Reflexology History

Reflexology history from 2000- present

Australia, Canada, Europe, UK, USA... all over the world

Reflexology Associations formed all over the world decades ago grow in strenght and number, influencing government legislation, promoting and educating the community about reflexology.

Numerous studies conducted into the role of reflexology in cancer treatment.

Some include the Stobhill Hospital at Glasgow, Scotland, who did a study with twelve palliative cancer patients. The School of Nursing at East Carolina University, USA, did a study with twenty three breast and lung cancer patients, and more than twenty four other studies completed, all with the same results;

Reflexology improves quality of life, reduces anxiety, and in some cases eases symptoms of cancer treatment and other similar illnesses.

Unfortunately more studies are needed of larger sample groups to determine if and what effect reflexology has on treating cancer and other medical illnesses, but fundamentally reflexology does not cure anything.

1980s- present


Inge Dougans is a contemporary reflexology champion

She has written many books on our reflexology recommended reading list. See the recommended reading list here.

Dougans also established the International School of Reflexology & Meridian Therapy, and is constantly pioneering new ways to take reflexology to the world.



In the late nineteen thirties, Eunice Ingham worked with Dr William Fitzgerald and together they furthered his discoveries (see below his original discoveries).

She learnt from Dr Fitzgerald that you can apply pressure to the foot or hand and make a specific area on the body go numb.

From this she discovered that by applying repetitive/ pulsing pressure to the foot or hand you can make a specific area on the body heal better!

She took these discoveries to the world and shared reflexology universally for the first time in history.

Eunice Ingham wrote books, travelled, and spent her life educating and working with communities all over the world to teach about the wonderful healing powers of reflexology very much like Inge Dougans did later.



Ear, nose and throat surgeon, William Fitzgerald, discovered how to operate on his patients without using painkillers.

He did this using a theory he made up called zone therapy, which was the start of western reflexology history.

He found zones that run up and down the body, and realised that by applying constant pressure to a particular area on the finger or toes you can make a completely different area of the body go numb! He used this technique to make areas in the face or jaw go numb.

Now he could operate without painkillers!

Nearly unbelievable for the 1930s but it still works today. Click here to learn how to do it and other reflexology tricks for easing headaches, hangovers and shoulder aches

4000 years ago


In Egypt there is much evidence of reflexology history and this is the most exciting example;

There was found in the tomb of Egyptian Vizier (second in charge after the king) Ankhmahormany pictures of different tradespeople, people making jewelry, craftsman etc

In the room dedicated to medical pictures they found one of the people practicing something that looks an awful lot like reflexology.

One man having his feet receiving reflexology, another his finger

Underneath the picture is this writing.. (rough translation)

the patient is saying "do not cause pain"

and the physician replies "I will give you only pleasure"

just under 5000 years ago

Ancient China

Many ancient chinese books talk about techniques that are similar and sometimes identical to modern reflexology eg they practiced the "examining foot method".

There are also many references in a treasured ancient text called The Great Yellow Emperors Medical Book (The Inner Cannon, The Classic of Internal Medicine. It has a few names depending on where you look)

The information in this text is still used by Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners all over the world today.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is great- it incorporates energy, body systems, weather seasons, and in TCM the key is to avoid ever being ill, and see physicians when you are well to stay well.

5000 years ago

Ancient India

The very beginning of reflexology history, according to ancient chinese records buddhist monks brought early reflexology from India to China about this time.

For more information on Reflexology History contact us here

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Reflexology does 3 amazing things!

  1.  It is relaxing
  2.  Promotes harmony & balance in your body & its systems
  3.  Slightly increases blood circulation 

Be sure to visit Reflexology Caution for full list of who can/ can't have reflexology

Reflexology cannot cure anything and information on this website is followed at your own risk, for more read the Disclaimer here

We're passionate about sharing the ancient techniques of Reflexology with every person that wants to learn them and relax, thank you for visiting our site!

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