In Western culture one of the earliest books to be written on reflexology was published in 1582 by two eminent European physicians, Dr. Adamus and Dr. A'tatis. A second book by a Dr. Bell was published shortly afterwards in Leipzig.
It was, however, a Dr. William H. Fitzgerald who advanced and developed the initial popular practice of reflexology in our contemporary Western society. Dr. Fitzgerald studied at the University of Vermont and graduated in 1895. For two and a half years he practiced medicine at the Boston City Hospital before transferring to the Central London Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, England. He also practiced under the famous Professors Politzer and Chiari at an ENT(ear, nose and throat) clinic in Vienna.
When the reflexes are stimulated, the body’s natural electrical energy works along the nervous system to clear any blockages in the corresponding zones. A reflexology session seems to break up deposits (felt as a sandy or gritty area under the skin) which may interfere with the flow of the body’s electrical energy in the nervous system. Manipulating specific reflexes removes stress, activating a parasympathetic response in the body to enable the blockages to be released by a physiological change in the body. With stress removed and circulation enhanced, the body is allowed to return to a state of homeostasis.
Traditionally it is believed that energy flows through channel in the body. When these become blocked or depleted, parts of the body are starved of energy and become diseased. Reflexology clears these channels and restores the free flow of energy. A more modern theory is that reflexology works through the nervous system. There are 70000 nerve endings in the feet which connect through the spinal cord to all parts of the body (you sneeze or get a runny nose when you walk barefoot in cold water). By working on the nerve endings, reflexology stimulates the nervous system back into normal functioning. Other theories include interaction with electromagnetic (bio-energetic) fields, working with the body’s own natural vibrations and healing potential, or breaking down waste products which accumulate in the feet due to stress, disease, or lack of exercise.
Basically we aim at applying in our practice the reflexology principles of Barbara and Kevin Kunz, as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. Our practice is mainly oriented to alleviate stress because reflexology is particularly effective in stress related conditions. It provides a deep sense of relaxation so that tensions are released, circulation is improved and toxins can be more easily eliminated from the body. As the body’s natural energies flow more freely there is an increased sense of well-being and health. With respect to stress management the amount of technique application of reflexology, and number of sessions is strictly related to the goals and expectation of the individual who receives the therapy. Reflexology will not cure entrenched disease, though it can usefully support the work of conventional medicine - for example, Charing Cross Hospital (London, UK) routinely offers reflexology to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A single treatment will not reverse problems which are the result of years of misuse, poor diet or stress, but a series of treatments can help conditions as diverse as tension headaches, IBS, frozen shoulder, low fertility. Ways of effecting reflex areas and points: