What Is Reflexology?

Reflexology is the unique modality that uses pressure from the thumb and fingers to strike reflexes in the feet that detect congestion, unlock and reopen communication and impart the need for responsible action of all body members to reach homeostasis.

The theory of reflexology is that due to tension, toxins and stress, individual organs, glands and parts of the body either lose contact with superior vitals, or build up defense mechanisms that hinder normalization and good health.

“The goal of the reflexologist is to find and unblock congestion and re-establish communication among wayward members to achieve homeostasis.” – Doug Holland Jr

foot reflexology
foot reflexology

From Where and When Did Reflexology Spring?

Throughout world history there are fragmented hieroglyphs of individuals who appear to be pressing on points of the feet and hands (or who may be looking to the feet and hands) to help with pain and sickness as well as other diseases.

These hard-to-discern pieces of archeology point to possibilities that the feet or hands had some profound aspect on one’s health or were staples in general well-being.

Some of these hieroglyphic recordings may go back as far as five thousand years ago.

One example is an Egyptian hieroglyph from approximately 2330 B.C., used repeatedly in various reflexology publications and studies, that some say is the clearest expression of a possible pressure treatment to the feet and hands.

A pictograph from an Egyptian tomb (known as ‘The Physician’s Tomb’) depicts four persons with one appearing to be treated with pressure to the foot and another with pressure to the hand.

Other examples through the ages include: Doctors Adamus and A’Tatis and later Dr. Ball who published medical dissertations in the 16th century on zone therapy.

Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) was known as a great Florentine sculptor who used acupressure on his fingers and toes; as well as American President James A. Garfield (1831-1881) who used the applying of pressure on the feet to relieve pain.

Reflexology in modern times

Dr. William Fitzgerald, Dr. H. Bressler, Dr. Edwin Bowers, Dr. Riley, Eunice Ingham, Doreen Bayley as well as many others stumbled upon the uniqueness of this modality as well as trying to understand it clinically and document their findings.

With thousands of trial-and-error sessions, a pattern of reflexes was discovered primarily in the feet. Zone Theory (what this practice was known as until the 1960′s) evolved into reflexology, the term we are all familiar with today.

Other reflexologists the world over have developed their own theories through practical and scientific experience while perfecting their own art of where they believe the reflexes lie and how they affect the physiology of the body.

However, it seems to be a simple rearranging of the Zone theory over and over again.

Zone Theory has been the most prevalent theory in the United States for almost the last hundred years.

Most reflexologists still hold the belief that reflexes are found in ten zones of the feet, but may differ as to where the specific reflexes are located on their own charts.

Just recently, however, Zone Theory has been challenged by the Dominant Theory of reflexology and this may truly change the direction of research that reflexologists map and experiment with.

Doug’s reflexology book delves into further detail on this subject.







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