The History of Reflexology

The History of Reflexology

Foot Reflexology as we know it today is a relatively new modality in the world. However, the origins and traditions of foot massage are steeped in History and can be dated as far back to early recording of picture drawings carved in Ankhmahor’s tomb in Egypt, dating back to 2330 BC.

Native American’s held the belief that massaging the feet helped maintain physical, mental and spiritual balance. In China foot massage was used for it’s therapeutic effects. Foot massage is part of our lifestyle, who doesn’t like getting a foot rub and feeling good after it?

This image on the left is from Ankhmahor’s tomb and on the right is an artist representation of the image.


Dr. William Fitzgerald was very much influential in beginning the movement towards modern day Reflexology. He was an American Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon and discovered that by applying pressure to points on the hands or feet you could bring about an Anaesthesia effect on another part of the body. Which led him to develop Zone Therapy. Zone Therapy divides the body into 10 longitudinal zones, 5 on either side of the body. So too, each foot is divided into 5 longitudinal zones, mirroring the longitudinal zones of the body. A colleague of Dr. William Fitzgerald, was Dr. Edwin Bowers and he published an article in 1915 titled “To stop that toothache squeeze your toe” which created much interested and awareness on the relationship between the feet and the whole body, Both Dr. Bowers and Dr. William Fitzgerald published Zone Therapy in 1917.

These zones formed the basis of modern day Reflexology and are still used today. In the early 1930’s it was Eunice Ingham, a Physiotherapist who worked in Riley’s Chripractic School in Washington DC. The Rileys were interested in Zone Therapy and thus exposed Enuice Ingham to the Therapy which led her to chart the whole body onto the feet and developed Reflexology as we know it today. While foot maps vary slightly, the foot maps created by Eunice Ingham are still used by Reflexologist worldwide. She also discovered that by applying pressure to various part of the feet helped relieve pain. Eunice Ingham wrote 2 books, “Stories the feet can tell” and “Stories the feet have told”.


Above: Eunice Ingham and her Husband Fred Stopfel at an Osteopathic Event

“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.” – Eunice Ingham

Doreen Bayle, who was a nurse and had worked alongside Eunice Ingham in America, bought Reflexology to the UK in 1966, where she set up the Bayle School of Reflexology which still exits.

In the mid 1980’s Reflexology was introduced to the Irish Audience when  Sister Rosario from the Medical Missionaries of Mary, Drogheda, appeared on the Late Late Show, actually working on Gay Byrne, the Presenters feet. Some Irish graduates from Bayle School of Reflexology were Anthony Larkin, Gerry Longfield, Teresa Moloney, Annette Gardiner, Peter O’Donohue and Sheila Tracey. All paving the way for this amazing and wonderfully therapeutic modality to gain recognition amoung the Irish people.

I hope you found this history lesson interesting, If you are interested in booking in for a Reflexology session, please get in touch on 087-1917907.





DIY Reflexology for a good night sleep

DIY Reflexology for a good night sleep

Are you dreaming of a restful night sleep? Sleep is so important for our overall wellbeing. Sleep is the precious time that allows our mind and body to rest and to begin it’s own healing.

Reflexology stimulates the reflex points on our feet and subtly impacts the whole of our body, physically, mentally and emotionally. Using some simple reflexology in your bedtime routine can help you or a family member drift off to sleep.

Attending regular reflexology treatments is a fantastic way to set you up for a good night sleep. However, this may not always be possible. No matter if your a regular reflexology goer or just learning all about the wonderful benefits of Reflexology, this simple guide will have you sweet dreaming in no time. Better yet, get your partner on board and do a treatment swap.

  1. Turn off all distractions and start by a nice foot soak. Even a short rinse or wash is good.
  2. Simply being by using light, gentle pressure, massage both feet and relax each foot, one at a time. Gently pressing, squeezing, kneading.
  3. Starting on the right foot, begin on the sole of the foot, press in a vertical line up from the heel to the big toe, move one space over and press from the heel up to the next toe and continue until you finish at the baby toe.
  4. Gentle press your thumb into the solar plexus on your foot -see picture above and take a few deep belly breaths in and out.
  5. Repeat on the left foot – This simple technique will have you covering most of the reflex points.
  6. From the inside of your big toe and following the boney structure of your arch which represents the spinal reflexes, gently sweep down the palm of your head from the top to bottom, repeat 3 times. This is a very soothing and calming technique.
  7. End with using feather light strokes  – using your finger tips and barely touching your skin glide your fingertips on the soles, sides of feet and top of feet. from the bottom of your feet upwards. Gentle press on the solar reflex point again.


You can also work specific areas of concern to this simple routine. During your Reflexology treatments I will go through added reflex points that you can add in.

A simple treatment swap between you and your partner is also a nice way to connect at the end of a busy day and know that you are both benefiting from this wonderful practice.

I hope you found this article interesting and reap the benefits of adding reflexology into your night time routine.

If you would like to book a reflexology treatment with Anita at Soma Wellness, Ballydesmond, you can contact her on 087-1917907 to arrange your treatment time.






