Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on your feet which correspond to different body organs and systems. Pressing these points has a beneficial effect on the organs and general health. By massaging targeted areas of the foot, the reflexology practitioner can release tension throughout the rest of the body, as well as address issues such as pain, headaches and hypertension. Reflexologists use reflexology “maps” for the feet, and each foot represents a corresponding half of the body. The left foot corresponds to the left side of the body and all organs found there, and the right foot to the right side of the body. Foot Reflexology can also be a very relaxing and therapeutic procedure for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, flat feet, ankle pain/injuries, common forms of arthritis.
In 1917 William H. Fitzgerald, MD, described ten vertical zones that extended the length of the body. He found that the application of pressure to a zone that corresponded to the location of an injury could serve to relieve pain during minor surgeries. His work was continued by Dr. Shelby Riley, who developed a detailed map of reflex points on the feet. Eunice Ingham is another important figure in the development of reflexology; in the 1930s, she developed the foot maps still in use today and introduced reflexology practices to the non-medical community. She designed one of the most commonly used reflexology charts, which has since been refined by her nephew, Dwight Byers, at the International Reflexology Institute.