What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a popular and relaxing holistic treatment based on the principle that reflex points on the soles, tops, and sides of the feet are connected to corresponding areas throughout the body. In this way, the feet can be seen as a ‘map’ of the body.

Reflexology is believed to have originated from Egypt and China around 5,000 years ago; where the feet and hands were worked on to promote good health and well-being. Western reflexology however, dates from early 20th Century, when an American physician, Dr William Fitzgerald an Ears, Nose and Throat specialist working at a Hospital in London discovered that by applying pressure to certain areas of the fingers he could induce anaesthesia in areas of the head and face so completely that he was able to carry out surgery on those areas.

Dr Fitzgerald found that the human body functions in accordance with the laws of polarity, the head and feet being the poles between which pass pathways, channels or currents of energy, whose circulation is essential to keep the body in balance and vitality.

He divided the body into ten zones going through the body to end in the tops of the toes, inclusive of all organs in its path; the zones going through the shoulders and arms end in the tops of the fingers and thumbs. This was named Zone Therapy. In the 1930′s his work was continued by another American doctor, Dr Joe Shelby who worked closely with a physical therapist called Eunice D. Ingham.

Eunice Ingham started extensive research and by working on thousands of pairs of feet she was able to confirm Dr Fitzgerald’s findings that where painful reflexes existed, the parts of the body that these were related to were in a congestive state.

Eunice Ingham published her findings in ‘Stories the Foot Can Tell’ and founded the National Institute of Reflexology.

Through her findings and teachings across the United States and Canada Reflexology is now a popular complementary therapy across the world.

How Do Reflexology Treatments Work? Each area of the foot relates to specific organs, limbs and glands of the body. Reflexology is used to stimulate, tone, relax and strengthen the whole mind-body system and helps the body to re-balance. By stimulating the neural pathways we alleviate stress by inducing deep relaxation, which allows the nervous system to calm down and function more normally.

Circulation proceeds smoothly, blood flow is improved and oxygen reaches all the cells. The body becomes more balanced and you experience a sense of well being at all levels.

The fingers and thumbs are used to apply pressure to minute reflex points in and around the feet using specialised massage techniques. It is believed that this helps to correct imbalances throughout the body and release blocked energy. It is entirely non-invasive and can benefit all ages from birth.

Reflexologists do not diagnose illness; we spend extra time working on the reflex on the foot that corresponds to the body part that is troubled.

Reflexology can also be carried out on hands and ears as well as feet, as the zones running through the feet also have corresponding zones in the hands and ears too.

What To Expect In a Reflexology Treatment

A reflexology treatment lasts for one hour and as it’s just the feet that are being worked on, you remain fully clothed simply removing shoes and socks.

You are invited to relax on a treatment couch where the treatment begins with relaxation of the feet followed by the application of reflexology techniques re-balancing your body’s system, finishing with a foot massage that completes the experience. Guaranteed to deeply relax you.

Reflexology Treatment Aftercare

After your treatment in order to gain maximum benefit from your reflexology treatment, try to rest as this helps your body’s natural healing process. Drink plenty of water over the next few days; this helps flush away toxins.

Benefits of Reflexology Therapy:

  • Reduced stress
  • Feelings of deep relaxation
  • Increased energy levels
  • The release of endorphins, the body’s feel good hormones (which can also provide pain relief)
  • Improved circulation
  • A stronger immune system
  • A sense that the whole body is better balanced and in harmony


Reflexology is widely used and accepted around the world as an integrated healthcare approach in Hospitals and Hospices and has been shown to support the healing of many chronic or acute conditions.

If you have a condition that you think Reflexology could help you with please call Marie to discuss further.

Reflexology treatments in Richmond, North Yorkshire & Darlington, Co. Durham – Used to stimulate, tone, relax and strengthen the mind-body system.