Therapeutic foot massage has been around for centuries in the ancient civilizations
of China, Africa, India, Egypt and the natives of America but this form of treatment was
overlooked for centuries by the West where science-based medicine prevailed. At the
beginning of the 20th century an American, Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose and throat
(ENT) surgeon, discovered that pressure on the feet or hands produced pain relief in distant
parts of the body and he could perform an ENT operation without giving the patient any painkillers.
He developed a system called 'zone therapy' where the body is divided into 10 equal parts which
run vertically down the body, with 5 zones on each side going from toes to head to fingertips or visa
versa. Fitzgerald believed each path has a flow of energy that is linked to the other areas in the same
path and the energy in the whole zone is stimulated by the pressure and theorised that his technique
was not only an anesthetic, but it also treated the cause of the pain and in 1917 published his first book on
the subject. In the 1930s Eunice Ingham along with Elizabeth Riley carried the idea further by mapping
the entire body onto the feet maintaining that all parts of the body could be treated individually by applying
pressure on a specific reflex point on the foot and hand and Reflexology was born.


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