Benefits to Maternity Reflexology

Benefits to Maternity Reflexology

pexels-photo-733881.jpegPregnancy is a wonderful time in a mom’s life, it has often been referred to as a “roller-coaster of emotions”. Pregnancy most often is a joyous and happy event but it can equally come with it’s own set of worries, anxiety and stresses, along with hormonal, emotional and physical changes to the body is it any wonder that it is a massive change in a mom’s life. Considering all of the above it is only natural for mom to want or need a little extra TLC, a safe space she can go to and just be herself for an hour. So many times relaxation and stress relief are overlooked and considered minor issues, but reducing stress and increasing relaxation time ensures optimal health of both mother and baby.

As a qualified Reflexologist trained in Maternity Reflexology I pride myself in providing a safe, nurturing space for mom’s to come and just be and enjoy their time out while receiving a Reflexology treatment. The Reflexology session is specific to mom and her number of weeks of pregnancy. As I am also a trained Childbirth Educator with GentleBirth and a Doula I have an understanding of the maternity services and care currently available, backed with knowledge on evidence based research and best practice guidelines I hope that this will encourage mom’s to seek and ask questions on any areas of concerns that they may have, if mom thinks she needs it we can organise A brainstorming with the doula sesssion to cover topics in more details.

10 Benefits to Maternity Reflexology:

  1. Reflexology increases the health and wellbeing of women and provides a comforting and nurturing environment for both mother and baby.
  2. Allows mom time to herself, to just be
  3. Gives mom that space where she can bond with her baby and listen to her GentleBirth tracks if she wishes.
  4. Helps to ease discomfort, aches and pains associated with pregnancy such as; low back pain, labour sciatica and sympysis pubis diastasis (SPD)
  5. Your treatment is specific to you and tailored to meet your needs
  6. Helps to prepare your body and mind for labour by balancing the body systems, especially the endocrine system which governs hormones and the labour process.
  7. Scheduling regular treatments during the 3rd trimester can help to reduce the length of labour. For a recommended schedule of treatments check out FAQ Maternity Reflexology
  8. Reflexology can be used during labour to help relax between surges (if this is something you are interested in I can show your birth partner how to apply reflexology during labour)
  9. Helps to relieve digestive issues such as; heartburn, indigestion, constipation and haemorrhoids.
  10. Has a feel good factor, making you feel good and proactive about your wellbeing during pregnancy.


As I am a registered reflexologist with the NRRI you maybe able to claim back on your private health insurance for maternity reflexology treatments, amounts depend on your level of cover so please consult your insurance provider.

For more information or to make an appointment contact Anita on 087-1917907 or via Contact me page

Maternity Reflexology

Maternity Reflexology

Maternity Reflexology is an ideal treatment for mom’s to be as it is a non invasive treatment, that can be safely received during pregnancy, even labour and postpartum!! Maternity Reflexology is similar to traditional Reflexology in that it treats the whole body by working on the feet to reduce and alleviate pregnancy symptoms during each trimester


Reflexology can be beneficial for mom’s to be by;

  • Help to ease digestive issues such as; Constipation and Indigestion
  • Soothes tired swollen feet and legs
  • Promotes and aids relaxation for momma and baby.
  • Prepares the body for labour by balancing the bodies systems particularly the endocrine system.
  • Eases aches and pains such as; Sciatica, Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and Back Ache
  • Sinusitis, Head Colds and Headaches
  • Can aid a better night Sleep
  • Improve on low Energy Levels
  • Help to decreases Stress Levels and Anxiety

Maternity Reflexology home visits are available on request. If you are in your third trimester, overdue or in early post partum, It can often be difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes just awkward to travel and get about, why not avail of this treatment in the comfort of your own surroundings.

Anita is a member of the National Register of Reflexology Ireland so you can claim back some of the cost of a treatment with her if Reflexology is on your health insurance policy.

To discuss this treatment in more detail you can Contact Anita by e-mail or by phone on 087-1917907

World Reflexology Week 2017

World Reflexology Week 2017

What a coincidence, the week I start my own business in Complementary Health Therapies is also World Reflexology Week.

World Reflexology Week is an international movement to promote all the wonderful benefits of Reflexology and increase peoples awareness of what Reflexology is. It is on from the 18th Sept – 24th Sept 2017.

Reflexology is a modern take on the ancient principles of massaging the feet to treating the whole body. Reflexology can be done on the feet, hands, face and ears. However, the Reflexology that I focus on is foot reflexology, which works on the principle that the whole body is connected, by applying pressure to parts of the feet known as reflex areas, other corresponding and connecting areas of the body will also feel the benefit.

Reflexology as we known it today was created by Eunice Ingham. She has been coined the term “mother” of Reflexology as she is responsible for mapping the body systems onto the feet.

This chart gives an outline of the maps of the feet



The benefits of Reflexology are to help;

  • encourage the body’s own healing ability
  • stimulate nerve function
  • increas energy
  • boost circulation
  • induces a deep state of relaxation
  • eliminates toxins
  • stimulates the central nervous system
  • prevents migranes
  • speeds recovery after injury or surgery,
  • helps relieve sleep issues
  • reduces depression
  • relieves pain

I am a registered Reflexologist with National Register of Reflexologist Ireland, Continuous professional development training is a requirement to maintain membership. The additional benefit of my membership is that my clients can avail of partial or full refund of the therapy fees from their health insurer (once they have the appropriate level of insurance cover). Insurance companies are VHI, GloHealth, Laya Healthcare and Aviva.