History of Reflexotherapy


The oldest document we have is “The fresco of the tomb of Ankhmahor at Saqqara that dates back to the beginning of the 6th dynasty, around 2330 BC. This is known as the Physician’s Tomb.

Fresque du tombeau d’Ankhmahor à Saqqara

The hieroglyphics mean:  “Do not let it be painful”

The practitioner responds, “I do it in such a way that you will thank me”

In 1917, Dr William FITZGERALD (USA) published “Zone Therapy”, in which 10 longitudinal zones were depicted going from the head to the feet and from the head to the hands. This work became a reference text in Reflexology, and resulted in William FITZGERALD becoming known as the Father of Modern Reflexology.

In 1935, his work was complemented by Eunice INGHAM (USA) who drew up  a map of reflex zones in the feet and shaped Reflexology into the art we now know. She published two works: “STORIES THE FEET CAN TELL” in 1938 and “STORIES THE FEET HAVE TOLD” in 1959.

In 1961, her nephew Dwight C. BYERS joined forces with his aunt and published “BETTER HEALTH WITH FOOT REFLEXOLOGY”.

The National and the International Institute of Reflexology was created, and since this time, the methods of Eunice INGHAM have been taught and passed on all over the world.

In England in 1966, the pioneer Doreen E. BAYLY represented Eunice Ingham in Europe, and founded The Bayly School of Reflexology in England in 1978.

That same year, she published “Reflexology Today”, in which she declared, “Reflexology is one of the great therapies of the future”.

After her death, Nicola HALL – a former student of Doreen E. BAYLY – took over the management of the BAYLY school in 1980. She also wrote a number of books, among them “REFLEXOLOGY FOR WOMAN” and “REFLEXOLOGY – A WAY TO BETTER HEALTH”.

In 1986, she founded The British Reflexology Association.

In 1976, Noëlle WEYENETH arranged for Doreen E. BAYLY to come to Switzerland, where a number of courses were delivered. This was how Therapeutic Reflexology came to Switzerland, and the BAYLY school of Reflexology Switzerland was set up and represented in all French-speaking countries.

Other pioneers in Europe include Elipio Zamboni in Italy and Hanne Marquardt in Germany. Well-known reflexologists in England include Lynne Booth (Vertical Reflex Therapy – V.R.T.) Tony Porter (ART Reflexology) Sally Kay (Reflexology Lymphe Drainage – RLD). Sharon Stathis (Ayurvedic Reflexology) in Australia, Sister Jeanne (Reflexotherapy) in Perou as well as many others who continue to inspire us and to enhance Reflexology in a world that never stops changing!

These days, Reflexology is widely known about and practised all over the world! It has found its own place in alternative medicine, and is often delivered as part of a personalised treatment plan or complementary treatment programme. It also continues to be important in hospitals, businesses and retirement homes and so on..