Therapeutic Foot Massage

Denise Held RN, Certified Reflexologist, Reflexolo-ChiTM


Foot Reflexology: Past and Present

Foot Reflexology, or therapeutic foot massage, has a long history. It originated thousands of years ago. Egyptian hieroglyphics from 2500 B.C. depict people working with each other’s feet. An ancient Chinese medical text describes it. Hundreds of years ago, people in India, Russia, and Japan also benefited from it.

In the 1930’s, Eunice Ingham, an American physiotherapist, carefully mapped out, through trial and error, the foot reflex zones corresponding to organs, glands, and other body parts. She showed that applying pressure to specific reflex zones on the feet has a therapeutic effect on the corresponding body parts.

Courtesy of Reflexolo-ChiTM
course materials

These days, Foot Reflexology is used as a healing modality in many parts of the world and gaining in popularity as people seek out alternative yet effective therapies to keep them well.

Medical Research confirming Reflexology Effectiveness

  • Ultrasound and thermography demonstrate increased blood circulation to target organs (e.g. kidneys) when its corresponding reflex zone is massaged. (Massage Magazine, December 2000).
  • In another study at the University of Hong Kong in 2005, Magnetic Resonance Imaging shows increased activity in the temple area of the brain when the temple reflex zone is stimulated.
  • A Michigan State University study showed that Reflexology treatments can be beneficial in helping breast cancer patients perform activities of daily living (going up stairs, getting dressed, shopping) more easily. (Detroit Free Press, 11/12/2012)

There is now a bigger emphasis on preventive health care because it is much more cost-effective than treating people after they have gotten sick.

Here is an interesting perspective from the website of the International Reflexology Association:

“Although foot reflexology has its roots thousands of years ago, it … is being rediscovered only now. According to statistics from the Reflexology Association of Canada, Thailand tops the world in reflexology practice, with about 65 percent of its population going to reflexologists. Other countries, like Sweden, Canada, and the US, are not far behind …”

Foot Reflexology is both an ancient and a modern healing modality!