The very roots of reflexo logy and its relationship with healthcare ond astrology are believed to date back to ancient Egypt, where astrologer/physicions looked towards the stars to provide a theoretical basis on which to treat patients.
The oldest documenta tion depicting the practice of reflexology was discovered in the tomb of an Egyptian physician called Ankmahor, da ted around 2500 BeE. Ankmahor was cons idered one of the most influential people at that time, second only to the king. Within his tomb were found many medical ly related painti ngs, and the one shown here is believed to be the earliest example of reflexology. Two patients are receiving reflexo logy on their hands and feet. 'Don't hurt me', one patient says in the inscription; and the practitioner's reply is, 'I shall act so you praise me '.
Reflexology was obviously being practised either as a preventa tive to ill health or to help ease patients' medical conditions; e ither way, it is clear that the practitione rs wished to meet their patients' needs. Working with a reflexo logist, the physician would have devised individual treatment plans for his patients that focused on the prevention of illness or on treating 0 current condition - so that practitioners were acting 'so you praise me'. Over the years, various forms of reflexology have been pract ised and developed in America, Af rica and the Far East. These oMen developed in different ways, with different lengths of treatment, heavier or lighter pressure, and even the use of implements such as small sticks or the end of a pipe.
Modern reflexology: the pioneers
Dr W illiam Fitzge rald was one of the pioneers of modern reflexology. An American laryngo logist who carried out his most signi ficant work in the ear ly 1900s, he had been aware that Native Americans were using techniques of pressure-point therapy to relieve pain. He also found that there was a lot of research developing in Euro pe on the functioning of the nervous system and the effects of stimulation of the sensory pathways on the the body, on which the modern form of reflexology was subsequently based.