In 1913 William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872-1942), who was an ear, nose, and throat specialist, introduced reflexology in the United Stated. Fitzgerald used the word "zone therapy" to describe his method. The basic principle of Fitzgerald's "zone therapy" was the notion that each body part is represented on the hands and feet. Pressing on specific areas on the hands or feet should have therapeutic effects in other parts of the body.
Today reflexologists appear to agree on the following points:
The major benefits of a reflexology massage are:
• The body can be divided into 10 longitudinal zones - five on each side of the body;
• Each zone of the hands and feet represents an organ or part of the body;
• The reflexologist can diagnose abnormalities by feeling the hands and/or feet;
• A massage or pressure manipulation of each area can stimulate the flow of energy, blood, nutrients, and nerve impulses to the corresponding body zone and thereby relieve ailments in that reflexology zone.
Reflexology is not recognized by law. This implicates that no formal training is required to call oneself a reflexologist and to practive reflexology. Nevertheless, some educated professionals (massage therapists, nurses, etc.) offer reflexology as part of their licensed practice. The most well-known reflexology institute is probably the International Institute of Reflexology, of St. Petersburg, Florida. The IIR claims to be the worlds leading institute and has 25,000 members worldwide.
The "Certified Member" status of the Institute of Reflexology requires 200 hours of instruction plus passage of written and practical tests. But the certification process appears to have neither legal nor medical recognition at all - according reflexology criticaster Stephen Barrett, M.D.
The website of the International Institute of Reflexology presents the motto:
"If you're feeling out of kilter, don't know why or what about,
let your feet reveal the answer, find the sore spot work it out"
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