dr. Edgar Adrian a British electro physiologist, who studied the mechanism of nervous action; electrical studies of the neuron. 

Also in 1932, Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist of St. Petersburg, FL. Eunice was a student of Dr. Joe Riley continued to chart the feet and further developed Zone therapy into Reflexology. She found that the “reflexes on the feet were an exact mirror image of the organs of the body”. 

In 1938, she published “Stories the feet can tell” and “Zone Therapy and Gland Reflexes”, in 1951 she published “Stories the feet have told”. After the books published she toured America conducting workshops teaching the lay person’s they can help themselves, family, and friends.

1950’s: Eunice’s niece, Eusebia Messenger, R.N. and nephew, Dwight Byers, joined her in conducting the workshops. As interest grew, they started a school called “National Institute of Reflexology”. Dwight and Eusebia continued teaching and researching Reflexology after Eunice’s death in 1974.

1960’s: Mildred Carter a minister wrote the self-help book called “Helping Yourself with Reflexology”.

1970’s: Dwight Byers renamed the St. Petersburg, Florida School “International Institute of Reflexology”. He wrote a book called “Better Health with Reflexology” and started schools all across the world. If it was not for Dwight, the field of Reflexology would not have gained the acceptance that it has in the past years.

1991: The American leaders of Reflexology created the American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB) to set national certification standards among professional reflexologist.

1993: William Flocco and Terry Oleson PhD wrote a research paper and presented it to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology it proved to show how reflexology reduces women's P.M.S. symptoms by 46 percent for the eight weeks of weekly treatments. 

And this was maintained with 42 percent reduction of symptoms for eight weeks after treatment. This was not as effective as drug treatments; however reflexology did not have the side effects that drug treatments had. This study was the first American scientific study that accredited Reflexology as an effective therapy for PMS.

 


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